Saturday, September 28, 2013

Why I collect

Last week I received an e-mail from Maz who contributes to the awesome articles found at TFsource's blog.  The toicp he chose was meant to be on a brighter note after his last two topics were about sacrifice and selling off collections.  The morning I received his e-mail request for help w/ the topic I just happened to have a little insomnia, so I jumped out of bed and hit the reply button.  The published article was very well written (of course), but a lot of different collectors contributed to the piece and the comments were all mixed around.  So I thought why not post my original response in the form of a blog post?

I'd like this to be somewhat conversational, so if you read this and something comes to your mind I'd like to hear it.  Post a comment and tell me and everyone else why you collect.  Even if you aren't a hardcore Transformer collector, I'd like to hear why and what you collect.  Have fun with it!

While it's inevitable at some point in our lives that we will/must part with our collections (or part of them), this is a hobby that we all love or else that decision to let things go at times wouldn't be so painful. I'm asked all the time why I collect.  My wife, family, friends and even the local new station that did an interview January 2012.  My response is usually the same.  As an adult, married w/ kids, there are certain responsibilities thrust upon me that without some sort of escape, it can really weigh you down.  For me that escape is Transformers.  It reminds me of a simpler time in my life when I didn't have all this responsibilities.  I could just be a kid...kinda like the old Toys R Us song "where a kid can be a kid". 

A part of Transformers taking me back to my childhood are all the fond memories I have of my late father.  Growing up, every summer after school let out my dad would take my brother or myself by ourselves on a trip he called "Father Son trip".  On that trip we could pick (within reason) where we wanted to go or travel to for an extended weekend and just hang out together.  Or course being a kid the place I would choose usually resulted in a trip to Toys R Us, Lionel Toy Warehouse or KB Toys along the way.  This is how I obtained several of my vintage G1 toys, sadly only a few I still own from my childhood. 

Today as an adult, I can grab G1 Bonecrusher off my shelf and the vivid memories of time spent w/ my father come rushing back.  It's a nice little way of remembering and honoring my father.  He was a fan of all model Corvettes, so in turn I sought out to get as many Transformer Corvettes as possible.  Granted a lot of what is in my collection today isn't tied to memories of my childhood or my father, but now I get to make new memories as a husband and father.  Touring the Hasbro facilities in Providence, RI in 2007 w/ my wife as a part of Botcon, helping create and run Charticon 2013 w/ my friends and of course buying that first Transformer Rescue Bots toy for my daughter's birthday last year.

A big part of why I started my own toy blog, a few years ago was to have another way to enjoy my Transformers and other toys.  I often sell toys I no longer desire to keep in order to buy something else that I want.  This makes the wife happy (since the bank account isn't touched) and it helps me from getting overwhelmed.  At any time I can go back to my own account and read and view the pictures of items no longer in my collection.  It's just another way of enjoying what I'm so blessed to have.

At some point I may stop collecting.  I don't see that in my near future, but whenever that day comes I will still be able to take a step back and take it all in and have some wonderful memories.


  1. Great articles, by both you and Maz. It really made me think as to why I collect. I mean, my friends, kids and family constantly barrage me with this question, but my answer has always been a nonchalant "Because I want to." Sure there's the nostalgia aspect of it, which should be readily apparent for anyone wondering why someone in their mid-thirties still buys toys, old used ones at that.

    I've always collected something. As a kid, it was Star Wars and He-Man. After 1984, it was almost exclusively Transformers. Once the G1 line died, I moved on and expanded my comic collection and dabbled in various action figures such as the ones Todd MacFarlane put out in the heyday of Image. Once I started college, I moved on to basketball cards. After a year or so, I turned to the new Star Wars figures. Notice a pattern?

    I was never interested in G2 figures because they seemed a pale imitation of life to me. While I found the Beast Wars series intriguing and the figures nice to look at, I never bought more than a couple. What pulled me back was Robots in Disguise. After that, I started going through my old toys and gave away what wasn't Transformer related and focused on vintage. At the rate of 1 per year of I was lucky. I think what drove me, even at such a low volume was that coupled with the many figures I had leftover from my childhood, I still had more toys than anyone I knew. Which filled me with pride and shame all at the same time.

    I got married nearly 7 years ago and once I started having real responsibilities (read: kids ), I ramped up the pace of acquisition, which seems counterintuitive. I think that the hobby has become a stress release for me. Hot water leaking and going to cost $500 to replace? Transform a few guys. It's the ultimate take-me-away thing for me. There's nothing like picking up something that you got as a 10 year old and reliving that moment, especially since my dad was in the Navy and we moved a lot. It's how I maintain a connection to everywhere I've ever lived.

    As far as the pride goes, that's been scuttled once I decided to reconnect with the community a bit. Thanks to seeing the massive collections out there, I've been humbled. But it's also driven me. I'm a competitive guy, so my goal, aside from the memories, is to have that respectable collection that people will look at it and say "Man, that's pretty impressive." But I want it to be mostly vintage, and not inflated by newer things you can just run out and get at Wal-Mart or Target. I want others to see the effort that's gone into it, I guess. That's why I'll order a Masterpiece from Tomy as soon as it's released instead of waiting for the inevitable Hasbro version.

    So I guess I collect for sanity, nostalgia and ego. It took me 500 words to get there, but I guess I got there eventually. I told you this made me think. Sorry to have hijacked your blog!

    1. Thanks for sharing so much! I love hearing how people have come back to the hobby they once loved as a kid. Awesome stuff.

  2. Colbey, you have inspired me to get off my a$$ and write something on my blog so long after I left it silent. I have also put my thoughts there about why I continue to collect and took pages off your idea about blogging about it. I hope you don't mind. Here is the page....

    Optimal, very interesting to hear about your story as well. You are one of the most hardworking bloggers I know and really glad that you are keeping it alive and going very strong!

    1. Hey, this wasn't my idea, but thanks for pitching in and making this a little more two dimensional than my standard blog posts.

  3. Haha, I knew that one was you! As soon as I saw the TV station comment I was like: "That's gotta be Colbey". It is good to get the whole story all together though. Even though you've told me snippets of this in the past I never get tired of hearing it.

    I already had a quote in the article but it all boils down to this: I collect because it is part of who I am. Transformers have always and will always be part of my life. As Simon Furman likes to say: It Never Ends!