I am intrigued by why people collect things. I think that it reveals an ancient hunter-gatherer instinct that has been adapted to the modern world. People went out to hunt animals and gather plants to provide food and, once it had been eaten, they went hunting again. Once the item has been obtained and brought home, the collector returns to the search, even if the item has arrived by registered post. The hunt for things is as important as putting them onto shelves or into boxes. And it may not end with the item, especially if quality is important, as it is for books: a first edition; a first edition in fine condition; a first edition in fine condition in the original dust jacket; a signed first edition in fine condition in the original dust jacket.
There may be other reasons for collecting, which are not mutually exclusive. For example a substantial collection of objects may serve to give the collector status in an otherwise anonymous world. I call this 'fame by proxy'. The knowledge of those things is important too, and can set the collector apart. Museums hold collections of rare and valuable things that are usually too costly for a private collectors of modest means to buy, but individuals can collect modest things that may be seen as trivial by national collections but have some intrinsic interest, even if they are not of great value. Who defines interest? See left.
Sometimes collectors form into a society of people interested in the same thing, which probably allows people to brag about their collection or to show their knowledge. I don't know - I haven't joined one. But I do go to collectors' fairs - mostly books, postcards and ephemera - where I hear the chat about things found and the prices paid. People asking for books about chess, circuses or Cyprus, just to name three things beginning with 'C'. Although collecting may be a solitary pursuit, sharing a collection can be social, and a body of knowledge may be developed and published, so it's on the record. That's what makes a collection interesting.
This page lists some of the collections I have found. They are mostly the work of individual collectors or enthusiasts who have put their collections on the internet or who have catalogued all that they collect, even if they don't have everything. These are not institutional web sites. The pages are not always just to show things, they can be informative. When I have added more sites I will order them in some way.
A collection of Jersey Motor Transport (JMT) bus tickets, each with the same consecutive digits. I got them on the bus home from school between 1968 and 1972. I wasn't always given the ticket for my fare, but if my number was close to a treble digit I found the owner and swapped their ticket for mine. Cheating, I know, but I was a collector before I really understood what I was doing. I made a collection out of an everyday thing that most people throw away. I had between 2 and 5 examples of each treble digit ticket, but only one ticket numbered 333. The frequency of these tickets shows a Poisson distribution I suspect, if you are interested. These bus tickets were donated to the Jersey Archive so that they could be enjoyed by other people. There is a website devoted to the Setright Speed ticket machines that printed these JMT tickets where you can see images of the tickets that they printed, like those shown above. How wonderful is that?
I salute everyone who has created a web site to show and tell people about the things that they collect or that interest them. This is what the internet is for. If you have a favourite, please let me know.