I have a friend whose mom collects teddy bears (really collects them, to the point that she turned his bedroom into a bear-room as soon as he left for college); while my friend himself collects Polaroids.
I grew up with my parents' vintage toy collection, surrounded by the movie posters and art they amassed on the walls; now I have my own burgeoning horror movie poster collection (whoo hoo Blood Beach!).
Both my sister and I have built substantial collections of vintage clothes, another friend turned her obsession with vintage collecting into a fabulous business on Broome Street–although most collections don't wind up becoming as lucrative, like my collection of mugs from all the places I've visited. The best for practical use is this lovely Philadelphia over-sizer; the coolest is obviously the skull mug from the Mutter Museum. Take note, Philadelphia is the home of good mugs at reasonable prices.
Of course, you have to be devoted to your passion and willing to make a number of purchases. Jim's dad loves those weird animal sculptures you can buy at back road shed/lawn art/farmers market places, but he has far too much self control to ever start a collection. His lawn would be Awesome if he was more compulsive, like our neighborhood Greenpointers who are less shy about collecting weird stuff for their yards.
Some people have managed to garner substantial celebrity from their collections and have even ended up on big time TV shows like Unwrapped and Johnny Carson, so here's to hoping that your collection earns you your fifteen minutes. But it's not the outside chance at fleeting fame that compels us to collect–it's our insatiable American appetite to have and have and have?and it's fun.
It should be noted that some collections, like Jim's cousin's collection of brass knuckles, sawed-off shot guns, cocaine, personal bombs, machetes, and cash (pictured) can get you into trouble. Uncle Mark used to collect knives and guns too, but since he wasn't a king pin drug dealer in southeastern Connecticut, he managed to stay out of trouble (he's since traded up to cigar labels and wine collections).
What do you collect? Post any photos of your collections as comments…