Collecting Antiques in the Modern Age by James Hoare of The Proper Ornaments

Post Author: James Hoare

eBay is taking over my life.

I’m not claiming this to be a life threatening condition or indeed inviting any kind of sympathy at all. I play in a couple of bands and have no day job. Unless I’m on tour, I have some time on my hands. In a pre-Internet world I’d like to think we were all reading and taking walks along the beach. I think it could have been a more productive time.

Since I was very young, I have obsessively been collecting many things. Dead dragonflies, rounded bits of glass from the beach, records, Scalextric cars, catalog guitars, etc.
I used to scour free ads papers looking for vintage amplifiers, attend as many car boot/garage sales and junk markets as I could. My interests were kept under control due to the availability of these items, growing up in the countryside in 90s.

Fast forward a few years, into the modern age and the story changes. eBay enters the collective consciousness. At first, it was just records. Things I had never been able to find, or even knew existed were suddenly available. It was incredibly exciting. Then slowly over the years I branched out into different categories.

I have never used Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. so I used to tell myself it was okay to spend my time in this way. Other people were probably taking photos of their breakfast or their cats. I was just doing something else.

Then before I knew it I was watching 150 items at a time, structuring my days around important (possible/impossible) bids. Searching obsessively for things I had previously little or no interest in. I found the only way out was to sell the treasured items that I was constantly searching for. The Vox amplifiers, the corduroy jackets, the photos of WW2 aircrafts.

If you have an addictive personality, be careful. Before you know it, you’re bidding on a pair of Buddy Holly’s (genuine) swimming trunks and buying a fifth backup copy of the White Album when you could walking along that beach or re-reading a F. Scott Fitzgerald novel.

There are better things to do in life than look at a computer screen.

The Proper Ornament’s Wooden Head is out now on Slumberland Records.