Lots of people collect things as a hobby, and it’s in no way a weird thing to do. Unless that is, you take it to the extreme like the people on this list. Some people just don’t know when to stop and others, well, they really should have never started. I’m counting down the top 20 strangest collections in the world; prepare to be shocked, amused, and at points, totally disgusted.
20. Love dolls
It’s fairly uncommon for a person to have one love doll, but having 240 is almost unimaginable. But, Brit Bob Gibbins shares his home with his rubber women. Oh, and his extremely understanding wife, Lizzie.
Bob is known in the collector world as the Hugh Hefner of the love doll world and his small bungalow has been dubbed The Love Doll Mansion.
He says he loves to have afternoon tea with his fake girlfriends, and he also enjoys dressing them up for sexy photoshoots. What must the neighbors think!?
19. Toenail clippings
If you’re eating you may want to look away because this collection is pretty gross. Richard Gibson of Louisiana collects his toenail clippings and he’s been adding the nails to a jar since 1978. He keeps his prized possession on a shelf in his home, which I’m sure all his house guests must love.
His collection isn’t the largest of its kind though, there’s actually another one with a stomach-churning 30,000 clippings. Thankfully, this collection is for medical purposes and is being used in studies on prostate cancer.
18. Navel fluff
Don’t start eating again just yet; this one’s pretty yuck, too. Do you know that mysterious bellybutton fluff that sometimes appears? Well, Graham Barker collects it.
He’s careful to state that he only collects his own though if you were worrying that he’s delving into other people’s navels! The collection dates back to 1984 and Graham says he seldom misses a day’s harvest.
17. Hot sauce
Are you one of those people that takes hot sauce with them everywhere? If so, you might understand Vic Clinco’s incredible collection of 6,000 bottles of the spicy stuff. The collection has taken 17 years to amass and it lines the walls of his Arizona home. His most expensive bottle is a $900 one of a kind, and he also owns a bottle of the world’s hottest sauce, the Caldera 16 Mil.
Vic actually made a career out of his love of spice: he classes himself as an educator and runs his own heat tolerance competition where contestants regularly pass out or throw up. Charming.
16. Traffic cones
From hot and spicy straight to the glamorous world of traffic cone collecting. This is one wild ride, huh? David Morgan from England has 137 different traffic cones hidden away in his home. That’s around two-thirds of all the types that were ever made.
David says he feels sorry for the cones that have been forgotten, so he brings them home, cleans them, and puts them in his garage so they aren’t damaged by light. David says that people tend to avoid him at dinner parties. I have no idea why.
It’s probably only women that avoid Chen Qingzu, due to the fact that he just loves collecting bras. Chen from China has more than 5,000 bras which he’s collected over a 20 year period. His collection is made up of bras from students of more than 30 colleges and universities, which makes the entire thing a little more suspect.
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But, Chen seems to have ethical reasons for his collection: his dream is to open a bra museum to increase awareness of breast health. Or at least that’s what he’s telling the ladies that send him their bras!
If you thought collecting traffic cones was dull, how about stones? It was the 60s when Italian poet and artist Luigi Lineri found himself drawn to the stones in the shallows of the River Adige.
Luigi categorizes his collection by the shapes that he sees in them, such as human profiles, animal heads, and work tools. He doesn’t know how many stones make up his collection but he says that the collection is significant.
Looking at his workshop that may well be the understatement of the century!
13. Wasps’ nests
Most people tend to try and avoid wasps’ nests, but not Terry Prouty: he loves them! So much so, in fact, that he’s been collecting them for 25 years. Oklahoma resident Terry became fascinated with wasps while he was growing up, and he now collects their nests.
Terry, who calls himself Hornetboy, buys most of his nests online and has spent up to $200 for good quality ones. He firmly believes that the public isn’t as well educated on wasps as they should be and that the wasp has been unfairly given a bad name. What do you think? Let me know in the comments.
12. Potato chips shaped as weird things
I love potato chips, but usually, I’m cramming them into my mouth so quickly that I don’t notice what shape they are. That’s not the case with Myrtle Young, though. She takes her time with her chips and saves the ones that form weird shapes.
Well, in fact, she worked as a potato chip inspector and siphoned off all the ones with interesting shapes. There’s a dog’s head, a pair of mittens, and a butterfly, as well as a pair of near-identical cowboy boots.
Myrtle’s collection soon caught the attention of the national media and David Letterman himself said that he was impressed by her potato chip mouse. Go, Myrtle!
11. Nicotine gumball
Barry Chappell is the owner of the world’s largest ABC gumball. Any guesses as to what ABC means? Well, disgustingly, it stands for ‘Already Been Chewed’. Gross, huh?
Barry was a heavy smoker and had his brainwave to start a gumball when he was on an international flight. Not being able to smoke, Barry started chewing nicotine gum to satisfy his cravings. Perhaps the altitude of the flight sent him a little loopy because that day he started his collection of 95,200 pieces of gum.
The gumball now weighs 175 pounds, and brilliantly, Barry doesn’t smoke anymore!
10. Banana stickers
Do you know those stickers that come on bananas? Well, Becky Martz enjoys them so much that she collects them and has over 7,000 unique labels!
Becky’s story begins like every epic tale: when she was putting bananas in her fruit bowl she noticed the different labels and wondered how many others might be out there. Magical.
Thankfully this time I’m not talking about toenails, I’m talking about actual nails for DIY. Richard Jones from Wales has a collection of 3,000 nails gathered from all over the world over the past 50 years.
He says that a lot of people think nails are boring but he’s changed a lot of people’s minds. The jury’s still out for me, I’m afraid.
8. Milk bottles
You’d think a former milkman would have had his fill of milk bottles while on the job. But not Paul Luke! He loves the things and has been collecting them since he was nine.
More than 20 years have passed but Paul shows no sign of giving up – he’s aiming to increase his collection of 10,000 different bottles.
7. Super soakers
The award for the most fun collection in this list has to go to this guy! Imagine summers at Chris Reid’s house – the water fights would be epic. Chris has 240 unique designs in his collection including one that’s signed by Super Soaker inventor Lonnie Johnson himself.
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Chris, if you’re reading this, can I come to play with your collection, please?
This collection might seem slightly less exciting than my last entry, but the sheer volume of it is frankly incredible. Petra Engels owns almost 20,000 erasers. She’s been collecting them for years and has designs from more than 100 different countries.
Like stationery collections? Angelika Unverhau from Germany has the largest collection of ballpoint pens.
Tushar Lakhanpal has the most pencils. I wonder how large his pencil case is.
5. Airsickness bags
If you fancy checking out some of the erm, best sick bags, there’s an online virtual museum set up for your viewing pleasure. There are currently 2,000 examples on display.
If that wasn’t enough there’s also bus sickness bags and even space sickness bags.
“But don’t all air sickness bags look the same?” I hear you asking. Nope – some are actually quite artistic. In fact, Virgin Atlantic even held a ‘Design for Chunks’ project in 2004 where artists submitted their artwork in the hope of having it feature on their limited-edition bags.
4. Soviet calculators
With some of the collections, I can’t help but wonder where the inspiration for them came from, and Sergei Frolov’s soviet calculator collection is definitely one of those. It just seems so specific! As well as 150 Soviet-made calculators, Sergei is also the proud owner of lots of vintage computers, watches, and slide rules.
I’d recommend you check out Sergei’s YouTube channel once you’ve finished reading this article – it’s, erm, pretty interesting.
3. ‘Do not disturb’ signs
Now, this is a collection I can get on board with. I hate being disturbed, but clearly not as much as Jean-François Vernetti from Switzerland. He’s collected an unbelievable 11,111 different ‘do not disturb’ signs from hotels in 189 countries.
Wait, if these signs are all technically stolen, should I be telling you about this guy? Oops.
Florida resident doctor John Meisenheimer may be a grown-up, but he’s clearly a kid at heart if his collection is anything to go by! Doctor John has a collection of more than 10,000 yo-yos which’s earned him a place in the Guinness Book of World Records.
One of his toys dates back to the late 18th century and another is as tall as a person and was delivered by forklift.
John isn’t only known for his yo-yo collection: he was also featured on Ripley’s Believe it or Not for swimming half a mile with his foot in his mouth and is an award-winning novelist. What a guy.
1. 1 cent coins
In at number one is Otha Anders, a Louisiana resident who knows that if you take care of the pennies, the dollars will look after themselves. Otha has been collecting one-cent coins for 45 years and his final haul contained over half a million of them.
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He’s never been tempted to sell them because they reminded him to stay thankful. So much so, in fact, that if he saw one on the ground in a store or at a petrol station he would stop and say a prayer.
He only cashed in his pennies when his home insurance stopped covering them. And what a payday it was: they totaled more than $5,000 and it took the bank five hours to process them.
Cashing them in was a smart choice, but I kind of wish he’d gone down the same route as He Peiqi and created this incredible model of his hometown. Each to their own though, I suppose.
So, which do you think are the strangest collections? Are there any that you’re jealous of? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section down below.