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Big List: Crazy Collection

PHUKET: This week's list features several innovators in the world of 'accumulation'. The only thing that separates most museums and these obsessed collectors is a healthy dose of reality and, in some cases, soap.

By Jean-Pierre Mestanza

Monday 16 September 2013, 09:22AM

Celebrity hair

Albert Einstein, Beethoven, Abraham Lincoln, and Marilyn Monroe. What do they have in common? All of them have a lock of their hair available for viewing at John Reznikoff's mini-museum in Connecticut, US. Reznikoff has collected over 100 locks of hair from British royalty to famous scientists and Hollywood stars. Each 'piece' comes with extensive documentation of authenticity. It's also worth noting that Reznikoff has been offered tens of thousands of dollars for several locks of hair. “Nothing brings you closer to a person than an actual piece of their being,” he told The Wall Street Journal.

Icelandic penis

Founded in 1997, the Icelandic Penis Museum founded by Sigurdur Hjartarson has become one of Rejkjavik's most infamous attractions. On display are 143 actual penises from 41 animals. Ever prideful, Hjartarson only collects penises from Icelandic mammals: from hamsters to sperm whales. The entire collection is also lit up under lamps shaded by ram testicles. Hjartarson is so committed to his museum, he has contracts with three different men to display their penis' upon each of their deaths. “It's most common to ask why I do this, and the only answer I have is, 'well somebody has to',” Hjartarson said.

Navel fluff

Also known as 'belly-button gunk', navel fluff is what is collected in one's belly button after a day. Graham Paddock has been collecting his navel fluff since 1984 and now has three separate jars filled with the stuff – each one representing over 6 years worth. Paddock began his collection while working at a youth hostel in Brisbane. In 2000, he was recognised by Guinness World Records as having the largest navel fluff collection in the world and was even flown to Hollywood to make TV appearances.

Soap bars

Passion and dedication can be found anywhere, and Carol Vaugh from Birmingham, UK has it in spades. The 65-year-old retiree has collected more than 5,000 bars of soap from all corners of the world. She began her collection in 1991 as a way to pass the time while caring for her ill mother. “I wouldn't dream of actually using the soaps, but I do wash regularly, I'm not a dirty old woman,” Vaughn told her local newspaper.

Happy Meals

Truly a kid's dream. With 7,000 promotional items on display, Luke Underwood of the UK has by far the biggest collection of McDonald's Happy Meal boxes, toys, and posters. The 11-year-old is also quite possibly the savviest collector on this list, as he recently sold his collection for UK£8,000 (B400,000) to bidders from Germany, Japan, and America. The collection started when he begged his father to buy an assortment of toys and posters when he was just 7 years-old. “I didn't really want to sell it, but now I'm planning on saving the money so I can buy something else like this and make some more money,” Underwood told reporters after the sale.


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