In Seattle, it was once fashionable to collect glass art. Art mavens talked about their Chihulys, Ginny Ruffners, Dante Marionis, and Joey and Floras.
My wife and I collected glass. When asked, I acknowledged that we had over 100 pieces. "My wife is addicted," I explained. "She can't stop acquiring glass. However, I can't complain since almost everything she bought is now worth five times what she paid for it."
This was all true. Years ago my wife amassed over 100 glass telephone pole insulators. Each costs less than a dollar. Today insulator collecting has become a hobby for those who do not know any better. There are insulator collector clubs and swap meets. While not yet fetching the price of American modernist painting, I estimate that our collection in now worth over $500. Such are the joys of the avant-garde glass collector.
Even with over 100 pieces, I worry that a glass collection no longer confers instant status. That's why I have moved on. I now collect Higgs bosons.
"There is nothing new or exciting in glass," I explain. "Higgs bosons are now the cutting edge for a serious art collector. They are my new passion."
"Don' they have something to do with physics?" I am often asked.
"Everything -- painting, sculpture, glass, you name it -- has something to do with physics," I answer. I then explain that Higgs bosons are quite rare and very beautiful. "I have about 95, probably the largest collections in the United State although a couple of Swiss collectors have more," I humbly reveal. "Over half of my collection are from La Belle Époque. Certainly in quantity, and probably in quality, mine is the premier collection Higgs bosons from that era.
Other art collectors ask for the name of my Higgs boson dealer. "There are no dealers and there is no market," I answer. "There are none for sale. I get mine directly from Emile Boson and Sir Percival Higgs. They are both good friends. "
We are undecided whether to leave our Higgs boson collection to a museum or our children.