Do you collect things? I've never really been a collector. Well, I have amassed a collection of books and movies, but I don't so much consider that a collection. Those are things I have, and they aren't much of a set. I'm thinking more along the lines of something that you collect for the purpose of creating a collection. For example, rather than my random shelves of books, you might collect old books or books about Madagascar or photography books or cookbooks from the 1940's. Maybe you collect Russian Nesting Dolls or teddy bear figurines or stamps or coins. Whatever you might collect. Are you a collector?
I have always thought collections were cool, but I've never been one to have a collection. Mostly because I haven't found something specific that I want to collect. As a kid I had a stamp collection, but I'm not sure what ever happened to that. I also had a rock collection, which may still be in the closet of my childhood bedroom.
Collections can be expensive to keep, but I think if you are collecting something you love, they are absolutely worth it. I have seen many shelves and cabinets filled with various collectibles owned by friends and family, and it is clear that a lot of time and care was put into keeping these collections.
There are a lot of collectors who keep their collections in safes and safety deposit boxes. I suppose it makes sense for high value collections, like if you collect coins or jewelry, but at the same time, I'm the sort of person who would want to see and enjoy my collection, not just know that it's there. Just my opinion though.
Also, if you have a collection with any sort of value, be sure that you have it insured! Often, insurance policies require additional information to cover collections, or they are written such that valuable collections may not be covered. Be sure to check it out!
That said, the importance of collections is your enjoyment of them, not their value. Sure, some collections (like gold coins or diamond jewelry) will always hold some value, but just because you have a collectible doesn't mean it has value. Collections are worth what someone else will pay for them. I remember my mom telling me this during the Beanie Baby craze. Everyone wanted to get the latest and greatest Beanie Baby and people were paying ridiculous amounts and waiting in long lines to be sure that they got the newest toy. People kept talking about how valuable these collections were, and my mom said to me, "They're only worth what someone is willing to pay." That really put things into perspective, and I still think that way today.
Don't look at something for what it's worth in terms of money (except for insurance purposes, of course). Look at it in terms of the intrinsic value to you. Do you love it? Does your collection make you happy? That's where the value lies, not in what someone will pay you for it.