Saturday, January 24, 2015

The 21st Century Collector

The Topic of this Post is near and dear to my Heart... Collecting and being a Collector.   Or more importantly, the difference between the 21st Century Collector and the 20th Century Collector.   This is important only because as those of us who were 20th Century Collectors begin to reach Critical Mass, Saturation Point, Downsize and Die Off, or whatever other reason takes you to the place of disposing of your Beloved Collections and want them passed along some kinda way... recognizing the differences is critical!   What is your 'Heaven On Earth' in the way of surrounding yourselves with your Beloved and often Time Worn Objects, is very likely someone else's 'Nightmare' to dispose of if you leave it behind for them to have to Deal with!   Or try to Honor your Wishes Respectfully about your crap ummm, I mean Found Treasures that are often Priceless to you and you've Lovingly Curated all these years and left as your Legacy in a Good or Bad way!   *Winks*


When, where and how to dispose of what you've Lovingly Collected over the years can be complicated if you haven't done your due diligence.   Not only for you, if you bring yourself to finally begin parting with it all or even some of it... but for your Heirs if they Inherit the task of what best to do with your Collection of Stuff?!?   People are mostly and generally quite Passionate about what they Collect and if it's taken them a Lifetime to procure it all, the mere Thought of it not being Appreciated, Cared about or for can paralyze them!   They hang onto it all for a myriad of reasons and with the 20th Century Collector the Money wasn't even very often the catalyst or incentive to be able to Let Go... even WHEN it all had Maximum Value and could be turned into Financial Liquidity and be an Asset rather than a Liability! 

And because I move in the Circles of 'My People', as I like to call the Collecting Community of Kindred Spirits and Hopeless Hunters-Gatherers, who know they are driven to continue in their Quest to go on The Thrill Of The Hunt regardless of how much has already come in... or gone out from their Stashes... I've heard a multitude of Opinions and Predictions about what is going to happen to their Legacy.  The Legacy of the 20th Century Collectors who are fast becoming a dying breed as they are replaced with the New Generation of 21st Century Collectors.   And a Legacy is often what it is thought of in the 20th Century Collecting Community, since their Attachment seems to be much stronger than the 21st Century Collectors who may not have sustained Love Affairs with specific genres like their Collecting Predecessors did?  The 21st Century Collector can be quite fickle in fact as their Loves and Likes change at warp speed and they're all over the map about what they Collect, why and for how long.  In this disposable, upgraded Society where The Next New Thing is Celebrated, that's just how it now IS and thus Normal to them.   What's On-Trend now is far more Important when it comes to Buying, Selling Off and Styling than Personal Taste might even be.

The 20th Century Collector was often very Collection Specific about their Loves, even if their Loves were vast and eclectic... they liked what they liked and they continued to like it even if it went in and out of Style, Fashion or Trend.   They were Loyal to their Loves and perhaps it was that Loyalty to what was Sentimental, Cherished and Sought After that made their Collections so Complete and they didn't mind taking a Lifetime to accumulate them?   Or a Lifetime of holding onto them to be more specific... often too long to realize the full Value beyond intrinsic when it became Time to Sell.  And it's vitally IMPORTANT to know when is the BEST Time to Sell your Stuff and not miss that Window of Opportunity for Maximum Profit or even to find the right Market and Demographic to Purchase it! 

 There are many things that WERE Hot items in the Past that you might have paid a lot for and can't Give Away now! Cherished Things you thought or were convinced would appreciate in Value and you'll now have to reconcile yourselves into realizing they peaked long ago, their bubble burst and you're likely to take a hosing on now... even IF you can get someone to want to take it off your hands at any price?!   Some things might have only had Perceived Value to you and nobody else, you have to come to terms with that too.  I see so many morose Collectors in that position where their Collections are now deemed practically Worthless on the Market and they're quite upset about it, because their Mindset is still locked in the Past.  And the Reality is and always has been... something is only REALLY Worth what someone is willing to pay for it... period, end of discussion.  If you're Crazy about it you might pay any Price, even inflated or ridiculous prices.  If you see no Value to you then you won't care what anyone else thinks its allegedly Worth, you aren't gonna Buy it or perhaps even have it Grace your Space even if it was Gifted.

You see, the Vintage, Collectible and Antique Markets have fluctuated greatly when it comes to Value or even Perceived Value of items... and there were peak periods that Personally, I don't think will ever come around again for many of the genres of Collections.   There used to be a Cycle in the 20th Century that came back around eventually so that things could hold their Value and not depreciate to lower than you actually paid for your Stuff.   Often Old things appreciated in Value over Time and became more sought after or Rare so the 20th Century Collector began to view their Stashes and Hoards of Lovelies as an Investment of sorts for their Old Age... or to pass along as a True Valuable Inheritance to their Heirs. 


Personally I feel that's Delusional to much of a degree now in the 21st Century... things have Changed... drastically in fact... including the 21st Century Collector and their Mindset about Collecting and their Collections, what is now Valuable and Coveted and what they just aren't 'Into' anymore and may never be interested in... EVER.  Or maybe you even Collected TOO MUCH... Imagine that... so even if the "American Pickers" Guys showed up and were Impressed with your "Good Eye", Hell, no one Person or Company would or could probably pay you what you want for it all in a Massive "Bundling Negotiation" because it is just too Epic a Collection to afford or to consider Selling Off en mass, even to them!  *Smiles*   Even Pickers are going to be very Specific about what they Pick from your bounty of Beloved Objects.  I've seen those Guys go into locations that have a Honey Hole of Fab Stuff and come away with just a paltry few items of Particular Interest... it's just how it IS when you're Selling... or Buying.

To me the 20th Century Mindset of Collecting and Collections is Deaded... probably not an actual Word but it's my description and Opinion about it.   The 20th Century way of Collecting and viewing Collections should be laid to rest, put a Daisy on it, Grieve if you must and go through that Process of realizing things will never be the same again in this 21st Century of Collecting and Collections, then move on and do whatever you feel is right about how things now ARE.   Re-Invent your Methods of disposal of your Junque and making it more Desirable, Interesting and Fresh IF you even can, be sure some things will be a Lost Cause to re-sell well.  Discern what can and will Sell and what should just be Donated or tossed.  Because if you don't, then you may not be so successful in the disposal of your Beloved Objects in your Lifetime, if that's the Path you choose... and it would be really Delusional to Imagine that your Heirs or the Executor of your Estate are gonna have an easier time of it and be able to Honor your Wishes successfully, even if they desperately want to... or you Imagine they want to.

And it's really a Conversation you NEED to have with them while you're still on this side of dirt, because even IF you have already begun a Great Edit and Purge in earnest... if you're a Serious Collector or Hunter-Gatherer... you're probably not gonna dispose of it ALL and so someone else is gonna have to Deal with it!   They are probably Dreading that part of your Story!   I can't begin to tell you how many 20th Century Collectors I've talked to still Believe that their Heirs will want and Appreciate what they will ultimately leave behind as their Legacy and Inheritance in the way of their Collections!    I'm Hoping they're right... otherwise the Goodwill is gonna have a Field Day upon their demise.  Or {shudder} the Landfill is gonna be filled up with some Amazing Stuff that was Lovingly Saved, Salvaged or Procured as an Actual Legit Collection... but nobody wanted or wanted to bother with disposing of properly!   *Gasp!*   Yes, the deceased will be rolling over in their graves... and the descendants may or may not feel badly about their Methods of disposal.

You should have that 'Talk' with whoever will be responsible for disposing of your Stuff in much the same way you would discuss them taking on the responsibility of your Beloved Fur Babies or other Living Dependent Loved Ones upon your departure.  Once you have Crossed Over it is too late to Process the input of what everyone wants to do or doesn't want to do or be done and how they Feel about it!  I already know that the 21st Century Collector is very likely to have completely different things to be Sentimental or Excited about because they're simply coming from a different Era and Filter of their own Past.   They aren't likely to be as Nostalgic about your Era and Past as you were, because they weren't there and didn't Live it.   Sure, they may have a Fetish about Eras they never actually lived in and their interpretation of those Eras, but not having been there, it will be filled with Imagination and done with their own Modern Spin of it, that's only Natural and Logical.  Or maybe many won't want to Collect at all and the Past will just be left behind in their World and Forgotten without any regrets... good riddance!  You have to face that fact as well, the Future of your Stuff could hang in the balance at any point in Time.

I have no Delusions about what will happen to the majority of my Stuff if it gets left behind... my Kids, Grand-Kids and probably the Great-Grands will not want it and have said as much about it all... or at least most of it.  "Get rid of most of it now Mom... Gramma...", because it would simply be a burden to them to dispose of since there is so much and it's not necessarily their Style or Aesthetic.  In fact, most of them wouldn't even know where to begin to try to dispose of it properly and make Money off of it if they could... or how long that would probably take?  After all, I wouldn't expect them to spend their entire Lifetimes trying to dispose of my Estate, even if it had actual Value left to be a Blessing to them all.   So... I'd rather do the Job now myself and let them know that whatever I don't manage to get rid of... it's Okay... they don't have to worry about being Haunted if they have to call the 1-800-Got-Junk People to carry it away or ask everyone I knew to come by the Property and load up as much as they can or want to!  *Ha ha ha*  So be Prepared... in case you get 'That Call' my Friends... they'll probably be Depending upon you to empty out Bohemian Valhalla!  *LMAO* 

And... if you happen to have the same Instructions for your Heirs to dispose of your Legacy... and don't get thru with your own Massive Edit and Purges in Time before you go into the Afterlife... you've got my Number too, right?   Because I still have Showrooms to fill and a lot of Cultivated Contacts to pass the Word out to that a Great Stash is up for grabs!!!!!!!   *Winks*   


Blessings, Love and Peace coming at you from the Arizona Desert... Dawn... The Bohemian


  1. We'll just have our fun till the end! Right?

    1. Exactly Marlynne... I'm spending my Heirs Inheritance right now! *winks* Dawn... The Bohemian

  2. Fantastic post Dawn, l've had that chat with my kids and they tell me they're gonna have a fire sale and by fire sale l think they mean BON-fire haha.....hopefully l have a bit of time left to edit the collections to (kinda) manageable:-)

    1. LOL... yes, The Son has often told me he'd get the matches and light it up if I don't start de-stashing before it's left for him to handle! His Older Sisters don't live in AZ and he is aware he's likely to be the one that has to handle our Estate when that time comes since he's staying Local... I'm pretty sure it scares him and he's hoping all the G-Kids will line up to haul it all away first?!? *Winks* Dawn... The Bohemian

  3. Good Post. I am taking my collection of pyrex to the thirft store as a donation. Except for a 4 piece mixing bowl set, and I am going to start using them. I am going thru all the books and getting rid of many, the stuff will not be wanted. I had a discussion with my daughter over my mothers good china and silver. I wanted to sell it to an online store...but, she actually wants it. I am starting to "get real".......

    1. Yes, I find myself doing the same drill here Sharon. I am selling off my Vintage Pyrex, it sells quite well here since many people Collect it and look for the hard to find full sets and particularly coveted designs. Thankfully my Brother wanted most of my Parent's Collections so I didn't have to try to find a place for it or dispose of it, they were avid Collectors too... guess it runs in the blood?! *LOL* Dawn... The Bohemian


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