The Philosophy of Collecting

The Philosophy of Collecting

Now that things have cooled off, albeit still quite inflated in some regard, I think it’s important to talk about the investment that means the most when it comes to collecting anything. And that’s the investment of time. Within the last couple of years, I have recorded conversations with some of the greatest collectors in the world over at Collectors Gene Radio; think Auro Montanari and the version of him across multiple categories. At the end of the day, this has been a passion project for me, but my goal was always to learn from the best and implement those strategies into my own collecting. Afterall, for us with the “collectors’ gene”, learning from the greats is the equivalent to a rookie playing on the same team with their idol.

One thing I didn’t expect was to learn the same trick of the trade from all these collectors, and that is the importance of time. Now I don’t want to confuse time and patience. Both extremely important, but I think the former takes the cake, simply because I believe persistence and patience can work perpendicular to each other from time to time (pun intended, unfortunately). But time can mean a lot of things so let’s break that down in terms of what it means to me and what I’ve learned.

We would all love for there to be extra hours in the day, for many reasons. Whether it’s to spend time with loved ones, get more work done, or entertain your hobbies a bit more. In terms of collecting, for most of us it is in fact a hobby, which means we don’t always have time to put energy towards it. At the end of the day, find time to put excess mental real estate into something you love when all the other important things in your life have taken precedent. It’s a great stress reliever, it’s important to learn, and you should always make time for the things that bring you joy.

Instant gratification is another thing I’ve learned to embrace. Often times, instant gratification comes and goes, sometimes within seconds. We get the “thing” we’ve been waiting on FedEx to deliver, we open the package, admire for a minute or two, and put it in its respective storage or display until the next use. Why not extend the instant gratification? The timeframe in which something excites you doesn’t have to end within seconds. Find more ways to use the things you love or more time to admire them, and the instant gratification never fades.

As for how I’m collecting these days, a lot has changed. When you get obsessed with something, it's extremely difficult to focus and figure out exactly what you want. It’s hard to not become inundated and excited about multiple things, so sometimes you dive headfirst and scoop up anything that interests you, that you can afford of course. Since my collecting (specifically watches), many have come and gone, a lot of frantic buying and selling in the beginning, but now things are getting more intentional. I’m spending more time learning, test driving, understanding, and buying with time, less emotion.

The moral of the story is that it’s not always how fast you can acquire something, but the amount of time you can dedicate to make sure you love each step of the way.

Cameron Ross Steiner is an entrepreneur, host of the podcast Collectors Gene Radio, and watch collector from Arizona. Although raised primarily in AZ, he has and continues to spend a lot of his time in New York. Being exposed to cars and watches from an early age, he has always had a passion for collecting.

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