Is it fine to collect replicas?


Many of us love to collect things – art, books, coins or even firearms. However, it is often is difficult to find that genuine article to add to our collections, simply because the item in question is so rare that the only examples are kept under lock and key in museums or other collections.

For many people it is the thrill of the chase in tracking down that missing painting or rare first edition of a particular book that is important. For others, it is the knowledge that no one else has that rare stamp in their collection. But searching out and then obtaining the desired item can be a very expensive and often fruitless activity, unless you have unlimited resources and time.


The alternatives, of course, are to collect replicas. To some avid collectors, that may sound like sacrilege, but there are occasions when in fact it is OK to collect replicas. Let’s take a look at a few scenarios.


Probably the number one reason to collect replicas is price. Very few of us have the money available to buy a genuine Picasso painting, but a replica can be very convincing at a fraction of the price of the real thing. Beauty, as they say, is in the eye of the beholder, and if your replica Picasso gives you the same feeling of enjoyment as the real thing, then why not?


Another reason for collecting replicas is the legal aspect. To give you an example, the legal requirements for holding a collection of working firearms can be very strict, but a collection of non-firing replicas presents very few of the problems and can be safely displayed in your own home without danger.


A third category for replica collecting is that of film memorabilia. It is obviously impossible to have a genuine R2D2 Star Wars robot in your home, but if you are an enthusiastic collector of everything associated with the movie series, then an R2D2 replica makes perfect sense. Perhaps a little impractical, of course, but just as impressive as the real thing.



Of course, if the object of your collecting heart’s desire is locked away in a museum, then you realistically only have the choice of obtaining a replica if you must have it in your collection.


And remember, just as you should be fastidious when collecting genuine items, you need to be careful when buying replicas. As with all things, even replicas have differing levels of quality, so be sure to check carefully before purchasing; otherwise, your collection could end up looking a little cheap and kitschy.


So, to answer the question posed, there are often good reasons when it’s fine to collect replicas.