What makes a record collection "great"?

Many times over the years I've heard people describe someone as owning a "great" record collection. I own well over a 1000 LP's, many of which I would call great music, but no one has ever complimented me on having a great collection.

What differentiates a good or very good collection from a great one? Is it size, collectability/rareness, genre, original pressings vs. reissues, all, some or none of the above? I look forward to your input.
It must have the first 3 Lindisfarne albums AND Hawkwind's Space Ritual.
It's great if you think it's great.
all the above...anyone who is not a collector themselves, won't care or compliment.
>>05-27-09: Ncarv
It's great if you think it's great<<

Right on the money.
Well - I think you have a great collection.
I have somewhere around 7000 LPs on the shelves that I've accumulated over many years, but I refuse to call it a "collection." It's simply my music library for what makes me happy and what I want to have available to listen to and to share with others.

In seriousness, though, all the things you mention differentiate various accumulations of LPs. For me, a great collection is one that gives great personal enjoyment. For my record library, it's about having superb performances, breadth and depth of selection, and many items with excellent sonics. But, that's just what makes me happy and what I enjoy sharing with other music lovers when they can come over. For some collectors, it's about having every LP in a given label's catalog, or every different pressing of a particular recording, or every recording by a particular artist... The list of different ways to define one's collecting bug is endless.

If you have LPs that you enjoy playing over and over, and if it keeps you happy, I agree with Slipknot: "I think you have a great collection."
A "great" record collection, like a book collection, could include first editions of "classics" and limited editions. When I hold a first pressing of a "classic" record like an original Columbia "Kind of Blue" by Miles Davis or a rarity like the Beatles "Butcher" album, or a hard to find like a Nautilus lp edition of the Allman Brothers' "Live at the Fillmore East", than I feel I have handled history. Second editions, recent remastered reissues of classics are xerox-like copies of the original, good for listening, but not quite a "collectable". Whenever possible, get a first pressing of a "classic" or well regarded album because there's a reason why it is considered a "classic". Bottom line? Like everybody said, if you think it's great, it is great. (But it'd be greater if you have some "collectables".)
A 'great' collection isn't the same as a 'large' collection-for a collection to be 'great', it must be completest within it's own specific genre, including a historical perspective, and a large number of rare or unusual recordings. Let's look at, say, jazz. A great jazz collection would, by necessity, be a very large collection-tens of thousands, at least. However, a more specific 'Coltrane' collection, or 'Blue Note' collection, could still be great within it's specific subcategory, but require a library of far fewer recordings. Put another way, this guy http://superbizzee.blogspot.com/2009/05/ballad-of-record-rama.html who's been trying to sell his collection for years, supposedly has 3 million records, including 1 million lps. Without knowing the specific titles, all I can think of is that, in the long history of the lp, they put out millions of really, really crappy records.

just my opinion, of course. And for the record, I have a relatively 'large' collection, but nothing really 'great'-even though I 'greatly' enjoy it.
It's not the size that matters- it's how you use it.
It has your favorite albums
two things
first, if you think it is a great collection it is
second if it has what you want in it
Just like a library. A library will have within it "collections" that would be prized.
I have a large collection that is comprised of different genres. Depending on your tastes you may find that parts of my collection are "great". Some may find that jazz alongside country or psychedelia would make for a wierd, not great, collection. Collections within a collection, like a library.
Anyway, who cares if it's great if it pleases you, whetherit's 10LPs or 10,000LPs?!
A great record collection is the collection YOU enjoy listening to regardless of genre.
Dear Badboss429: I own thousands of LPs and from this point of view i can't say it is a great collection but I own around 300-350 LPs ( the other " thousands " are all full of " dust ". ) that when I hear any one I really enjoy the music.
These 300-350 ( maybe a little more ) are the ones that I usualy hear and from this point of view my LPs library is a great one.

When I hear/listen to these " great collection " LPs the only subject that exist is the music: no hardware, no VTA changes each side, no AZ changes, no ..., no..., etc, even no volume changes. These records are the ones that really " move " me.
In this " great collection " are different kind/genre of music and different kind of recordings: vintage, re-issues, audiophile ones, etc, etc.
These collection is " my music " is what I like and certainly is a great colletion only for me and no one else.

Till today in that collection are the Lp's that I want to have and till today I'm not looking for something special for that collection.
Of course that I don't know every recording out there and certainly there are several LPs that if I hear it ( for the first time ) some time will belong to my " great collection ".

+++++ " but no one has ever complimented me on having a great collection. " +++++

Badboss429 IMHO you don't need it. The best compliment about is the one that comes from your self!!!!

Regards and enjoy the music.
Who Cares? I buy music I like and I listen to it with no concern of anyone's opinion but mine. It's my sandbox, my rules.
Good question.
But like the others, it's what moves you that matters. Sometimes that same LP will have a profound effect on a friend, or young audiophile to-be.
I have about 1200 LPs.
There are a few gems which really do it for me and I tend to play certain records for a specific mood.
Classical: maybe my favorite Mozart Quartet, or Bach LP.
Jazz: could be Herb Ellis and Joe Pass on guitars. Or Coltrane, Miles.
Swing and dance: Bob Wills
Rock: Stones, Los Lobos, The Clash
But there are many others which lead me to and from the few which remain in circulation.
A great record is one that moves YOU.
The more records you have that move YOU the greater the collection.
I like Jwong thoughts about a great collection in book terms. I do not own many 1st pressings except those that I bought back in the day. Not sure my collection would classify as great. But it has a slant on music that is tailored to my taste and so as others has said that makes it great to me. Along with my USA pressings, i do have a handful of english, german and Japanese pressing that do sound very good as well as a small group of mofi/nautilus records. But what makes it special to me is the fact that i listen to them. I have a friend that has a collection of several hundred with many being 1st pressings or rarities. He has not owned a table in 15 years. (yeah such a crime). But his collection is worth far more money than mine because of his selections based on rarity and cover condition vs a musical theme. Whos collection is greatest. Mine of course:^)
It depends on the view
What is great?
A collection of reissues?
A collection from church Music 16th Century?
A collection from RCA Living Stereos? What stampers?
Great is normally rated from others, it is a definition how they like it or the thinking about it's price (now or in future).
Supply and demand
Private opinions are taste only. When I like my 15000$ Rap and Hip hop records (which I don't have) and my visitors start to cry when I do a demo, well, then I am alone with my "Great Collection". But for me it is still great.

Btw. same with Stereo systems and their owners...
or cars.... =)
My collection is great because it is special to me. Many of the titles take me back to junior high, my first crush, prom-night, first love, Sundays after church listening to my parents Big Band, Swing and Jazz collection before dinner. All the important times and memories of our life can likely be relived in some small way by hearing that "one" song or album whose music floods our senses with the sounds we remember. It allows us to experience again in the imagination those days gone by. Who can remember where they were the first time the heard Etta, Ella, Elvis, Janis, Jimmy, Bob (Dylan, Marley,) The Beach Boys, Carol King, Michael J. Etc. My collection spans the 40's-- late 1990's. Every important time of my life has several titles that I can reminisce with and I can find music for whatever mood I am in. It gives me a great amount of pleasure and puts a big smile on my face just thinking about it. A record collection that can do this for you is one that you can feel GREAT about!
I think a great record collection is one that covers generations and times (special and individual) and conversly brings them together. Closest thing we have to remember and feel both the good times and the bad with more than a passing thought. Being able to reach for that album that mirrors the mood or state one is in is as prescious as playing one to change the mood or forget the state we are in. Cheers..
Jwong hit it perfectly. When I hold my Miles Davis "kind of Blue" six eye promo or the first six Dylan mono's that I got from a guy who played them once-(Did I mention they were mint.) I'm reducing my average records over time and replacing them with 1st editions, hopefully mint condition, as I go. Great records with proper care and played carefully will last a lifetime. Plus there cool and you have the memories of the day you found and bought the great ones.
There are collections based on collectibility, and collections based on the aesthetic value. Perhaps this defines the difference between a library valued for the content (great performances, writing), and a collection valued for its rarity (a Gutenburg bible). Any modern bible has the same contents, but not the same provenance. Two different ways of judging value.
Hello and thanks to all that responded, I really appreciate the many thought provoking viewpoints expressed. Special thanks to Slipnot1 and Rushton, although I was not soliciting special recognition, it certainly is appreciated. Yes, my records are very special to me which bring countless hours of blissful joy to our household, so in this regard as many have suggested, I do have a great record collection!
I have to say that after collecting records on and off for almost 40 years, I beleive that the quality of the pressings is what makes a collection great. I have been lucky enough to collect hundreds of copies of great pressings from Tom Port and Better Records for 8 or 9 years. His material is fathoms above typical pressings one might stumble upon. He has to often "shoot out" dozens of copies to find a great one. I have yet to purge my collection of extra copies of records. You will fine 15 or 20 Copies of The Who's Tommy in my shelves, most of them are UK Track first or early pressings. This guarantees nothing... I thought I had a nice one but the one I got from Tom last year kicked them all in the butt. The same goes for most of my favorite records.
This thread reminded me of an old friend I used to have. The dude ran a small equipment/record store in Butler, PA. We'd go back to his (large) home and the man literally had records EVERYWHERE! Living room, dining room, den, garage...Thousands and thousands all over the place. Fact is, him and his wife are no longer married, wonder why!?;) Had many a great session at that ol' house (Morrison Spkrs, Dolan electronics, Mapleknoll turntable) and of course, boys being boys, we'd play/argue about our collections. Him with his gazillion LP's or me with my 1.5K albums and less than 1000 CD's (at the time). The button I ALWAYS was able to push to get a rise outta him was; "Your collections a lot bigger than mine, but my collections a lot better than yours". Y'know what? I STILL believe it!!