The concept and psychology of collecting


For individuals who collect, the esteem of their collections is not money related but passionate. Collections permit individuals to remember their childhood and interface themselves to a period, or to a time they feel emphatically around. Their collections offer the assistance they ease uncertainty and uneasiness around losing a portion of themselves and keep the past proceeding exist within the present. concept and psychology collecting

A few collect for the thrill of the rummage. For these collectors, collecting could be a journey, a long-lasting interest that can never be completed. Collecting may give mental security by filling a portion of the self one feels is lost or is void of meaning. When one collects, one tests with orchestrating, organizing, and displaying a part of the world that may serve to supply a security zone, a put of an asylum where fears are calmed, and frailty is managed. Thought processes are not commonly elite, or maybe, diverse thought processes combine for each collector for a vast number of reasons. concept and psychology collecting

What is collected

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.  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. concept and psychology collecting

Why do you collect old passports?

Psychologists’ perspectives

Analysts have regularly taken a Freudian point of view when portraying why individuals collect. They highlight the controlling and incautious dim side to collecting, the requirement for individuals to have “a protest of want.” This want, and subsequently the natural penchant to gatherstarts at birth. The newborn child, to begin with, wants the passionate and physical consolation of the feeding breast.

At that point, the commonplace child cover the child clings to for relief and security. Stuffed creatures and favorite toys are taken to bed and given the enthusiastic protection required to drop sleeping. A sense of possession and control is encouraged through ownership of these things for the helpless child. Freud himself took a more extraordinary position in the beginnings of collecting. Not shockingly, he hypothesized that all collecting stems from uncertain latrine preparing strife. Freud made the position that the misfortune of bowel control was a traumatic encounter, and the item from the bowels was nauseating and startling to the child.

Hence, the collector is attempting to pick up back control of their bowels as well as their “belonging,” which were long flushed down the toilet. Where Freud connected question obsession to the anal-retentive arrange in childhood, Muensterberger, in his viewpoint paper “Rowdy Energy,” accepts collecting to be a “need-driven compensatory behavior where each modern question viably gives the idea of fantasized supremacy.”

Jung had is possess speculations around why individuals have gotten to be collectors. He touted the impact of prime examples on behavior. These widespread images are inserted in what he named our collective obliviousUtilizing this rationale, collecting and completing sets have as their model predecessors the collecting of “nuts and berries” once required for survival by our early ancestors. concept and psychology collecting

A dark side of the moon? concept and psychology collecting

There are dispassionate commerce-motivated collectors, those that seek collectibles as it were to turn them around before long after and offer them. In any case, the current creator of numerous signature collecting books, Stamp Baker, describes most signature searchers as being candidly propelled to gatherBread cook (2005) gauges that over 90% of signature collectors have no deliberate to offer their productsIn case not for cash and expecting issues emerging from childhood were long-settled, at that point, what reasons do individuals deliver for collecting? concept and psychology collecting

“For me, there are three sides to it,” says Petrulis, a previous outfielder at St. Mary’s College in Winona, Minnesota, who is an eager signature collector. “The excite of the chase, seeing who will sign that day. Moment, the collecting viewpointattempting to put together one of the most excellent signature collections around. And, at last, feeling more associated with the amusement since I meet the folks playing it rather than fair seeing them on tv.” Petrulis too concedes there’s dull side to collecting, giving a few bolsters for seeing that specific interests can be terrible. “It gets addictive,” says Petrulis, “similar to betting, drugs, or sex. It’s like putting a coin in a slot machine. It might not pay off this time, so you put another quarter in and keep doing it until you’re tapped out or at last hit the big stake.”

Do you collect for pleasure or profit?

When collecting is cheerful

In spite of the curiously “dark side” of collecting, collecting is still, for the most part, related to positive emotions. There’s the bliss from including an available discovery to the collection, the enthusiasm of the chase, and the social camaraderie when sharing their collection with other collectors. Oxlade-Vaz portrays the actively enthusiastic bond she had with her grandma, and the wealthy heart-warming recollections she had amassed at her grandma’s house as a child and indeed as a grown-up. Her grandma, an item of the Awesome Discouragement, “spared” everything.

As a child, the creator reviews the adoring and tender way her grandma organized standard things: elastic groups were perfectly bound together and guilefully shown on the mantle. Tops of pens of all colors and sizes were flawlessly orchestrated in drawers and canisters. Counterfeit blooms, spared from the dumpster enhanced each room within the house.

At her grandmother’s passing, Oxlade-Vaz reviews the overwhelmingly pleasant feelings that overcame her as she sorted through her grandma’s collections. Even though not necessary, the creator kept these collections to keep in mind her grandma’s thrifty, sensible, wisdom—reminders of the smooth way her grandmother was able to supply useless things with respect and regard.

Is collecting for you joyful or pathological?


There are also times when collecting is not pleasant for anyone— and much harder to describe than only dark. These are the collectors that have surpassed healthy collecting behavior and are considered hoarders. When a collection becomes, hoarding is when it also becomes pathological. Hoarding is pathological because it interferes with living a healthy daily life. Differences between collecting and hoarding are apparent. Items in a collection are neatly organized, maintained, and presented or manipulated with ease. If a collector of 1000+ passports wants to find a particular one from his collection, he can find it easily. Collections are often cataloged, sorted, and objectively maintained like books in a library.

Hoarding behavior is the opposite. Items with no value or use are piled up in stacks without order or reason. Steven W. Anderson, a neurologist who studies hoarding behavior, posits that the need to collect stems from a fundamental drive to collect essential supplies such as food. This drive originates in the subcortical and limbic portions of the brain. According to Anderson, people need their prefrontal cortex to determine what supplies are worth saving (or hoarding).

Anderson has found that many compulsive hoarders with brain injury had suffered damage to a region of their brain that regulates cognitive behaviors like decision making, information processing, and organizing behavior—the prefrontal cortex. Those with brain injury who did not display hoarding behavior did not have damage to their frontal cortex, but showed damage distributed throughout the right and left hemispheres of their brain. concept and psychology collecting

I discussed once with a fellow collector who bought his 4th (!) Republic of Socialist Italy passport (RSI, Mussolini State). The document is pretty rare, but why have another one if you already hold three (a total of four)? I am sorry, but this is what I call hoarding! I believe it’s also unsocial/egoistic, as it denies a chance for other collectors to get such a rare item into a collection. A thing that someone was maybe longing for a long time. I fully understand when someone holds a document in lousy condition and gets another one to upgrade—but hoarding a 3rd and even a 4th one of the same type?

What do you think?

FAQ Passport History
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1. What are the earliest known examples of passports, and how have they evolved?

The word "passport" came up only in the mid 15th Century. Before that, such documents were safe conducts, recommendations or protection letters. On a practical aspect, the earliest passport I have seen was from the mid 16th Century. Read more...

2. Are there any notable historical figures or personalities whose passports are highly sought after by collectors?

Every collector is doing well to define his collection focus, and yes, there are collectors looking for Celebrity passports and travel documents of historical figures like Winston Churchill, Brothers Grimm, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Read more...

3. How did passport designs and security features change throughout different periods in history, and what impact did these changes have on forgery prevention?

"Passports" before the 18th Century had a pure functional character. Security features were, in the best case, a watermark and a wax seal. Forgery, back then, was not an issue like it is nowadays. Only from the 1980s on, security features became a thing. A state-of-the-art passport nowadays has dozens of security features - visible and invisible. Some are known only by the security document printer itself. Read more...

4. What are some of the rarest and most valuable historical passports that have ever been sold or auctioned?

Lou Gehrig, Victor Tsoi, Marilyn Monroe, James Joyce, and Albert Einstein when it comes to the most expensive ones. Read more...

5. How do diplomatic passports differ from regular passports, and what makes them significant to collectors?

Such documents were often held by officials in high ranks, like ambassadors, consuls or special envoys. Furthermore, these travel documents are often frequently traveled. Hence, they hold a tapestry of stamps or visas. Partly from unusual places.

6. Can you provide insights into the stories behind specific historical passports that offer unique insights into past travel and migration trends?

A passport tells the story of its bearer and these stories can be everything - surprising, sad, vivid. Isabella Bird and her travels (1831-1904) or Mary Kingsley, a fearless Lady explorer.

7. What role did passports play during significant historical events, such as wartime travel restrictions or international treaties?

During war, a passport could have been a matter of life or death. Especially, when we are looking into WWII and the Holocaust. And yes, during that time, passports and similar documents were often forged to escape and save lives. Example...

8. How has the emergence of digital passports and biometric identification impacted the world of passport collecting?

Current modern passports having now often a sparkling, flashy design. This has mainly two reasons. 1. Improved security and 2. Displaying a countries' heritage, icons, and important figures or achievements. I can fully understand that those modern documents are wanted, especially by younger collectors.

9. Are there any specialized collections of passports, such as those from a specific country, era, or distinguished individuals?

Yes, the University of Western Sidney Library has e.g. a passport collection of the former prime minister Hon Edward Gough Whitlam and his wife Margaret. They are all diplomatic passports and I had the pleasure to apprise them. I hold e.g. a collection of almost all types of the German Empire passports (only 2 types are still missing). Also, my East German passport collection is quite extensive with pretty rare passport types.

10. Where can passport collectors find reliable resources and reputable sellers to expand their collection and learn more about passport history?

A good start is eBay, Delcampe, flea markets, garage or estate sales. The more significant travel documents you probably find at the classic auction houses. Sometimes I also offer documents from my archive/collection. See offers... As you are already here, you surely found a great source on the topic 😉

Other great sources are: Scottish Passports, The Nansen passport, The secret lives of diplomatic couriers

11. Is vintage passport collecting legal? What are the regulations and considerations collectors should know when acquiring historical passports?

First, it's important to stress that each country has its own laws when it comes to passports. Collecting old vintage passports for historical or educational reasons is safe and legal, or at least tolerated. More details on the legal aspects are here...

Does this article spark your curiosity about passport collecting and the history of passports? With this valuable information, you have a good basis to start your own passport collection.

Question? Contact me...