I have just finished reading the new book by magician Ricky Jay, entitled, Matthias Buchinger: "The Greatest German Living." The subject is an 18th century oddity-of-a-human-being who was also known as "The Little Man of Nuremberg." At just 27" tall, Buchinger was born with no hands and no feet. Despite these seeming limitations, he was able to not only lead a normal life with a wife(s) and kids, but Buchinger also performed extraordinary feats, including conjuring, making and playing instruments, bowling, and most astonishing of all, creating detailed pictures using tiny lettering and drawing, an art known as micrography. An excellent review of the book was written by the magician Teller for the New York Times.
As amazing and inspiring as it was to read about the life of this extraordinary man, Mr. Jay's book also provided a glimpse into the world of serious and obsessive collectors (in this case, of books, prints and ephemera related to Buchinger and magic ). These types of people are not to be taken lightly. As one of Steve Martin's characters put it in his novel, "An Object of Beauty," about art collectors, they are not in it simply for the aesthetics or monetary value of the object, "but because of the winding path that leads a collector to his prey."
I sympathize how picking up one or two curious objects may easily turn into an obsessive and endless quest for completion of a series. As my dear mother likes to put it, "One is a whim. Two is a collection." Cross that line at your own risk.