BY Alexis Deleon-Giron & Maxime Cadotte

“For me, collecting is a way to celebrate an artist or a particular craft that resonates with me,” says Daniel Zabek.

Zabek is a collector. And he’s amassing a collection of collections.

“To this day, I own over 300 vinyls including those from Frank Ocean, Drake, Bruno Mars, and more. Also, Adidas sneakers, Jordans as well as Yeezys. Plus, an assortment of spirits such as vodkas, whiskeys and gins,” says Zabek.

From a four-shelf bookcase stocked with vinyl albums to a closet overfilled with fashionable footwear and male celebrity signature outfits, like J Balvin’s, Zabek is always on the lookout for the latest releases.

A collection of Yeezy shoes

Four pairs of Daniel Zabek’s favorite Yeezys from his shoe collection. Photo by Alexis Deleon-Giron.

His interest in spirit bottle collecting only began in summer 2020, during the pandemic.

“A year ago, I started a new well-paying job that allowed me to expand my collector’s horizons, which led me to fine spirits,” says Zabek. “With Coronavirus around, I wasn’t going to concerts anymore, traveling, or eating out. So, I saved my money and invested it in new luxury items.”

His at-home minibar was about to receive a lavish makeover.

A bottle of vodka shaped like a skull

A Crystal Head Vodka bottle from Daniel Zabek’s collection of spirits. Photo by Alexis Deleon-Giron.

Zabek began buying bottles such as Hennessy V.S.O.P and Château De Cognac D’Ussé V.S.O.P as well as special edition bottles like Drake’s Virginia Black Whiskey, Ryan Reynolds’ Aviation Dry Gin, and Johnnie Walker’s Game of Thrones A Song of Fire Blended Scotch.

“I buy, not because I finish a bottle in one day or in a week, but because I want to know the taste, the smell, and see what it’s all about,” says Zabek. “I always go for bottles that interest me because the overall theme of my collecting habits is whatever interests me to expand my knowledge.”

Quarterly Sales SAQ

The Société des alcools du Québec (SAQ)’s revenue depicted by their second quarterly sales report from 2020-2021. Media by Alexis Deleon-Giron.

Zabek isn’t the only one who has taken up collecting. Tony Fasciano has seen a lot of action on his website, Fast Car Bids.

“I expected the cars with the lower price tags, those that car enthusiasts love, to go. However, it’s the expensive ones that have sold the most so far,” he says.

With more money in their pockets, people are able to spend it on different luxuries, according to psychologist Dr. Bilal Issa.

“We can see that, during this pandemic, individuals have been engaging in all types of spending in order to metaphorically escape the fears and worries brought about by this crisis,” Issa says.

He explains that acquiring desired goods, whether someone is a collector or not, triggers a psychological phenomenon called temporary satisfaction.

“The reality is that we do live in a materialistic society and, therefore, using objects, often paired with impulsive buying as an avenue to provide internal satisfaction, is a normalized concept in human behavior,” says Issa.

Compulsive buying, mixed with emotional distress, can become a pathological issue if not proactively regulated to ensure that the behavior does not dominate one’s actions and drive someone to financial ruin.

“2017 was also a rough year for me because I would constantly blow my paychecks on unnecessary materialistic junk, which wasn’t a series of great decisions,” said Zabek. “I was a different person then, not very mature, trying to fill some kind of emotional void. Eventually, I had a wake-up call.”

“Now, if I buy a product, it’s because I will take pride in it and it will fit my collection or I know that I can resell it later for more,” he says.

A collection of vinyl records from a Montreal collector

Records from Daniel Zabek’s collection. Photo by Alexis Deleon-Giron.

Pursuing one’s passion for collecting during a pandemic may seem unwise from a financial standpoint but, in some cases, it can pay off.

“I think investing in unique antique cars will always be a viable financial option,” says Fasciano. “Moving forward, classic cars can only become rarer and you cannot really lose money on them unless you pay way too much for one, which, in that case, just hold it and with time you will get that investment back and more.”

Fasciano is a passionate car enthusiast who introduced the first Canadian vehicle auction website that provides customers the opportunity to buy and sell cars strictly within Canada.

“We’re not a wholesale auction company, like ADESA or TradeRev, that caters to car dealers,” says Fasciano. “Of course, dealers are welcomed on our site and there are many, in fact, who stock and bid on cars with us but we’re mainly there for enthusiasts and everyday drivers.”

Fast Car Bids was launched in early March 2021.

With limited social interactions and collectors forced to rely on the internet for their purchases, the risk of encountering counterfeit products rises.

The Fear of Counterfeits is on the rise. Video by Maxime Cadotte.

“I believe that the pandemic has substantially helped kickstart Fast Car Bids, especially since it is a safe way to purchase a car without being in direct contact with other people,” says Fasciano.

Fasciano is convinced that Coronavirus has increased traffic on his new website because of the country’s lockdown measures and no need to travel between provinces for in-person auctions.

So far, a 2004 Bentley Arnage and an Aston Martin have been sold on Fast Car Bids, and the site has held listings for a 1968 Vanden Plas Princess, 2001 Porsche 911 Turbo, and a 2014 Jaguar XJ.

A collection of miniature vintage cars from a Montreal collector

A series of miniature vintage cars. Photo by Maxime Cadotte.

“I feel like the market of car collecting has increased because of the pandemic. I was looking into online car auction sales from the major car auctions and they have highly improved over the pandemic,” says Fasciano.

ZoomInfo, the business database website, states that ADESA went from $1.9 billion in sales in the last quarter of 2020 to $3.1 billion in the first quarter of 2021. Similarly, ZoomInfo depicts TradeRev’s revenue increasing from $31.5 M to $111.5 M between its second and third 2020 quarterly reports.

Fasciano is certain that the popularity of his website will not diminish once in-person activities will be allowed because the pandemic will have provided online auctions their chance to shine.

“I would say that when collecting, keep in mind that no one is going to do this for you so only treat yourself when you have worked hard for it and you have a clear end goal for your collectables,” says Zabek.

Main photo by Alexis Deleon-Giron.
Published June 2, 2021.