So the collector is a dissembler, someone whose joy is never unalloyed with anxiety. Because there is always more. Or something better. You must have it because it is one step toward an ideal completing of your collection. But this ideal completion for which every collector hungers for is a delusive goal.
A complete set of something is not the completeness the collector craves. The entire production of some notable dead painter could conceivably, improbably, end up in someone’s palace or cellar or yacht. (Every last canvas? Could you, imperious acquirer, be sure there was not one more?) But even if you could be sure that you had every last item, the satisfaction of having it all would eventually, inevitably, decay. A complete collection is a dead collection. It has no posterity. After having built it, you would love it less each year. Before long, you would want to sell or donate it, and embark on a new chase.
The great collections are vast, not complete. Incomplete : motivated by the desire for completeness. There is always one more.
—The Volcano Lover, Susan Sontag, p. 72