In my 31 years of experience, I have found the collectors who focus their attention on a particular genre, or theme, garner greater enjoyment from their intrepid pursuit, instead of just impulsively purchasing whatever grabs their fancy (what I term as the “shotgun approach”). When you focus on a particular area, say, visual effects filming miniatures (e.g. spaceships from sci-fi productions), you can systematically approach the subject by researching and learning about them. By reviewing auction records, and other focused “industry” websites or books, you will learn how miniatures are constructed (materials, etc.), which visual effects studios built them, provenance (chain of ownership), and a host of other details which will assist you in making logical, better-informed decisions. In due time, you will find your focused attention pays dividends. You will make fewer mistakes by knowing what items satisfy your criteria. As strange as it seems, the pursuit of finding a “holy grail” piece brings you as much (or more) joy than the actual attainment of the artifact!
Another great advantage to “building on a theme” is, when it comes time to sell your collection, your research and patience are “built” into the collection, an aspect that is oftentimes lost to the casual observer. For example, in November 2021, we sold the collection of television producer Kevin Burns, who had amassed an extraordinary collection of Monster-related artifacts from The Munsters, vintage Aurora model kits and other related material.
Kevin’s expertise, garnered through decades of pursuing these pieces, was legendary in the field and the buyers all knew that if Kevin bought it, it had to be of very high quality. The buyers leveraged his expertise and were willing to pay more to attain examples from his collection (look at the auction results if you don’t believe me)!
The key is to have fun in your collecting pursuits, first and foremost. You will find that the more you learn about your focused subject, the greater your rewards will be. Find your passion, and start learning! It won’t seem like work at all.