PSA Magazine

Taking My Hacks: Practice What You Preach

Joe Orlando
May 24, 2018

Taking My Hacks

Practice What You Preach

Let me start by saying this editorial is a bit of a confession from a fellow collector. One of the aspects of my job that I really appreciate is the opportunity to write. Writing is a release for me, something I thoroughly enjoy on a personal and professional level. My guess is that it is the same kind of feeling someone may get from an endeavor like painting, sculpting, or even cooking. It is part artistic expression and part pure fun.

Sometimes I choose to write about a specific collectible or hobby issue. Other times, it may come in the form of friendly hobby advice. I think it's important to share experiences with one another. There are pitfalls in this field that can be avoided by sharing information, and we can enhance our overall collecting experience by learning from others. I can say, with absolute certainty, that I have learned a great deal from those who possessed far more experience in the hobby than I did at the time the knowledge was passed on to me. Those moments are priceless from a collector perspective.

Today, the issue at hand is what happens when you have a hard time following your own advice?

I have spent a good amount of time writing about collecting discipline, which is best described as the importance of creating themes and sticking to them. That self-imposed structure helps keep collectors focused on a goal. It can also rein in spending, which can easily get out of control without the suggested discipline. This is an issue I feel strongly about, but no matter how much I believe in its merits, it is something that I still struggle with.

It would be easy for me to simply blame it on the collecting gene. Yes, there is something to the concept of the "gene" if we are honest with ourselves. The desire to hunt. The instinct to organize. The need to bring together like items into one family. We want to build. We want to move. There's more... and if you are a collector, a real one through and through, then you know exactly what I am talking about. It's just part of our nature and there's nothing wrong with it.

I could blame it on the collecting gene, and maybe that does explain most of it, but perhaps there's more to the story. Truth be told, I'm not sure if there is. What I do know is that once I got to a certain point in my collection, where it became somewhat stagnant and hard to add to, I got the itch again. I had to let my inner collector breathe. I had to release my collecting Kraken. My ex-hitting coach used to always say, "A body in motion stays in motion." Something similar may be true of collectors. Motion or activity keeps us interested and having fun.

Just when I thought I had reached my most disciplined state as a collector and I was out, they pulled me back in! I traded one thing here and another thing there. Suddenly, I looked at my collection differently and had this desire to blow it up. Not literally, of course, but it was amazing how the loss of a couple of items changed my perspective so quickly. Now, my collection wasn't the same anymore and I wanted to take its evolution further. It didn't mean I wanted to change everything. I just wanted to give it a substantial makeover.

So, in the end, I did not practice what I preached. I succumbed to my nature to some degree. My guess is that I am not alone in this struggle. Now, all I can do is try to stay disciplined inside the confines of a new collecting theme, but we will see how long that lasts.

Never get cheated,

Joe Orlando

CEO, Collectors Universe

President, PSA & PSA/DNA