Do you have a library?

Photo of Jay Walker’s Library by Andrew Moore

Do you have a private library in your home?  Jay Walker does.  His library is stocked not only with interesting books, but also pieces of memorabilia from around the world.  The most interesting thing about this library is that while he may have a few rare books, his collection is not made up of first editions like many collectors.  His library is stocked with books that have either historical or educational significance, like Robert Hooke’s Micrographia, which was published in 1665 and was the first book to contain illustrations made possible by the use of the microscope.

Walker’s collection also features items like an original Sputnik 1 satellite that the Russians used as a backup, a chandelier used in the James Bond movie “Die Another Day”, and the original Thing hand used in the Addams family which is signed by the entire cast.

Walker had his home built entire around the library in order to accomodate his collection perfectly.  If you’d like to see more of this library and read about his collection, please visit this site.

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$12 Million Stuffed Shark?

Damien Hirst’s  shark suspended in formaldehyde.

People collect many different types of things.  I have never really been a collector, but living with someone who has many types of collections is exciting to me.  I never really thought about starting a collection when I was young, even though I’m sure there were many things I was interested in at the time.  My partner, however, began with hockey cards, books and cowboy figures and has gone on from there.  I like the fact that every so often, he starts a new collection, and even though sometimes it is just a gathering of objects that he’d once collected when he was young, often it is something new that has caught his eye and he begins a new quest to find more.

People think that collecting can be expensive, but of course, with the ease of Ebay, the world is now open to everyone.  You don’t have to wait for something to come up at an expensive auction house or sift through boxes at yard sales every Saturday morning. You can now just pop online and type in the object you are looking for and place a bid, if it is to your liking.  There is something for everyone, with every budget and every taste.

In case you are interested in collecting, we have some great books here at the library to help you sort out what might be worth something and what is actually just junk.  Try one of these:

Antiques Roadshow Collectibles by Carol Prisant

Collector’s Guide to Buying, Selling and Trading on the Internet by Nancy L. Hix

A lot of wealthy people collect art because not only is it nice to look at, but it usually becomes more valuable as time goes on, especially if you buy something from an artist that later becomes popular.  But what is valuable art anyway?  We’ve all seen the giant spider sculpture outside the National Art Gallery of Canada in Ottawa.  Is this really great art?  You can be the judge.

Maman  by Louise Bourgeois

I started thinking today about collecting and art when I read an article about a book by Don Thompson called “The $12 Million Stuffed Shark” about an American billionaire who purchased this stuffed shark by artist Damien Hirst in 2004.  The article questioned why someone would spend $12 million dollars on an enormous stuffed shark suspended in formaldehyde?  I have no idea either.  You can read an interesting article about this book here. And if you want to know more about the artist and this work, along with other questionable art, you can visit this article.

What do you collect?