The reason I love collecting, and the psychology of why we do it.


I’ve been an avid collector of collecting many things as long as I can remember.

I still remember the first time my mother brought home a full booster box of Basketball cards that my cousin and I could rip into, my collecting adventure had begun! I don’t remember how old I was but I do remember going to grade school, and that was the thing to do was to trade basketball cards.

Why basketball cards?

This question I’m really not 100% certain.

But I believe it had to do with everyone in the state of Kentucky loving basketball. We didn’t even have a pro team though is the weird thing. Kentucky basketball is just one of those things that growing up in KY you learn to love and cherish.

The crazy thing is, though. I still HAVE cards that I traded with some of my closest friends and REMEMBER what card I traded.

Collecting scottie

If you were going to school during the 90s and was at Middle Fork Elementary in Salyersville, KY. There is probably no doubt in my mine you probably had the “Scottie Pippen Double Trouble” card.

This is when the Chicago bulls were rocking so naturally having anything Michael Jordan was worth something. There was also a point in time I really didn’t have a clue of what anything was worth. Such as basketball cards, because I even remember the first time I got ripped off.  I was told by an older person possibly in 6th grade, me probably in 3rd that he would trade me like 5 MJs for my 1.

collecting 5 mikes

In my mind, I thought I’d hit the jackpot with my collection!

I went home with my 5 MJs and cherished them. Then I got older and learned there was a little book you could buy from Wal-mart. It was called Beckett, and it had all the prices of all the latest Basketball cards in it. Come to find out that card was worth $100+ and the 5 MJs I was traded was maybe $0.25 a piece.

So collecting while great and all it does share some heartache.

There was nothing that felt worse to me at the time than being ripped-off. Quick lessoned learned, though, I usually look up the going prices of everything I virtually own before even considering a deal. Good for me bad for someone that is trying to rip me off.

Why do I continue collecting things well into my 30s?

I’ve asked this question to myself almost daily. Never once got close to “finishing” a hard collection. I’ve collected a few comic book runs from the 90s like issues 1-6 not a FULL series, though. For reasons unknown, I jump from collection to collection. From collecting basketball cards, comics, video games, knives, old technical equipment, and to desk toys.

Seems like I always find a different thing to jump into, I find lots of things fascinating artwork on the latest magic the gathering card or the Spider-man issue. It always seems like life will get in the way or I’ll hit a bump in the road money wise and lose interest that way.

There is just something about it, something about collecting, re-arranging, labeling and putting stuff up on a shelf for me to admire. Retro video games give me nostalgia back when I was a kid growing up playing the games. Collecting is special to people, there is nothing wrong with it. Some people even collect for the “investment”. I’ve never had enough money to really consider going into an investment part of collecting, some things really cost some serious cash. I do it because I enjoy it, and I enjoy trading.

When does collecting become a problem?

collecting hoarder

It becomes a huge problem for people that get really depressed, then it turns into something more. It usually turns into a problem such as hoarding. When you start literally collecting trash into the middle of the floor because you are afraid to lose it, there is some kind of illness going on. I for one cannot stand clutter and it doesn’t take me a second to take everything out to the trash if it starts getting in the way.

Where do you draw the line!? Let’s hear it below, comment and share!

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Creator of and possibly the nerdiest person in the state of Kentucky.

About Johnathan Howard 93 Articles
Creator of and possibly the nerdiest person in the state of Kentucky.