Priorities change when you become a collector PDF E-mail

Collectors, hobbyists and sportsmen draw lots of criticism for the amount of money they spend fulfilling their passions. Whether that passion is for classic automobiles, coins, sports equipment or antique furniture, critics marvel at the high dollars an enthusiast is willing to spend.

The car action that drew more than 10,000 spectators to Pierce, Neb., was a fine example of those deep-pocket buyers. A 1958 Chevrolet pickup with 1.3 original miles sold for $140,000 and even had the New Hampshire buyer wondering why he spent that much money. If he’s wondering can you imagine what his wife might say? I would guess he could soften her criticism if he would point out a Mercedes-Benz pedigree race car sold at auction a year earlier for $29.6 million.

Around the conservative Midwest here, few local car enthusiasts go above the five-figure mark when buying a collector car. That dollar limit saves a lot of explaining to their better halves and keeps the homefronts fairly peaceful.

Guns, golf clubs and fishing gear comprise the items that seem to suck that extra money out of Midwest pockets. Those easy-spend items are ones that draw little trouble at home, particularly if your better half also plays golf, hunts or fishes. That must be the reason why I made the effort to interest my better half in fishing.

The only drawback to our joint fishing effort is the fact if I purchase gear it’s ditto for her, too. It also doesn’t mean doubling the fishing expenses necessarily doubles the fun, or the catch. On the plus side, it was an easy sell several years ago to convince the better half we needed to trade the old fishing boat with bench seats for a newer boat with cushioned seats and a windshield. In later years it was easier to buy an electronic fish finder, an electric trolling motor and a newer boat lift. My easiest expenditure to explain to her was the need for an electric fillet knife guaranteeing I would clean all fish if she would cook ‘em.

I always had trouble understanding why a golfer needed a couple of sets of golf clubs and a golf cart if he was playing the sport for exercise. A golfer cleared up my puzzlement by asking the simple question: “Why do you need three or four fishing poles and a boat when you can use only one pole at a time and could fish from a river bank?”

Priorities change too when you become a collector, hobbyist or sportsman. I recall visiting with a Minnesota bait shop owner who had been in business for at least four decades. I had forgotten and gone to her shop without my money clip and had only a credit card and a check. She told me she would not accept credit cards but would take my check even though it was an out-of-state check. As I made out the check I was puzzled and asked: “Why would you accept my out-of-state check instead of the credit card?”

She said she had received only three bad checks in 40 years in business and found credit card company fees too expensive. Then she continued by saying, “You know people who fish will want to have good credit with me even though they might proceed to bounce a check when paying their rent or making a car payment.”

That statement tells us something of the power of a hobby.

RL Furse  is publisher emeritus of the News-Register

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