I know that most of my friends collect something or another. One friend has a trainer (sneaker for our North American friends out there) collection so large I wonder what he would do with them when he decided he didn’t want them any more.
They are all mint in their boxes, neatly stacked in the back of his cupboard. Seldom seeing the light of day and never exposed to the elements: the harsh and unpredictable British weather.
He would have a stroke if his vintage Vans were harmed in anyway!
This is something he has done for at least the last 15 or 16 years! Let’s just say, he LOVES trainers! Big Time!
But getting into the mind of a collector is not always so black and white. The passion for collecting one type of object or genre is a lot deeper than the love of an object.
The damp smell of a basement store or the glimpse of an old toy in an antique shop window and feelings, memories and emotions can fly. The pulse races, a warm feeling rises from below the diaphragm up through the chest and in to the head and down to the tips of the fingers. It can be indeed very powerful. I know you know what I mean.
But not all collecting and or collections serve a purpose beyond that of the collector. A collection of size 9 trainers would only be useful to another collector with size 9 feet and so on. Some collections, no matter how small however, can serve a huge purpose both to the collector and for future collectors alike.
Some collections, like old glass bottles, can map out the history, tradition and evolution of a subject matter or object. Showing how techniques started and how they developed through the ages.
Small collections are sometimes pieces of a much larger puzzle.
An interesting find recently in Cornwall (UK) was of an old Native American birch bark canoe, discovered in a barn on the Enys estate near Penryn, having been brought back from Canada by their relative who fought in the American war of independance. The family had found the canoe whilst clearing the barn and realised that it was very old and possibly of great significance. So much so, the finders contacted the Canadian Canoe Museum in Peterborough, Ontario to inform them of the find.
It was concluded, after official inspection that the canoe was over 250 years old and the only one known of it’s kind and very important in the history of Native American canoe making. The family decided to pass the canoe on to the museum in Canada.
A truly amazing find and a fabulous ending to the discovery!
I can only imagine the excitement of finding such a historically significant item. A real rush I am sure.
The significance of preserving this canoe for the many many years it was stored only became apparent when it was discovered.
A missing piece to a larger collection and a small piece that has added to a bigger picture.
I sometimes wonder if anything I collect will contribute to social or anthropological history in the future or will my kids just be calling the BBC’s “Car Booty” and “Flog It” as soon as I’m gone?
To be continued….