Rescources for Collectors


This page is a wealth of information for both the professional and hobbyist. We delve deeper into the mentality of the collectors. The history of collecting and its historical roots in the scientific understanding of the world are also subjects that have a natural place in our toolkit.

We welcome you, dear reader, to learn more about one of our most beloved natural traits: the urge and passion for collecting to understand the world and beyond better. 


Our Resources

Information and resources that might aid collectors and help understand why we collect.

How-to Guides

How-to guides on various collecting areas. Aimed at the beginner, but with helpful insiughts even for the more advanced collector. 




Bottles and Caps



The history of collecting and collectors goes back to the early days of human civilisaztion. The context of collecting is an integral part of both science and hobby.

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Various theories exist for why collecting behavior occurs, including consumerism, materialism, neurobiology, and psychoanalytic theory.

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Popular Culture

A small study on how collectors are portrayed in popular culture. Everything from books and films to music are sources for our shortlist of collectors. 

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What Is An Animal?

The question may seem absurd, but our quest for definitions continues nonetheless. 


Animals are a significant group of multicellular, eukaryotic organisms of Animalia or Metazoa. Their body plan eventually becomes fixed as they develop, although some undergo a process of​ metamorphosis later on in their life. Most animals are motile, meaning they can move spontaneously​ and independently. All animals are also heterotrophs, meaning they must ingest other organisms or​ their products for sustenance.

A How-To Guide to Collecting Animals

Collecting animals is associated with mixed feelings. Collecting and killing animals are not something to be taken lightly. It would be best if you never collected endangered species of any kind. If you do collect, document it correctly to make it worthwhile to science.

I am not a professional taxidermist, but I have recently begun to explore the field. I only use dead animals I find in the woods or a road kill if I come by one. The toxic chemicals used in taxidermy can be tricky to get by, so I try to limit my use to common household chemicals. If you're not keen on taxidermy, you can purchase your animals, although doing the job yourself is rewarding. You also get new insights into the anatomy of animals.

What to Collect

You can collect all kinds of animals, but I suggest you start building your zoological collection with animals nearby. You can, of course, buy exotic species from around the world, but you'll have a greater understanding of the ones living nearby.

Where to Get and Where to Buy

The best way to find animals is to visit the woods regularly. Sooner or later, you will encounter a dead animal, hopefully not too degraded. Another way to get by animals is by hunting them yourself. It is, however, essential to remember that in most countries, hunting simply for collecting is prohibited. Most collectors will have to suffice with collecting animals that have died of natural causes.

Do-It-Yourself or The Fine Art of Taxidermy

A collector of natural history sooner or later needs to find a way to conserve animals of different species. The art of taxidermy usually conserves animals. Taxidermy is defined as "the art of preparing, stuffing, and mounting the skins of animals (especially vertebrates) for display (e.g., as hunting trophies) or other sources of study. Taxidermy can be done on all vertebrate species animals, including mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, and amphibians."[Source]

I do not attempt to describe the different steps in preserving an animal. I am an amateur and have recently begun taking small steps in this craft. I can only offer a few hints on the way. First, there are two types of taxidermy: dry and wet. Wet taxidermy is usually used to preserve water-living animals like fish and amphibians. The animal is then conserved by chemicals or alcohol and kept in a glass jar.

When I find an animal I want to preserve, I usually put it in the freezer unless I have the time to get it cleaned. I do all my taxidermy in my workshop because the smells and chemicals combined do not offer a pleasant odor.

Please visit for more information on the subject.

Keeping live animals

You can, of course, collect live animals too. During the early modern era, it was not unusual for the royals and aristocrats to keep live animals in captivity on their estates. In a sense, these so-called menageries became forerunners to modern zoological gardens.

If you wish to collect and keep live animals, you should always ensure you have enough money and time to tend to the animals sufficiently. The ability to keep live animals might also be restricted by law.

Organizing and Classifying

Classifying animals has a history that dates back to antiquity. Most attempts at classifying biological organisms have dealt with their appearance. Differences in how animals look are often easy to spot, but modern biology has gone further, classifying animals at a genetic level. For the amateur naturalist, this makes little sense since two animals that look the same may be of different species from a genetic standpoint.

The Linnaean system of classifying is still widely used. It has six major classes:

Classis 1 -Mammalia

Classis 2 - Aves

Classis 3 - Amphibia

Classis 4 - Pisces

Classis 5 - Insecta

Classis 6 - Vermes

Each class is, in turn, divided into Order, family, Genus, and Species. In scientific taxonomy,​ all animals have Latin names. How much detail you put into classifying the specimens in your collection is up to you. In most cases, determining species will suffice.

Storing and Displaying

​​It would be best to store your animals away from dust, dampness, and sunlight; avoid storing your collection near windows. Sunlight can damage your specimens, causing colors to fade, etc. Always store and display your animals in glass cabinets. Even though your species are stored inside a protected cabinet, dusting your animals regularly is a good habit. Adding mothballs to your cabinets could also be a wise precaution if your collections become infested by pests.

Researching Your Collection

When you collect, you should always write down what, where, and when you've collected. This information will be of great scientific importance as time goes by. If you're interested in comparing your findings with others, national and regional societies and clubs exist for those interested in the natural world. There, you can meet fellow collectors and share knowledge about your passion.

Useful link:

Encyclopedia of Life - an extensive database with articles, photos, and forums of all living things. The lion's share of the content on the site comes from volunteers.



A collection of animal bones can be aesthetically pleasing and educational. However, bones usually affect people; they either love or loathe them. I guess bones, in a way, are a reminder for us that we are, in fact, mortal, and the only thing that will remain a few years after we pass from this world until the next are the bones in our body.

What is Osteology?

Osteology is the scientific study of bones. We need some reference material to determine what bone belongs to what animal. We will soon learn to distinguish bones from various species if we collect bones. To do this, we require a bit of anatomical and zoological knowledge.

Osteology is a subfield of anatomy, anthropology, and archaeology that involves a detailed study of bones, skeletal elements, teeth, morphology, function, disease, pathology, the process of ossification (from cartilaginous molds), the resistance and hardness of bones (biophysics), and more. Scientists use osteology to identify vertebrate remains and determine their age, sex, growth, and development, often in a cultural context.

What to Collect

​​You can collect virtually any part of the skeleton; although most collectors specialize in collecting skulls or teeth, some collect complete skeletons from animals.

I have just begun collecting bones, and with little effort, I've come across skulls from several animals during my walks in the woods. A problem for those of us who collect animals we find in nature is that we are seldom fortunate enough to find intact skeletons that have not yet been degraded. Bones are resistant to biological degradation, although wind and weather will dilapidate the bones in a way that makes preservation more challenging.

When I find a bone, I wash it carefully, using only water. After drying the specimen, I put it in a bowl filled with diluted Hydrogen Peroxide. The Hydrogen Peroxide is employed as a bleach; it whitens the bones. It should lay in the bowl for some time, ensuring the Hydrogen Peroxide covers the entire specimen. Otherwise, there might be an uneven coloration on the bone. I've found it easier to whiten my specimens if I brush the bleach directly on the bone a few times before I let it soak the bowl.

Where to Collect

​The best way to obtain bones is to find them in nature and clean them yourself. This is also the best way to learn the anatomy of animals, although it can be challenging to determine what animal it is without prior knowledge. Another benefit is that you get to enjoy the outdoors!

You can also buy bones and skulls on the Internet. eBay has quite a lot of osteological specimens for sale, as well as specialized stores.

Useful links for buying bones:

Skulls Unlimited- a wide selection of osteological items.

UK Taxidermy- this dealer specializes in taxidermy but has some bones and skulls for sale.


What Is A Book?

A book is a set of written, printed, illustrated, or blank sheets made of ink, paper, parchment, or other materials, usually fastened together to hinge at one side. A single sheet within a book is called a leaf, and each side of a leaf is called a page.

We all know it when we see it, but sometimes, using the correct terminology can be crucial. There are several different types of books.

The most common difference is the book's contents, which are nonfiction or fiction. Next are the physical characteristics; the book can be bound or glued, a hardback or a paperback. When it comes to older books or limited editions, you should also consider the quality of the paper.

What to Collect

We advise collecting books you enjoy reading or have content that reflects your interests. Collecting should never be about 'investment' but about passion for the objects you collect. Considering this, the value listed in catalogs becomes less critical, although many collectors find value guides indispensable.

Common ways to collect

Collecting an author

To drop a name: Jules Verne. Verne is one of the more well-known authors in the science fiction genre, and several editions have been published in numerous countries. With authors such as Verne, collecting all editions published worldwide is impossible. A more realistic approach would be collecting editions published during a specific period, a country, or a publishing house. Whatever author you choose to collect, research the author and his works before you start collecting. Knowledge is, as you all know, power.

If you want to know how many editions of Jules Verne's books there are, we recommend you visit this site.

Collecting a subject or genre

A favorite subject for us is the famous naturalist Carl Linnaeus. We collect books by him and books about him. Most original works by Linnaeus are far too expensive for most, but facsimiles are good alternatives.

Collecting a title

Collecting different book editions can be fun to track differences through time. You can limit your collecting to a specific language or collect all editions. The latter is a challenging task if the author is well-known internationally.

Collecting signed editions

We have quite a few signed copies, primarily by authors we fancy. We usually get our books signed at book fairs, but we invite specific authors to visit us here in Unixploria on special occasions.

Collecting first editions

Many book collectors start by collecting first editions of their favorite authors; others collect first editions by Nobel laureates. Either way, this is a great way to gather, and it doesn't have to cost a fortune if you limit yourself to modern writers.

Collecting a period

Collecting a certain period or era can be a convenient way to narrow down a subject or authorship.

Where to Collect

Even though there are many options to buy new and used books online, you shouldn't miss out on buying from a physical bookstore. A visit to a bookstore is like visiting a lost friend. You'll always leave with a book you didn't look for and have an informative chat with someone who shares your bibliophilia.

Three good sites to find books you want to add to your collection:

Abe Books is a search portal for finding books.

Alibris - find new and used books.

BookFinder is an excellent alternative to Abe Books, although their search results could be easier to navigate.

Organizing and Classifying

​​This subject is something that interests all librarians personally and professionally. Collecting and classifying often goes hand in hand. There are several ways to organize your book collection. Most collectors don't have such an extensive collection of books that a system for classification is necessary. Still, avid bibliophiles can't seem to stop adding books to their stacks, and some order in the shelves is soon required.

Professional book collectors (i.e., librarians) have several classifications to use. The most common system is called the Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC). It is a very detailed system in which a book receives a specific call number depending on the type of book (subject). The main classes are as follows:

000 – Computer science, Library and Information science & general work

100 – Philosophy and psychology

200 – Religion

300 – Social sciences

400 – Language

500 – Science

600 – Technology

700 – Arts

800 – Literature

900 – History, geography & biography

Another way to organize your books is by the Universal Decimal Classification system. Like DDC, it's organized by call numbers and ten main classes, although one class is currently unused.

0–Science and Knowledge. Organization. Computer Science. Information Science. Documentation. Librarianship. Institutions. Publications

1 –Philosophy. Psychology

2–Religion. Theology

3–Social Sciences


5–Mathematics. Natural Sciences

6–Applied Sciences. Medicine, Technology

7–The Arts. Entertainment. Sport

8–Linguistics. Literature

9–Geography. History

If you have an extensive library, consider using a classification system like the ones above. Still, if you're not having problems locating your books, there's probably no cause to rearrange your books according to any system but your own.

Storing and Displaying

A bookshelf is by far the best way to store your books. There are several choices, and prices range from cheap to extremely expensive. We guess you already have some bookcases; buying new isn't necessary unless you want to display your books in a new fashion.

Our National Library, Biblioteca Unixploria, mainly uses regular bookcases without doors. The books are more accessible that way. Glazed bookcases are perhaps a better alternative if you want to protect the more valuable books from dust and reduce the aging process.

Displaying your books can be a great way to highlight the books you want people to notice. Leave enough space on your shelves to exhibit the books you want. I use a simple plastic bookstand to exhibit books I consider worth showing others. You can, of course, buy more decorative book stands made of wood. When you display books, you should consider a common theme: books connected by contents, period, etc.

Researching Your Collection​

Research is an essential part of collecting, whether you're trying to determine what fossil species you hold in your hands or want to know more about the history of philately. Research is the key that unlocks and adds value to your collection.

Books are pretty well documented. There are bibliographies, sales catalogs, and literature that cover virtually everything you want to know. A great starting point would be a visit to the local library. The Internet has a lot of helpful material, but information on more obscure literature can sometimes only be found in printed sources.


What is a Bottle?

A bottle can be defined as a rigid container with a neck that is narrower than the body and a 'mouth.' By contrast, a jar or jug has a relatively large mouth or opening. Bottles are often made of glass, clay, plastic, aluminum, or other waterproof materials. They are typically used to store liquids such as water, milk, soft drinks, beer, wine, cooking oil, medicine, shampoo, ink, and chemicals.

The above description gives us a relatively broad definition of what a bottle is and also provides us with a clue to the wide selection of bottles that can be collected. You can collect all bottles that contain beverages, but most collectors specialize in collecting a specific type, i.g. pharmaceutical medicinal bottles.

What to collect

You can collect a variety of different bottles. We collect beer, wine, and liquor bottles, but collecting soft drink bottles is perhaps more accessible because they can be found virtually everywhere.

Vintage Bottles

Vintage glass bottles have a rich history and are an excellent addition to any bottle collection.

Beer Bottles

There are more different brands of beer than one can count, and each has a unique label, which often differs from country to country. Bottles are usually made out of glass or plastic, but ceramic materials are also used to a limited extent. If you want to narrow down your collection, you can collect brands from regional breweries.

Wine Bottles

Wine is one of the oldest beverages, and it is produced (with a few exceptions) worldwide. The traditional wine bottle is made out of glass with a corkscrew cap.

Liquor Bottles

Almost all are made of glass, but the occasional plastic bottle does occur. Some liquor bottles have unusual shapes and textures and are very popular among collectors.

Soft Drink Bottles

The bottle is often made of PET or glass and comes in all sizes. Most countries recycle bottles. Some even have a deposit-refund system to increase recycling and reduce littering.


1. Corkscrew

Perhaps the oldest cap of them all, although it's not that common on beer bottles nowadays. They are more common on wine bottles, but the cork is often replaced by another material on contemporary bottles.

2. Plastic Cap

Standard threaded caps on soft drink bottles and plastic beer bottles.

3. Crown Cap

A ubiquitous cap is used on glass beer and soft drink bottles.

4. Seal Cap

This cap is like a crown cap, except for the loop that allows you to tear the cap open.

Where to Collect

We only collect empty bottles; this makes collecting somewhat easier because obtaining empty bottles isn't that difficult. Whenever we buy a new bottle (full or empty), we handle the bottle carefully so that we can add it to our collection later. Make sure to clean the bottle so no residue is left inside.

Buying vintage or antique bottles can be a fun way to expand your collections and get a historical perspective. Several websites offer antique bottles. I often find browsing the flea markets to be a better alternative. We urge you to visit your local antique shops, fairs and markets, you might acquire a rare bottle where you didn't expect to find it.

Organizing and Classifying

We believe the best way to organize your bottle collection is by content, beer, wine, etc. After you've made that distinction, you can continue arranging them by style, brewery, etc. Another way to organize your bottles is chronologically, which could create an excellent visual timeline of the history of bottles if you have an extensive collection containing vintage items.

Storing and Displaying

We store my bottles on ordinary shelves. The ideal way to display your bottles would be in a pub or a bar. Most of us don't have one at home, but maybe a tiny corner of your recreation room can be turned into a place to display your bottle collection.


What Is A Book?

The physical container of the movie (i.e., the disc or cassette) has changed over the years, but the definition below stands:

A film, also called a movie or motion picture, is a series of still images on a strip of plastic which, when run through a projector and shown on a screen, creates the illusion of moving images.

A film is produced by photographing actual scenes with a motion picture camera, photographing drawings or miniature models using traditional animation techniques, CGI, and computer animation, or combining some or all of these techniques and other visual effects.

When we speak of collecting movies, we always mean the physical product: a DVD, a cassette, or other formats. There are many digital alternatives to watching movies, but we do not collect intangibles.

What to Collect

There are several genres to collect. We can't say we have a favorite type of genre, but a good way to start a collection would be to collect all films by your favorite actor or complete seasons of television series you're addicted to. You can also collect a specific movie in various editions. Each country has its covers, and collecting a couple of different posters from different parts of the world is an excellent addition to any collection.

Movie Memorabilia

We recently began collecting movie memorabilia, posters, movie tickets, and a few autographed items. They make an excellent complement to our collection of DVDs and Blu-rays. We don't like the digital medium, although there is no alternative if you want to own a physical copy of a film. Memorabilia is a great way to expand your collection, and it will most certainly last longer than your discs filled with digital binary code.

Where to Buy

Numerous stores offer a wide selection of movies and related memorabilia for sale. We won't list them here. When buying from foreign dealers, the only thing to consider is to make sure the movie can be watched in your part of the world. All DVDs and some Blu-ray discs have regional coding, meaning you can only play it if your player has the required encoding. If your player lacks an encoding, there are third-party solutions that can free your player from regional encoding.

Organizing and Classifying

We don't organizeour movie collection virtually, that is we keep track of what movie belongs to what genre in a database. We don't organize our collections in the drawers other than placing sequels beside each other.

​Definitions of Main Genres:


One or more heroes are thrust into a series of challenges that require physical feats, extended fights, and frantic chases. It tends to feature a resourceful character struggling against incredible odds, which may involve life-threatening situations, an evil villain, and being pursued, with victory achieved at the end after complex physical efforts and violence.

Example: Die Hard​


Unlike action films, they often use their action scenes preferably to display and explore exotic locations energetically. Main plot elements include quests for lost continents, jungle and desert settings, characters going on treasure hunts, and heroic journeys for the unknown.

Example: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull​


"Comedy film is a genre of film in which the main emphasis is on humor. These films are designed to elicit laughter from the audience. Comedies are generally light-hearted dramas made to amuse and entertain the audiences. The comedy genre often humorously exaggerates situations, speaking methods, actions, and characters. Films in this style traditionally have a happy ending (the black comedy being an exception).

Example: National Lampoon's Vacation


Crime films are films that focus on the lives of criminals. The stylistic approach to a crime film varies from realistic portrayals of real-life criminal figures to the far-fetched evil doings of imaginary arch-villains. Criminal acts are almost always glorified in these movies.

Example: The Godfather​


The drama film genre depends mainly on the in-depth development of realistic characters dealing with emotional themes. Dramatic themes such as alcoholism, drug addiction, infidelity, moral dilemmas, racial prejudice, religious intolerance, sexuality, poverty, class divisions, violence against women, and corruption put the characters in conflict with themselves, others, society, and even natural phenomena.

Example: The Shawshank Redemption


Fantasy films have fantastic themes, usually involving magic, supernatural events, make-believe creatures, or exotic fantasy worlds. The genre is considered to be distinct from science fiction films and horror films, although the genres do overlap. Fantasy films often have an element of magic, myth, wonder, escapism, and the extraordinary. In fantasy films, the hero frequently undergoes a mystical experience and must ask for assistance from powerful, superhuman forces.

Example: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring​


Horror is a film genre seeking to elicit an adverse emotional reaction from viewers by playing on the audience's primal fears. Horror films often feature scenes that startle the viewer; the macabre and the supernatural are frequent themes. Thus, they may overlap with the fantasy, paranormal, and thriller genres. Horror films often deal with the viewer's nightmares, hidden fears, hatred, and terror of the unknown.

Example: Hellraiser​


The musical film is a film genre in which songs sung by the characters are interwoven into the narrative, sometimes accompanied by dancing. The songs usually advance the plot or develop the film's characters, though they occasionally serve as breaks in the storyline, often as elaborate 'production numbers.' The musical film was a natural development of the stage musical after the emergence of sound film technology. Typically, the most significant difference between film and stage musicals is the use of lavish background scenery and locations that would be impractical in a theatre.

Example: Mamma Mia​


Romance films (or romance movies) are romantic love stories recorded in visual media for broadcast in theatres and on television that focus on passion, emotion, and the affectionate, romantic involvement of the main characters and the journey that their genuinely strong, true and pure romantic love takes them through dating, courtship or marriage. Romance films make the romantic love story or the search for solid and pure love and romance the main plot focus.

Example: Bed of Roses​

Science Fiction

Science fiction film is a film genre that uses science fiction: speculative, science-based depictions of phenomena that are not necessarily accepted by mainstream science, such as extraterrestrial life forms, alien worlds, extrasensory perception, and time travel, often along with futuristic elements such as spacecraft, robots, cyborgs, interstellar space travel or other technologies. Science fiction films have frequently focused on political or social issues and explored philosophical problems like the human condition.

Example: Starship Troopers​


War films are a film genre concerned with warfare, usually about naval, air, or land battles, sometimes focusing instead on prisoners of war, covert operations, military training, or other related subjects. At times, war films focus on military or civilian life in wartime without depicting battles. Their stories may be fiction, based on history, docudrama, biographical, or even alternate history fiction. The term anti-war film is sometimes used to describe films that bring the pain and horror of war to the viewer, often from a political or ideological perspective.

Example: ​Full Metal Jacket​


The Western genre sometimes portrays the conquest of the wilderness and the subordination of nature in the name of civilization or the confiscation of the territorial rights of the original inhabitants of the frontier. The Western depicts a society organized around codes of honor and personal, direct, or private justice (such as the feud, rather than one organized around rationalistic, abstract law, in which social order is maintained predominately through relatively impersonal institutions. The popular perception of the West is a story that centers on the life of a semi-nomadic wanderer, usually a cowboy or a gunfighter.

Example: Tombstone​​

Storing and Displaying

Some prefer to keep all their collection organized by genre, which can have advantages; mainly, if you collect a television series, you might want to display them together in a nice row. We store our films in a drawer cabinet, which is somewhat protected from dust and direct sunlight.

Digital media doesn't last that long. Depending on make and quality, a DVD is expected to last up to a hundred years if stored under perfect conditions. However, a problem with digital media is that you might be unable to view its contents because future players/readers cannot read the data.

Movie memorabilia such as posters will undoubtedly last longer than their digital counterparts. We keep our posters framed and safe from dampness and sunlight behind glass or acid-free plastic.

We usually arrange our film collection so that posters and other related items accompany the movies. It makes the display so much more exciting and appealing to the eye.

6. Researching Your Collection

As always, the more you learn, the more you know, and the more you understand, the more rewarding your collection gets. It can be interesting to read up on your favorite actors. If you're a fan of a particular film character, there might be websites, books, and other material to collect and enjoy reading.

Useful links:

Internet Movie Database - the most extensive database on films on the web, and still unthreatened.

​Oscars - a lot of helpful information on everything from making movies to media literacy.



To some degree, films, books, and music containing collectors are not as scarce as one might think. After all, collecting has played a significant part in society, both as a hobby and, to some extent, as a profession. This fact is reflected in the popular media.

Whenever we read a book or watch a movie, we pay attention when collectors occur. When we have a wider choice of titles, we will try to analyze them somehow, maybe trying to identify how the fictional collectors are portrayed compared to the real world. This has so far not led to anything but a shortlist with the potential to grow.

For now, we're pretty happy just adding one fictional collector after another. To make sense of the list, here are some helpful definitions.

What Media?

  • ​Book (B)
  • Film and Television (F)
  • Music (M)
  • Other media (O)

What Categories?

1. Collector (C)

Someone says or does something that identifies that character as a collector. It can be something the character tells or shows (e.g., a collection of collectibles) and mentioned by others.

2. Collection, Collectible (Co, Col)

Something referred to as a collection or a collectible is described or shown.


39 Clues (F, C)

Dan Cahill is a boy who collects a lot of stuff, among them baseball cards.

40-year-old Virgin (F, C, Co)

The protagonist collects action figures.


Adventure of the Three Garridebs by Arthur Conan Doyle (B, F, C, Co)

John Watson meets his old professor, Dr. Nathan Garrideb, a general collector of natural history and curiosities.

Adventure of the Illustrious Client by Arthur Conan Doyle ​(B, F, C, Co)

The sadistic character, Austrian Baron Adelbert Gruner, collects Chinese pottery.

Agatha Christie's Poirot; Season 3, Episode 9 (F, C, Co)

Poirot sits by his desk organizing stamps. There are several stamps visible in the stock books stacked on his desk.


Batman (F, C, Co)

The Dark Knight shows his private collection of historical memorabilia to a lady.


Collector by John Fowles (B, F, C, Co)​​

The novel and the film give a less-than-positive image of a butterfly collector.


Ghostbusters (F, C)

One of the main characters, Dr. Egon Spangler, states that he collects spores and fungi.

Guardians of the Galaxy (F, C, Co)

An Elder named Taneleer Tivan, aka The Collector is a character in this movie. The Collector collects artifacts and living things across the universe to repopulate and educate the universe if annihilation should occur.


The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova (B, C, Co)

Kostova's novel has many references to collecting, among them a walk through a repository of antiquities.

Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle (B, F, C, Co)

One of the characters, Jack Stapleton, collects butterflies and even shows his collection to Dr. Watson.


Journey to the Center of the Earth (B, C, Co)​

Professor Lidenbrock has an extensive collection of minerals.


Living Daylights by Ian Flemming (B, F, C, Co)

The American arms dealer Brad Whitaker shows his extensive military collection.


Man with the Golden Gun (F, Co)

Mr. Scaramanga has natural curiosities on display in his house (shells, insects, etc.).

Manhattan Murder Mystery (F, C, Co)

One of the main characters, Mr. Paul Robert House, is a stamp collector.

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (B, F, C, Co)

The film and novel by John Berendt portray Jim Williams, an antiques dealer who collects art and historical artifacts.

Murder Rooms: The Kingdom of Bones (F, Co)

Reuben Proctor is the curator of a museum of natural history and antiquities.

Murder Rooms: The Patient's Eyes (F, C, Co)

Mr. Turnavine is a collector of natural history. He is financially independent and spends days attending his private natural history museum.


National Treasure (F, Co)

Ben Gates gives Abigail Chase an election button to add to her collection.

Ninth Gate (F, C, Co)

Several book collectors with evil intentions have libraries to die for.


On Her Majesty's Secret Service by Ian Flemming (B, F, C, Co)

James Bond visits M, who is busy arranging his collection of butterflies.


Sahara (B, F, C)

The sidekick, Al Giordino, claims that his father collects coins.

Sign of Four by Arthur Conan Doyle (B, F, Co)

Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson visit the estate of the late Colonel Sholto. One of Sholto's sons informs Holmes that his father was stationed in India and had amassed the curiosities on display in the house.

The Simpsons (F, C, Co, Col)

The Comic Book Guy becomes the evil alter-ego of The Collector in the episode Treehouse of Horror X. He collects celebrities and preserves them in 'mint condition' wrapped in Mylar.


Time Machine by H. G. Wells (B, F, Co)

Alexander Hartdegen's laboratory is filled with things, among them a nice collection of pocket watches.

Tunnels by Roderick Gordon and Brian Williams (B, C, Co)

Dr. Burrows is the curator of a local museum in London. The museum and its collections are described in the novel.

Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (B, F, C, Co)

Captain Nemo has an extensive collection of natural history specimens (especially shells) on board the Nautilus.


Unbreakable (F, Co)

At the film's beginning, there's a written reference to collecting comic books.



Collecting is a popular hobby that involves searching for, obtaining, organizing, cataloging, displaying, and maintaining items that interest a collector. Collections can vary significantly regarding the objects they contain and their purpose and presentation. Countless subjects can be the focus of a collection, and collectors have explored many of them. However, some subjects are more popular than others.

Antiques and collectibles are items that people often treasure. Antiques are at least 100 years old, while other collectibles can be more recent. The term "vintage" describes relatively old collectibles but not quite antiques yet. These items can include anything from antique furniture to vintage clothing and jewelry.

Collecting can be a hobby for people of any age. Some start as children and continue throughout their lives, while others begin their collections in adulthood. As collectors age, their goals may change. Some beginners start by buying items they like and then learn how to build their collection. Others prefer to know about the field first before making purchases. The internet has made it easier for collectors to connect globally, allowing isolated enthusiasts to find others who share their interests.


Collecting has been a cultural practice for thousands of years. In Mesopotamia, collecting was common among the wealthy and noble classes as far back as the 3rd millennium BCE. The Ptolemaic dynasty in Egypt collected books from around the world for the Library of Alexandria. During the Renaissance in Florence, the Medici family started collecting art to support artists financially, and this tradition continues today with private art collectors. Many famous museums, such as the Metropolitan in New York City, Thyssen in Madrid, and Franz Mayer in Mexico City, have collections formed through donations from private collectors for public viewing.

The hobby of collecting is a modern version of the "cabinet of curiosities," which was popular among scholars who had the means and the opportunities to acquire unusual items since the 16th century. Collecting ephemeral publications was planned as far back as the reign of Charles I by George Thomason and during the reign of Charles II by Samuel Pepys. The practice of collecting engravings and other prints by those who couldn't afford original works of art goes back several centuries. The progress made in 18th-century Paris in collecting both works of art and curiosities has been faintly echoed in the English trinkets. The origins of the modern art market in Paris, Amsterdam, and London have been increasingly well-documented and studied since the mid-19th century.

As prosperity and leisure time increased in industrial countries during the later 19th century, more people became involved in collecting activities. This was when the practice of collecting antique china, furniture, and decorative items from oriental countries became established. The first price guide, the Stanley Gibbons catalog, was issued in November 1865.



The psychology of collecting is a field of study that tries to understand why people invest their time, money, and energy in creating and maintaining collections. Various theories explain the reasons behind collecting behavior, including consumerism, materialism, neurobiology, and psychoanalytic theory. This field of study also provides insight into the difference between healthy collecting, a rewarding hobby, and problematic collecting, a mental disorder. The diverse range of collected objects and the various collecting behaviors across these types have also been the subject of investigation in fields such as psychology, marketing, and game design.

Collecting is an expected behavior, with estimates suggesting that about 30% of households worldwide engage in some form of collecting.


Although collections often involve physical objects, marketing research suggests that collections can also relate to intangible things such as experiences, ideas, or feelings. This provides a basis for the application of theories of consumerism and materialism, which propose that some intrinsic value exists apart from monetary value. This value can include luxury, passion, spirituality, solidarity, or nostalgia, which motivate consumer behavior. The social environment in which collecting occurs can also lead to competition for acquiring objects and cooperation by sharing knowledge about objects. According to the theory, this motivates researching, cataloging, displaying, and admiring collections. Different motives may combine or intersect for other collectors, and since these motivations are not restricted to a particular stage of life, collecting is often considered a lifelong pursuit that can never be fully completed.

Virtual collecting forms come in various types and can range from items that can be collected, such as equipment, characters, vehicles, or mounts, to more intangible possessions, such as skins, achievements, or currencies, and objects that are valued mainly for their rarity, memorability, or market value. These virtual collections may influence game mechanics or be obtained to reflect players' personalities through appearance.

The scope of academia's collecting behavior is challenging to define, encompassing physical and virtual objects and intangibles like jokes and sayings.


Collecting and hoarding

Collecting can be a hobby, but it can also turn into hoarding or compulsive hoarding. Hoarding differs from collecting in that it involves covering a large living area with possessions, which can cause significant distress or impairment. Hoarding disorder, also known as compulsive hoarding, is a diagnosable mental disorder listed in the DSM-5. It is closely related to obsessive-compulsive disorder and obsessive-compulsive personality disorder. Collecting, hoarding, and compulsive hoarding are considered on a continuum of the same underlying behaviors. Assessment of these behaviors generally falls into two categories: obsessive-compulsive behavior with hoarding subscales and hoarding measures independent of obsessive-compulsive behavior.

The transition from collecting as a hobby to hoarding as a maladaptive behavior has been conveyed through anecdotes. Bryan Petrulis, a former outfielder at St. Mary's University in Winona, Minnesota, and an autograph collector explained, "Collecting can become addictive, similar to gambling, drugs, or sex. It's like playing a slot machine. You may not win on the first try, so you put in another quarter and keep going until you're out of money or finally hit the jackpot."



Neurobiological theories propose that collecting behaviors may result from brain damage or abnormalities. According to this research, certain levels of collecting behavior stem from abnormalities in the medial prefrontal cortex, which also explains why psychosocial interventions are often ineffective. The prefrontal cortex regulates cognitive behaviors such as decision-making, information processing, and organizing behavior. Evidence also supports this hypothesis for damage to the ventromedial prefrontal cortex. There are also cases where hoarding behavior is believed to be caused by other brain damage distributed throughout both hemispheres, including the right and left hemispheres.


Psychoanalytic theory

Before the 1990s, Freudian and psychoanalytic theories were commonly used to explain why people engage in collecting. These theories, which were developed in the early- to mid-1900s, were based on both psychosexual development and drive theory. One of Freud's ideas was that collecting behavior results from toilet training. However, in the late 1990s, relational model theories such as self-psychology gained popularity and were applied to explain collecting. These theories suggest that collecting helps individuals establish a better sense of self.

The psychoanalytic perspective has identified five primary motivations for collecting: collecting for selfish purposes, collecting for selfless purposes, collecting as an act of preservation, restoration, history, and a sense of continuity, collecting as a financial investment, and collecting as a form of addiction. The addictive form of collecting is known as hoarding, which reflects a "dark side" of collecting behavior.