Thursday, February 16, 2012

A Serious Hobbyist

I don’t know what’s been going on the past couple of days, but I am dead tired. I thought I was getting enough bedtime, my work schedule hasn’t been too crazy, and I haven’t felt sick otherwise. Every time I sit in my big comfy office chair, though, I’m out in 15 minutes.

I suspect it’s simply become a habit. An annoying, time-sucking one.

Another annoyance this week: I lost another pair of auctions for Breyer reference materials. It wasn’t a surprise, really. It’s becoming increasingly obvious that I’m being priced out of the online market. A scarce (but not unique) pricelist I needed - a two page, double-sided pricelist - went for more money this week than the 1960/1 Dealer’s Catalog I bought not that many years ago.

As I’ve said before, there are some things I need to research, and there’s no other way to do it other than having access to the original source materials. And if I want access, I have to buy them. It’s not like I can go to the nearest university library and review them at my leisure.

I’m having way too many issues with clarity, color drift, conservation issues, etc. to want to deal with copies anymore, except in the rare instances where the source may be unique, or nearly so. I’m also having a few issues with the prices some people want to charge for said copies. ($25 per page? Are you nuts?)

If nothing else, I consider myself a serious hobbyist, and a serious collector of Breyer ephemera. But has anyone else noticed a subtle shift in the usage of that term in the hobby, recently? It’s become the accepted euphemism for "someone willing to spend a lot of money for something."

As you might have guessed, I’m not real keen on that particular definition. I’ve written nearly 400 blog posts, several articles for JAH, self-published a book on restoration, and composed and printed nearly 20 annual issues of my Sampler. But I am of limited means, financially, so I guess that means I cannot be serious.

I have another euphemism to share with you about how I feel about that line of thinking: poppycock. (Pay particular attention not just to the definition, but the origin of the word. It would be NSFW, if it was not so polite, itself.)

If anything, I thought the opposite was true: serious folks, regardless of their calling, soldier on in spite of a lack of resources. Even though you get beaten, again and again, by people with superior resources (i.e. money).

I’ve met way too many people who come into a hobby (not just ours), throwing money left and right, who then leave a few years later, almost as suddenly as they arrived. Personally, I have a hard time finding those kinds of hobbyists truly serious, even if their money is.

I keep hoping that the market will eventually get saturated enough that everyone willing to buy in at that price point, but it quite obviously hasn't happened yet. I’m fearful that it’s only going to get worse, when Reeves starts sending out those "copies from the archives" they’ve promised as extras to Vintage Club members.

Which I should be happy about, because that means more people are interested in what I am interested in, and who doesn't love that kind of vindication?

I suppose I’ll have to soldier on, as I have been.

Speaking of soldiers, is that the box for my Glossy War Horse, sitting in the foyer? Squee!

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