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A Complete Collection: Is It Happiness or The Saddest Thing Ever?

I think Steve Buscemi nailed it in Ghost World as Seymour: "Well, you think it's healthy to obsessively collect things? You can't connect with other people, so you fill your life with stuff. I'm just like all the rest of these pathetic collector losers."
 
As autoggraph collectors we spend days, weeks, months, years, even decades....searching for that last signature to complete the collection. The thrill of the hunt, searching high and low, in old musty shops or scanning web searches for that ever elusive name. Then it happens, you have stumbled across that missing piece. Your collection is complete.    
 
Now you are no longer a collector. You have the set....you own it, but what now?
Withdrawal .....that's what comes next, especially if you have an addictive personality.
 
I remember back in the 1990's telling myself that when the day comes that I get my hands on a Jack Purvis signature, (little person actor from the first 3 Star Wars films) I would call the collection done and stop. I sit here in 2016, now knowing that Jack couldn't sign due to an accident, and that he passed away in the late 90's. There are 7 or 8 of Jack's autographs in my collection now, and I haven't even slowed down. I tell myself, yeah I have an album page, but I need an 8x10. I find an 8x10, but now I need him in character.  Find the right one, then I need a white index card for the matted set, and so on.    
 
Collecting is an addiction, there is no doubt about it in my mind. They have addiction specialists in all kinds of fields.....be it drug addiction or hoarding, it seems every possible affliction known to man has specialists in the field ready to help the person suffering from the disease. Where are the people who can break us of this collecting habit?
 
I was born a collector, I know this now, it's not a new thing, back in the 70's I had to have every action figure, in the 80's every comic book and every baseball card. The people making these items designed them to be sure that you had to have them all. Autographs weren't as easy but they were always there, then by the 1990's we had the internet and collectors groups and a way to track down that missing autograph without traveling 7 states away. 
 
Sites just like this one aren't helping us with our problem, they are making it even more addicting, yet I find myself here every day.
 
I have heard people day that happiness is a complete collection, but I have also heard the exact opposite. I am leaning towards the fact that there is nothing more sad than a complete collection. A complete collection only opens us up to the next collection. It's a never ending cycle for me... but I guess it is safer than heroin. 
Back to the title I suppose....what's your opinion, Happy or Sad? 

Views: 591

Comment by Joe W. on July 16, 2016 at 6:17am

IMO. There is no such thing as a complete collection. Collecting is a living thing. New things to add, old things to go. The challenge is to keep it fresh. And it does connect people of similar interest.

As long as we realize that collecting is not our whole life but only a part of it. It's about priorities. Collecting is not very important when our child is sick. Collecting is not important when we are asked to help a friend in need. Etc.

It's entertainment so enjoy. When the joy leaves then maybe it's time take a long break or find another pursuit. 

Comment by Samuel John Clifford on July 16, 2016 at 6:21am

It really depends on how the individual sees it as Happy or Sad. To me I like having an Autograph from my favorite celebrities, musicians, etc. Sometimes I have something in my collection that almost no one else has and I'm just happy as hell to have this really cool item. Sometimes I feel as if I'm just bragging about what I have which can be a bad thing and can make someone look like an ass. But to be honest, as far as a complete collection? I just don't see it. New things always come out, TV Shows, Movies, New Actors/Actresses come up and you become a fan of them so you need their autograph. It really is a never ending cycle, to me I'm only 21 and I started last year in May after I watched "Pulp Fiction" for the 3 or 4th time in a row, because of it I wanted a graph from one of the Main 4 characters, after seeing one signed by the cast of the Main 4(But they were forgeries but I didn't know at the time) Obv I didn't buy it because of the selling price of $950, so I went around on Ebay looking for a graph to buy and I found the Sam Jackson one, every since I've been hooked. Autograph collecting has become a hobby of mine and I'm glad to have found this site, but now I find myself here everyday so it's become addicting, I find myself trying to find other celebs I know I've seen in movies I'm a fan of and try to find their graphs as well, everyday I'm Ebay looking for the next graph or just browsing of what I'll probably buy. It does fill a void in life that's for sure. 

Comment by Bjarne Soderholm on July 16, 2016 at 7:00am
This is a very interesting topic. Most of the time you will never be able to complete your collection, because there is always new things coming to the market. But sometimes you are able to finish a piece that you have been working on for a long time and when that happens to me I first feel great excitement and after that just emptiness and what to complete next.

Last time this happened to me was when I was able to complete Rainbow's Finyl Vinyl. It took me a total of 26 years and visit 3 different countries to get all 14 members that was playing or pictured on the lp. I felt like I had done my greatest achievement in my life when I was done, but just a few weeks later I started to think about what piece to finish off next!

So collecting is like a drug for most of us and it is very hard to stop! Maybe we have to start our own AA club? (Autographs anonymous).
Comment by Xwiesy on July 16, 2016 at 7:21am
I look at it is something I can pass on to my son. The highs and lows come from anything you buy- cars, houses, etc. It's pretty tough as a human being to be excited by one thing for very long. I love my collection because I collect what I love. Some days I don't think about my Mike McReady smashed guitar. Other days I'll pull it out and think- this was played onstage with Neil Young. On MTV. I watched that performance and that guitar is sitting in my hands. Taken around the country. First time they ever played "Corduroy" was on this guitar. Jeremy, Go, all my favorite songs. And that makes me happy. And happiness is what life is about. So why not try and find as much of that as I can? But here's the key: you have to be responsible. Food on the table, nobody else is working to support your habit, your kids are taken care of. I set up a percentage of my budget rule that I try my best to follow. And know that you can't keep it forever. Make plans for your stuff- sell, pass it on. Addiction is when your collection comes above everything else and you cant stop. Don't compare something that makes you happy to something like drugs. Sure you get a high from buying something. It's because you enjoy it, not necessarily because you have a problem.
Comment by Joe W. on July 16, 2016 at 7:27am

Well said, Xwiesy!

Comment by Paul on July 16, 2016 at 10:58am
Happiness is a warm gun. (Beatles song) Im happy because i completed my first Beatles set, 3 signed Sgt pepper lps with everyone on them including George martin.I like to sell some of my collection to upgrade to higher end items and i feel like im sacrificing people to the sun god, bitter sweet. Also selling a few here and there, makes it more real knowing the investment isnt a waste of money or im not bound to the hobby.
Comment by Xwiesy on July 16, 2016 at 12:30pm
Well put, Paul.
Comment by Glad Max on July 16, 2016 at 4:33pm

"It's simple for everybody else, you give them a Big Mac and a pair of Nikes and they're happy."  Such a great movie.

The question is, at what point does a collection become an obsession?  I've had several of them, starting with baseball cards.  After well over 60,000 and getting older I got more & more into music so I turned my attention in that direction.  Now I have 1500 albums and twice that many live shows, more music than I can ever listen to, so I've entered this hobby that I've always had an interest in but bought my first piece just 4 years ago.  Now I've got 107 signed photographs.  Attempting to gain wisdom from past obsessions, I've tried to limit myself to a collection by making a rule that I won't get more than I can put on display.  Well, 20 of those photos are currently stored in a drawer because I have run out of dimly lit wall space, plus I joined this site a few months ago, so not everything is going as planned.  I think the thrill of the hunt makes up 30-50% of the enjoyment, so it follows that a complete collection would make me 30-50% Sad.

Comment by Mike P on July 17, 2016 at 7:28pm

Since I've completed my All in the Family and Honeymooners sets, I do agree it is a bit depressing. There is a big thrill searching and finding the autographs.  Even though it stinks when you can't find them, it sort of gives you motivation to keep on looking; once you have it, that feeling goes away.  

I do agree though, once you complete a set you tend to go on to the next one or a different autographs; such as going from collecting sports to entertainment etc. I went from sports to entertainment myself. I also collect coins so I tend to bounce between the hobbies.

Comment by Scott Paul on July 22, 2016 at 6:41am

I find myself changing goals in my collecting.  My main area of interest is The Andy Griffith Show at first I wanted the four main stars and after getting those I figured I might as well get the main supporting cast.  When that was accomplished I figured I would get all the ones who were in at least 15 episodes.  That is completed save for one so I am now trying to get all those who were in at least 5 episodes.  Even though I only need about 17 to complete this they are obscure enough I might not live long enough.  Fortunately even if  I do to get the complete collection of everyone who appeared on the show would mean another 100 or so to add.  Unlike my buddy Mike P.  it would not make me sad to complete a collection mainly because I never seem to be 100% happy with any autograph.  I keep thinking there might be a better letter, document or photo out there.  That is why I have multiple examples of some very rare obscure autographs.  So for me it will never be done unless my interests change that has not happened in creeping up on half a century of collecting so I doubt it ever will.

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