We as humans have an innate desire to seek out and obtain items that we believe to be rare and worthwhile. Sometimes those items carry cultural significance, like gold and art. Yet, oftentimes the items we collect, like Pokemon cards and sports memorabilia, hold significance to much smaller groups of people.
Regardless of how refined your tastes may be, satisfying the itch to collect has become big business. In fact, it’s estimated that the collectibles market is worth nearly $400 billion USD. Add to that the explosion of popularity for digital collectibles like NFTs, and it’s not hard to imagine that the world will soon be spending hundreds of billions more.
We can gain an understanding of what’s driving our urge to collect scarce and valuable items by looking at it through the lens of basic human survival: Our civilizations have largely been populated for millennia by people who worked day in and day out just so that they could have a roof over their heads and food on their tables. It’s understandable then that those same workers would want to exchange any excess earnings or resources for a collectible or other good that would retain its value (i.e., purchasing power) over a long period of time.