Couple Are Just Potty about Pottery; WE Brits Are Renowned for Getting Obsessed with Collections - So Why Do We Do It? Karen Wilson Speaks to a Local Expert and a Tyneside Collector to Find Out

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FOR some the idea of filling their home with resin pigs, miniature cottages or Disney figurines is their worst nightmare - but for others a collection is a hugely personal thing that brings enormous pleasure.

As head of retail at Collectables, John Marlor has seen a great deal of fanatical collectors over the years such as the lady who was so keen on Me to You bears that she had their logo tattooed on her leg.

Or there's the Lilliput Lane collector, who has collected every single model they've ever produced. "He collects by numbers and if it's a limited edition, always asks for number sevens," says John.

So why do they do it? John has his own quirky theory. "It seems to be mostly English-speaking people - Australians, British and American. All of these countries have never been invaded so we feel secure in building up collections of things. The feeling I get when I talk to the trade is that there isn't the same drive to collect on the continent."

The one exception to John's English-speaking theory is the Japanese. "They buy a lot of British-made stuff such as Wedgwood and Royal Crown Derby," says John. "There's also a big following of Beatrix Potter." But regardless of nationality, what all collectors share is a passion for their chosen collectable. "It's an emotional thing," says John. "Any collectable needs to make a difference to your life. It needs to make you feel good about yourself or because you're buying it for someone else."

John says many collectors spend as much money on their home displays as they do on the actual pieces themselves. "They take enormous pride in their collections with bespoke cabinets and special lights," he says, "and are constantly refreshing its appearance and its appeal."

At Collectables the most popular brands are Swarovski (especially its new Snow White & the Seven Dwarves model), Lilliput Lane and Pendelfin rabbits. …