Re: Advice on collecting
I am not a collector per-say of flies other than my own rather prolific works since beginning in the 60's with tying flies. With that said I believe each person who may become interested in collecting flies must decide whether they will pursue classics created by those tiers who are a part of fly tying history & lore (Gordon, Stevens, et al) or to seek out the creativity and concepts of our contemporary tying population.
Perhaps another consideration is how you want to value a collection. While the acquisition of scarce but authentic samplings left by the masters and creators of many well known styles & patterns may be expensive, those collections will to a certain extent retain their value, ie, the cost of acquisition.
If the sole intention is to collect beautiful creations for display purposes and not to become owner of rare and historic renditions, there are a profuse number of tiers today who's work may in fact exceed the artistic levels of the legendary tier's of days gone by. It will of course be more economically sustainable to go with modern works than to seek out the more rare and expensive.
Those are my thoughts and as stated I have no real experience with such collecting. I have however kept an eye peeled over the years for original works from tier's of historic interest and recall them as often quite costly.