What inspires these collections? Collecting combines the ratlike pleasure of compulsive acquisition with the godlike pleasure of presiding over one’s own little world; and, to a certain extent, the enjoyment of expanding and organizing this world has little to do with the particular objects one collects. Some convention-goers’ interest in postcards seemed to be limited to the opportunity it gave them to hunt and categorize. They collected cards according to certain narrow themes, which they pursued single-mindedly: postcards of Ithaca, N.Y.; clowns; animals; general stores; early 20th-century strongmen; people dressed as fruit. One seller claimed he’d met a man who collected only postcards of left-handed harpists.