How-to: Collecting

The blue-blooded set has long amused itself with some of the silliest pastimes there are. Johnson & Johnson heir Jamie Johnson’s father told him, with regard to what he ought to do with his life post-college, “Well… you could always collect antique maps.”

That father is, according to inter-web research, “James Loring Johnson, who leads a quiet life of reading and painting landscapes.”

Eccentric hobbies and collections of staggering triviality taken up by well-bred patricians proclaim their adherents’ station by their frivolity: I am sufficiently wealthy as to not have to care about life’s hassles; that I spend my time collecting English sextants implies I am not required to spend my time doing anything else, like earning money or paying bills.

The more esoteric the hobby or assemblage, the better. Collecting baseball cards can be fun but it’s not very impressive, because it’s common and cheap to do. Better a trove of briarwood pipes or French birding manuals. In a pinch, antique horse bridles will suffice.

The more trivial the things collected or the hobby engaged in, and the more expensive and difficult to collect or undertake, the better.

Editor’s note: collections and activities having to do, in some degree or other, with birds, dogs, horses, sailing, maps, tweed, the original American colonies, old books, geneology, or things which are British are best. Aim for one of those, or combine them all: your editorial staff, for example, collects British genelogy books which trace the bloodlines of labradors from the Plymouth Bay colony to modern day. The books come with maps and are bound in tweed.

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