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The psychology of collecting seeks to understand the motivating factors for persons who, throughout the ages, have devoted great amounts of time, money, and energy making and maintaining .
When people think of collecting, they may imagine expensive works of art or historical artifacts that are later sold to a museum or listed on eBay. The truth is, for many people who amass collections, the value of their collections are not monetary but emotional —and often, not for sale. Collections allow people to relive their childhoods, to connect themselves to a period in history or to a time they feel strongly about. Their collections may help them to ease insecurity and anxiety about losing a part of themselves, and to keep the past present Some collect for the thrill of the hunt. Collecting is much like a quest, a lifelong pursuit which can never be complete. Collecting may provide psychological security by filling a part of the self one feels is missing or is void of meaning. When one collects, one experiments with arranging, organizing, and presenting a part of the world which may serve to provide a safety zone, a place of refuge where fears are calmed and insecurity is managed. Motives are not mutually exclusive; rather, different motives combine in each collector for a multitude of reasons.
People can and do collect almost anything. Saint Louis collected saints’ relics and built temples for them. Collections may be antisocial, such as the collection described in Mozart’s darkest opera, Don Giovanni. Mozart’s character, Don Giovanni, scoured the town collecting sexual conquests, making his indentured servant, Leporello, follow after him, listing names in a catalog and verifying the authenticity of the account while doing so.Henry Wellcome, a pharmacist, collected for society. He spent 40 years collecting over a million sharp objects that he felt represented the history of medical science. He later opened a museum, "The Museum of Medical Science", which operated during World War I. The infamous are famous for their collections. Donald Trump collects skyscrapers, Demi Moore has an entire house filled exclusively with her doll collection, Sharon Stone collects cashmere sweaters. Napoleon collected countries, a habit that led to the "Napoleon complex" cliché we use to describe a man who compensates for physical flaws through acts of aggression.
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