The weirdest things in the world that people collect
Collecting things can be fun, a way to pass the time and explore something you’re interested in. Most collections are intensely personal, a few are valuable, and some are just odd. Like the nail collectors on our list below – and before you ask, we mean both kinds, the ones you use to hammer things together, and also the kind the human body grows!
All of us have had a collection of some sort, at some point in our lives. As kids, collecting currency from different countries, or amassing more stickers than we would ever actually use was fun. As adults, we have proud collections of things like spoons, stamps, even designer bags and shoes. And there is more than one collector out there with McDonald’s Happy Meal toys or other fast food chain memorabilia, and doll houses and doll collectors abound too. Some of these collections are valuable, handed down from one generation to the next, painstakingly and lovingly acquired over a lifetime, needing safekeeping and even content insurance. Others are a pile of junk our children don’t want to inherit.
There’s a lot of fun and excitement to be had in building up a collection, and it can be rather addictive, too. Finding those amazing one-of-a-kind items at second hands stores or stumbling across a rare find on an online auction site gives a huge buzz. There are many collectors out there, but there are those whose item(s) of choice make you double take and really wonder about their sanity.
Richard Jones used to be a joiner, which explains how his fascination for nails came about. After spending over 50 years collecting nails, including some from Italy, Germany, the United States and Australia, Jones proclaims his collection is fascinating. He also points out that nails offer a way to trace civilizations and offer a (unique) perspective on history. His collection spans from big nails of 75 cms to teeny 4 mm ones.
If you have been wondering just who would be into collecting human nails, how they would keep them, and why would they be doing so, prepare yourself. This nail collection isn’t someone’s private – and very strange collecting habit – but rather a 3000 strong sample set for medical research.
A hairy collection
Some folks collect celebrity memorabilia, whether it is photos or outfits and accessories worn by their favourite sports, film, television or music star. And then there’s John Reznikoff, who decided to get more personal – we’re talking DNA – with his collection. He is the proud owner of a large collection of locks of hair – of many celebrities across not just decades, but centuries, and history. Think Edgar Allan Poe, Marilyn Monroe, Albert Einstein, Ludwig van Beethoven and Abraham Lincoln. When scientists figure out how to create a human from DNA, we could be looking at a very interesting future.
DNA of mine
Speaking of DNA, there are those who have collections likely to make everyone else feel just a bit uncomfortable. Take the world champ collector in bellybutton fluff, Graham Barker, who has been collecting his own belly button lint for over 30 years. It’s even stored colour-coded.
And then there’s the world’s largest gumball made from nicotine gum. How is this a DNA encrusted collection created, you ask? Well, the 175 pound gumball with over 92,000 pieces of gum has all been personally chewed by the owner of this prize – Barry Chappell. That is one giant sticky collection – but Chappell quit smoking, at least.
Barf at that
Dutch collector Niek Vermeulen has more than 3700 airline barf bags collected from 800 plus airlines the world over. What began as a bet with a friend – to create a collection of some single item, turned into this weird collection and land Niek in the Gunness World Records. Aside from his own collections in his international and domestic travels, family and friends were only too happy to help Niek build his airline sickness bag collection. He even has one from outer space – a barf bag from a NASA space shuttle.
Roll the dice
Kevin Cook of the United States has his name in the Guinness Book of World Records for his collection of dice – over 11,000 of them, and impressively, every one of them a unique piece. Even after becoming a Guinness record holder, Cook kept going, and his collection now stands at over 35,000 die.
Hello my pretty
Some folks are fascinated by things that look and smell nice. From a fascination to the world’s largest collection takes dedication and patience. Something both these ladies can attest to. Martina Schellenberg from Germany is in possession of the most napkins ever – her collection of 125,866 different pieces continues to grow, and she has them neatly separated into boxes, theme-wise.
And then there’s the soap collection by Birmingham, UK resident, Carol Vaughn. She’s been collecting soaps since 1991, and with over 5000 pieces of every size, shape, smell and style, and from local and international shops, hers is the collection best saved for the next pandemic.
You’re not weird, at all
Next time you think your salt and pepper sets are weird—or you remind your kid that collecting rocks isn’t a thing—stop. As long as you’re happy and not collecting body parts, you’re pretty normal.