Collections come in all shapes and sizes. Some focus on a particular subject, artist or community, while others are more eclectic in their approach. The better collections are built by those who have put in the effort to learn about the art form. My best advice before purchasing would be to visit as many museums and galleries as possible and to return frequently. The more you see, the better you get at figuring out what you like and learning “who’s who”. Learn why the names are important and, before buying, ask yourself, “Is this a good example of the artist’s work, or am I paying a premium for an important signature on an otherwise unremarkable work?” Don’t be afraid to ask questions in galleries. Dealers should be willing to spend time with you and to talk to you about the works they have in their inventory. Asking questions is a great way to determine whether you are comfortable with and/or appreciated by the gallery. You will want to ally yourself with a few good dealers. This is particularly important since good galleries are happy to work with serious collectors, who often offload earlier purchases to upgrade as the learning curve increases.