|In the mind|
Shirley M. Mueller, author of “The Neuropsychology of the Collector” (in Steven Satchell (ed.), Collectible Investments for the High Net Worth Investor. Editor Academic Press, 2009) has contributed a short text to Physician's Money Digest (May 05, 2016) on 'Uncontrolled Collecting: An Impulse Control Disorder?' This goes some way to explaining perhaps why it seems collectors are unable to profit from our attempts at reasoning and explanation of the issues concerning the no-questions-asked market. This is not an issue of rationality:
The modulator, the prefrontal cortex or executive brain, is no longer able to navigate between conflicting primitive emotions. It cannot draw a suitable conclusion. This is either because the prefrontal cortex itself is damaged or the drive to collect is so strong that it overpowers the expected function of the prefrontal cortex. Then, poor collecting decisions are made, and a whole new set of emotions erupt. These new feelings may or may not be on the part of the collector because his deficits may not allow him to understand his situation. [...] The need to acquire an object with little if any inhibition is considered by Donald W. Black, MD, and his colleagues from the University of Iowa to be an impulse control disorder. It is classified as one of the symptoms of a broader psychiatric abnormality, obsessive compulsive disorder. Compulsive shoppers fit in this category. Collectors who are unable to resist buying objects they covet seem also to be of the same variety.So there you have it, collecting can be considered a mental disorder. In fact most people do not collect, or if they do it's something innocuous and obvious like state quarters. Beyond that, it is an obsession.
Hat tip for this one: Donna Yates spotted it