Monday, December 05, 2005

"Collecting in a Consumer Society"

I recently came across an interesting and little known little book on collecting stamps... and other things as well.

Collecting in a Consumer Society (2001, 216 pgs) provides a fascinating look at the history and collecting behavior of both individuals and institutions and why they collect what they do.

Author Russell Belk, a professor of Business Administration at the University of Utah says collecting has been transformed from a prerogative of the elite few to an activity which is both attractive and feasible to the population at-large.

Among the many references to stamp collecting and collectors are...
  • "Nearly 10 percent of American men report collecting coins and about 4 percent of both men and women currently collect stamps."
  • "40 percent of U.S. stamps currently sold are bought by collectors and dealers and never circulate."
  • "A used postage stamp is to a man what a bone without flesh is to a dog."
The book is not cheap. $135 for a hardback, $34 for the newer softback edition.

But you can search through it for nothing by using's nifty "Search Inside" feature by clicking here.

Also, while we're on the topic of collecting: Click here for a humorous look at one woman's 'fetish for collecting' that appeared in the Washington Post.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 PM