Is your Star Wars memorabilia collection putting a strain on your marriage? Has your obsession with Japanese robots taken over your life? Collection Intervention follows host Elyse Luray as she helps “extreme collectors” whose pop culture memorabilia collections have become damaging obsessions, draining their bank accounts and creating stress in their lives. If you’ve ever been called “quirky” or “slightly eccentric,” all it takes is one episode of this show to make you feel exceptionally normal. Even though Luray seems incredibly skilled at creating strategies to help these extreme collectors curate their treasures, we still feel there are some collections that are too big and bizarre for even her to handle. Here’s our top 10 list of bizarre collections.
1. Celebrity locks of hair
Nothing screams “serial killer” like an extensive collection of other people’s hair. Extreme collector John Reznikoff might disagree, as he is the proprietor of the world’s most extensive collection of famous locks, boasting pieces from Abraham Lincoln, Edgar Allan Poe and Marilyn Monroe.
2. Celebrity autographs signed with your own name
Collecting autographs is nothing new, but Paul Schmelzer has put a new spin on things. Schmelzer has spent decades trying to get celebrities to sign his name and become part of his collection. Although many celebs refuse to cooperate and sign “Paul Schmelzer,” many do. His collection now includes more than 70 different signatures.
3. Soap bars
Carol Vaughn, a retiree from Birmingham, UK, has a squeaky clean habit: she collects bars of soap. She’s been collecting since 1991 and now has more than 5,000 bars from around the world.
4. Burnt food
That burnt piece of toast in your trash is another person’s treasure — at least, if the person in question is Deborah Henson-Conant, founder and chief curator of The Burnt Food Museum. Dedicated to “celebrating culinary disasters,” exhibits at the museum include titles such as “This Gyoza’s Too Far” and “Thrice Baked Potato.”
5. AOL CDs
We all remember the days in the ’90s and early 2000s when receiving an AOL CD in the mail was a regular occurrence. While the rest of us were using them as makeshift coasters or dorm-room Frisbees, Lydia Sloan Cline took it upon herself to start collecting them. Lydia’s collection currently includes over 2,500 unique discs. Who knew there were so many designs made?!
6. Cigarette boxes
Chinese collector Wang Guohua has been collecting cigarette boxes since 2003. His collection now includes more than 30,000 boxes, from 100 production areas, spanning 10 countries. Many of these boxes line the walls of a room at his home in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province.
7. McDonald’s Happy Meal toys
Eleven-year-old Luke Underwood’s collection of McDonald’s Happy Meal toys is believed to be one of the largest of its kind in the world. His extensive collection of more than 7,000 pieces of original “McMemorabilia” regularly attracts international bidders looking to get in on the Happy Meal action. What’s bizarre about this scenario isn’t that a boy is collecting the toys, but that he recently made $16,000 auctioning them off to a bunch of adults.
8. McDonald’s hamburgers
Matt Malmgren doesn’t collect items in the likeness of McDonald’s hamburgers — he collects the actual hamburgers. Yes, you read that right: Malmgren began collecting McBurgers in his basement in 1989. The burgers are catalogued by month and year, set out on a table, displayed for the world to see. The most shudder-inducing fact about his collection: because of the chemicals in the meat, the burgers are reported to look and smell the same as the day Malmgren bought them.
9. The shoes of Imelda Marcos
Carrie Bradshaw has absolutely nothing on former Philippine First Lady Imelda Marcos. This Filipino politician and widow of former Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos is well-known for the 2,700 pairs of high-end shoes that she collected during her husband’s reign. Made by world-famous names like Christian Dior, Givenchy, Ferragamo and Chanel, many of her former shoes are now housed in The Marikina City Footwear Museum in the Philippines.
10. Beer mugs
Heinrich Kath, a German farmer, has been collecting beer mugs since 1997. He now has more than 20,000. The irony of this situation: Kath doesn’t even drink beer.
Don’t forget to tune in to Collection Intervention to see more crazy collections, Monday nights at 9pm only on Slice.
Simone Paget is a freelance writer and the author of Skinny Dip, a cheeky blog about love, sex, relationships and everything in between. When she’s not writing her heart out, she loves wandering around her city, large cup of coffee in hand, in search of the next great story.