collectors collect to collect (because the collector wants what the collector wants)

Es­ti­mated reading time is 3 min­utes.

FOR THOSE OF YOU with an in­terest in col­lecting, the Record Col­lec­tors Guild web­site is a forum ti­tled Ask Neal Umphred. Anyone can ask me any­thing and as I am often an ab­sentee land­lord, others may an­swer the ques­tion in my stead. A few days ago, I was asked a ques­tion by a Guild member who wheels and deals records out of Mexico:

“Neal, could you ex­plain why anyone would want a ‘rare’ Mex­ican pressing of a less-than-mediocre Dylan record? The US pressing is likely to be the best-sounding copy anyway, and it’s a pretty murky recording. What’s the point?”

A le­git­i­mate ques­tion to anyone not af­flicted (in­fected?) with the col­lecting bug (col­lec­toritis?) Here is the an­swer that I just posted: 

“It’s like the ab­surd but un­der­stand­able ex­pla­na­tion about who loves whom: The heart wants what the heart wants.

Ex­cept here it’s Col­lec­tors col­lect to col­lect.

Col­lec­tors do NOT col­lect odd vari­a­tions to listen and judge. That’s for those poor folks cursed with the rare GES (Golden Ear Syndrome).

Did I just coin a phrase?!? Two phrases? Hecka­rootie (did Little Richard say that?), I’m putting those two on my web­site and claim them!”

So, here I am posting the above to lay claim to having just coined the phrase, Col­lec­tors col­lect to col­lect as an ex­pla­na­tion for why someone seeks de­cid­edly odd­ball and even un­ques­tion­ably in­fe­rior ver­sions of records/items that he al­ready owns.

GoldenEars teeshirt 500

Golden ear syndrome

The second is GES, or Golden Ear Syn­drome, for those poor folks we call au­dio­philes who hear things so much better than most of us that they pay ab­surd sums for in­cred­ibly mediocre records be­cause they were recorded, pro­duced, en­gi­neered, mas­tered, and pressed so well that they hear dif­fer­ences that es­cape mere mortals.

The closest thing to my non-existent (like in ‘made up’) dis­ease, golden ear syn­drome (GES), is Gold­enhar Syn­drome, also known as Oculo-Auriculo-Vertebral syndrome.

Gold­enhar Syn­drome is a con­gen­ital birth de­fect which in­volves de­for­mi­ties of the face. It usu­ally af­fects one side of the face only. Char­ac­ter­is­tics in­clude: a par­tially formed or to­tally ab­sent ear (mi­crotia); the chin may be closer to the af­fected ear; one corner of the mouth may be higher than the other; be­nign growths of the eye; and a missing eye.” (Faces)

As neat as it would be if gold­enhar was some Netherlandian-speak for ‘golden ear,’ alas it is not: it is named after Mau­rice Gold­enhar who ini­tially de­scribed the syn­drome in 1952

There was nothing on the first four pages of Google that had any­thing close to Col­lec­tors col­lect to col­lect. Here is the best that I could find: “If your debt goes to col­lec­tion, for the most part the debt col­lector can em­ploy all of the col­lec­tion methods avail­able to the orig­inal cred­itor.” And that was from a legal ad­vice site!

Fi­nally, col­lec­toritis is all over the place—from aquatic planted aquar­iums to var­ious collector-oriented sites using it as I would use it. And, be­lieve it or not, Hecka­rootie was the handle of some blogger on Tumblr who seems to have left the world­wide web without ex­pla­na­tion. So, I cannot crow tri­umph on ei­ther of these

But “Col­lec­tors col­lect to col­lect” and “Golden Ear Syn­drome” may be phrases new under the sun as I have coined them so they are mine mine mine—but you can use them any time you like . . .


GoldenEarsPark 750

FEATURED IMAGE: The photo at the top of this page is of Alou­ette Lake in Golden Ears Provin­cial Park in British Co­lumbia, Canada.




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Hey Neal,

I went to the Record Col­lec­tors Guild web­site this morning, and the whole thing has changed!!!! The only way to ac­cess the forum is via Google, and it has nothing newer than late Oc­tober. Plus, I can’t log in.

Any idea what’s going on? There is no way to con­tact anybody.

Same problem here. It doesn’t rec­og­nize my user­name or pass­word ei­ther. Also, the forum posts only go up to late Oc­tober. The last two or three weeks are missing.

Strange and sad. But, thanks for the update.

Just a follow up……I found a way to email them to ask what’s up. No re­sponse. I fear the RCG has passed on with nary a chance to bid farewell.

I’m hoping the others there will re­member your blog and maybe check in from time to time (not to men­tion come by to read your posts….music and comic books have al­ways been the per­fect combo for me).

You’re cor­rect that the traffic there had died off quite a bit com­pared to, say, a year ago…..but there were still a few people (“Rooster” comes to mind) who kept posting some neat discog­raphy info from time to time. A guy named “Hei­dler” also posted lots of in­ter­esting sto­ries as well, but he seemed to move on a while back as well.

Having said that, I guess you’re right. It may have been on the way out, but I’m gonna miss checking in there to see what popped up.

Ei­ther way, I’m a’gonna keep checking out your blog, so don’t go anywhere.

As for being up early….this is early?

Anyway, thanks for the info.


5 am….is way too early for me to fathom.

As for your other com­ments, you made some ex­cel­lent points. I have read else­where that a lot of Amer­ican rar­i­ties are making their way to Japan, both via the postal system and from buyers ac­tu­ally coming to the States to shop. Having typed that, I can’t re­member where I read it, so hope­fully my memory is cor­rect. Are Eu­ro­peans also doing the same thing?

I’m not sure what’s hap­pened in the States with col­lec­tors. When I first started get­ting into se­rious col­lecting 30 years ago (now I’m de­pressed re­al­izing it’s been that long and I’m that old), I re­member being blown away when I dis­cov­ered that Gold­mine mag­a­zine ex­isted. It used to be a tremen­dous mag­a­zine, but times have changed. Dis­cov­eries was a good one as well from what I recall.

Speaking as someone who re­ally doesn’t know what he’s talking about…..could it be that the style of col­lecting in the States has changed? Maybe the ma­jority of col­lec­tors here are younger buyers who tend to focus on the new re­leases (both of old and new ma­te­rial) and not so much on orig­inal pressings. 

I dunno…either way, your in­sights are appreciated.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x