Collecting Artwork in the 21st Century


Once upon a time, collecting artwork was the province of the plutocrat. Huge portraits adorned the walls of nobles while everyone else was left in the dust, but no longer. Art collecting is a hobby for everyone now – everyone, at least, with a little creativity.

The definition of “art collectibles” is a little fuzzy. Is the UK’s David Morgan, who owns the world’s largest collection of traffic cones (with representation from two-thirds of all types ever made), an art collector? Is Antonia Kozakova, with her 62,500 napkins? As the definition of art has blurred over the years and as people have gained more disposable income, becoming a collector has become easier.

On the low end, postcards are a fantastic way to start, and depending on how you procure them could also encourage you to see more of the world. They allow you to see not only different countries’ most beautiful locations but also their different art styles. A related collectible is travel tickets, whether train, plane or bus, to remind you where you’ve been and how you got there.

More typical art collectibles could be designer rugs, ornaments from a certain time period, limited edition figurines or prints of paintings. Generally, art collectors focus in on particular themes and/or artists. These themes can be very specific – like American tin cans from the 1940s – or fairly broad, like UK modern art.

The Internet is a very valuable resource that previous generations of collectors were unlucky not to have. On Ebay you can find millions of products, many of which you never knew existed, for good prices, and somewhere in there are likely to be your preferred type of collectibles. Other places you can look for products low on price but high on sentimental value are car boot sales, second-hand shops and charity shops.

Art collecting, in the end, is what you make of it. If travel is important to you, collecting tickets could be a good idea, whereas if music is your thing you might prefer to collect CDs. It’s ultimately a personal decision, and one that, done responsibly, can bring a lot of joy. Good luck!


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