Did the Web Kill Collecting?

Prompted by my baseball card post yesterday, I’m wondering today if the Internet has killed collecting.

I used to be quite the collector: Rocks, shells, baseball cards, racing cards, racing memorabilia, matchbox cars, postcards, yo-yo’s. Since college I’ve pretty much given it all up and sold off most of my collections (you’d be shocked at how quickly my meager rock collection was snatched up on ebay). I lost interest in collecting, and now the only thing I really collect are books (though limited shelf space has put a damper on that collection) and souvenir yo-yo’s (from places I’ve visited, so it’s rather limited).

I tired of collecting before the web really came into its own, but I wonder what effect the web has had on collecting.

Half the fun of collecting for me was spending a Saturday driving around to shops or meets or shows or wherever you could go to find the object of your affection. It was the thrill of the hunt. I had some fun enjoying my collection, but most of the thrill of collecting for me was the act of collecting.

The web has pretty much taken the challenge out of that hunt. You can go to ebay and find just about any once rare object. I suppose there may still be the thrill of finding it on ebay and trying to get the best deal, but it’s nothing like getting up early on a Sunday morning and driving down to Toledo for the annual toy show.

While I use to relish going to Barnes & Noble and scouring the used section for great finds, it lost all joy when I discovered I could go to Amazon or Half.com and find every book I ever wanted, most for under $5.

I do wonder if part of my lack of interest in collecting is that I’m no longer a kid. As a child I had to maximize my allowance to nab the best finds for my collection. As an adult, there’s really nothing to stop me from spending as much as I want. OK, so my wife’s wrath would stop me, but I could easily spend double or triple what I spent as a kid and not incur my wife’s wrath.

In short, collecting is just too easy now. I can find almost anything I want and money isn’t much of an obstacle.

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