Q and A with Gary Cypres Part IV: ‘Given my druthers, I’d rather be playing down here’ in the museum than working upstairs

The Gary Cypres Q&A continues:

i-344b3e084acdssss2175628-sportsmuseum3Q: You’ve spend your time on your collection, but you also have a business, and a family, and a life. How do you divide time to what you want to focus on?
Given my druthers, I’d rather be playing down here (laughing).
Q: It is a huge playground.
This is a wonderful man cave – probably the biggest man cave around. Given my age, it’s hard to realize that I should have retired at 55. This is a time when my kids are grown, my wife collects contemporary art – and I do to – and she has no interest in sports or in any of my collection. That’s good. It leaves me to myself. My two boys, 22 and 24, I took them to all the sports shows since they were 5 and 6 and they know all the dealers. We’ll be in Chicago the end of the month for the national sports show. There’s a social part to this. The reality is, as a collector, there’s some who want to open it up and share it ,and there are some who personally want to get their satisfaction just from owning it. I’m in that first category. I love to have it, perfectly happy to come in every morning, walk around here, say hello to all my old friends, I remember 25 years when I bought this piece, and that piece, and dwell on the fact it can’t be 25 years because that’s impossible, so that’s the thing.
From a collecting point of view, the fun is always in the chase. Anyone who’s serious will tell you – it’s what’s coming tomorrow. That’s one of the problems if you stop collecting. It’s that joy that really isn’t money driven. It’s the objects. Seeing new stuff. That’s why I like to buy and sell to reinvest, to keep active.

Q: Does the thrill of the chase get watered down by having things easier to come across on the Internet?
No, it just gives you a bigger playground to play in. The Internet has been wonderful for the hobby – and the best stuff doesn’t come up on the Internet. Let’s face it. Go to eBay and do an advanced search and see how many bids are on just on item, it’s almost always a card. Not the kind we have. Today, anything good, it’s at an auction house getting an appraisal. That mystery is gone.
Collecting anything is wonderful. If it wasn’t sports memorabilia, it would be folk art. Collecting is in my genes. You don’t someday discover it, you have it or you don’t. You get excited about collecting or you don’t.

Q: Do you have any bittersweet feelings about seeing an athlete putting his things up for auction. It’s great probably for you to have access to it, but in another way, do you wonder why the players are in a position to have to do this?
You hate to make broad judgments on these things, but I’m not sure what drives them. I’m sure they’re different. Once, Joe DiMaggio’s family sold a  bunch of things, I was euphoric that I was able to buy many of the great items that will never come up again, but I was also sad. It seemed to me these things belonged in the family history. On the other hand, they needed the money, so I understood they did what they had to do. It’s priorities. This is probably pretty low on the priority of most people. Collectors tend to forget that reality that most people have the choice of eating or going to college. Collectors don’t look at the world the same way and most collectors aren’t in that same economic position where they have to make these choices.

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