As a lover of stuff and things, I find people like David France absolutely fascinating. For the past twenty years, from his home in America, he has patiently assembled one of the most comprehensive collections of soccer memorabilia in the world. The collection, which consists of some 10,000 items, details the early history of France's cherished club, Everton FC, as well as English football as a whole. The EPL Talk podcast has an interview with him here, and it's fascinating even if you could care less about the Toffees. France recently entrusted his massive collection to Everton (with stipulations being that it is never broken up and that the whole collection stays on Merseyside) and there is a beautiful site devoted to it here. (An Everton supporter's perspective here.)
France's collection began after he had relocated to the United States, when his mother shipped him a collection of his boyhood mementos from England. His account of his collecting days is charmingly straightforward--he pursued home and away programs and team ledgers soberly and almost dispassionately, as though he were running a business, though one without any ultimate goal, it seems.
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What compels the rest of us to collect or acquire or hoard compulsively? I'm eager to read this forthcoming book, which ventures into the psychology of obsessive compulsion to answer this question of why stuff offers us meaning. (I thought it was capitalism.) In the meantime, there's 20 Ltd, an edition-fetishist's dream.