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Pathological Collectibles

Pathological Collectibles

(p.51) 2 Pathological Collectibles
The Hoarders
Scott Herring
University of Chicago Press

This chapter considers the cultural role that collectibles and their deviations play in the historical development of hoarding as a mental illness. It notes that scientists often refer to hoarding as pathological or abnormal collecting, and it argues that the modern activity of normal collecting contributed to this diagnostic. To do so the chapter first presents a brief history of antiques and collectibles in America and it details how inexpensive price guides by individuals such as Ralph and Terry Kovel promoted interest in this activity. Turning to Andy Warhol and his many collectibles, the chapter then traces how fears of hoarding upset this leisure activity of ordinary collecting. It uses Warhol’s belongings to confirm this cultural history by looking at Sotheby’s 1987 auction of his collectibles and then his Time Capsules, containers filled with thousands of his personal effects archived at The Andy Warhol Museum.

Keywords:   hoarding, mental illness, collecting, collectibles, antiques, Terry Kovel, Ralph Kovel, Andy Warhol

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