In the early nineteenth century, many private, well-to-do persons collected rocks, minerals, fossils, insects, skeletons, animal skins, Indian artifacts, and so on, for their aesthetic appeal or mystical connotations. Their fragmentary and miscellaneous collections incited wonder and admiration in those privileged to see them while communicating a narrative of the prestige, esoteric knowledge, and adventurous spirit of the collector. Referring to aesthetic and mystical, rather than scientific criteria, collectors juxtaposed a seemingly incongruous hodge-podge of objects in their cabinets—armadillos and ostrich eggs, quartz crystals and rattlesnake rattles, for example. These collectors sought to celebrate the stability of their belief systems through the commonly understood marginality of the strange freaks and curiosities that sparked their imaginations. The rare, abnormal, bizarre, and the old were especially valued.