A friend of mine collects British Royal Family memorabilia; another collects souvenir shot glasses. These seem like reasonable collections. I mean, slightly pointless, but I can understand the urge to search out these items and gather them into a collection. However, those are normal collections. Other people collect things that you could safely say fall into the realm of the weird. Soap? Belly button lint? Penises? Get the scoop on these and 8 otherWeird Collections below.
1. AOL diskettes and CDs
Remember when every time you opened the mail there seemed to be a diskette or CD with AOL’s software on it, the label urging you to sign up for their free trial and get “700 hours FREE”? Reportedly, AOL shipped nearly 1 billion of these discs between 1993 and 2006. While most of us threw them away in disgust, sighing over the wastefulness of this direct mail marketing tactic, a woman named Lydia (see above photo) saw them as “fine artifacts of pop culture“. She’s amassed over 2,500 unique discs.
2. Banana labels
For a while, I inadvertently was a collector of banana labels, peeling them off my bananas and sticking them on the side of my fridge. But apparently this is a hobby that has a number of enthusiasts. They even meet up to trade and examine each other’s collections! Becky Martz has amassed a collection of 10,241 different banana labels.
Becky’s recently begun collecting other produce labels — she has 93 broccoli bands and 157 asparagus bands so far.
3. Navel fluff
Yes, you read that correctly. A man named Graham Barker maintains a collection of the lint that accumulates in his belly button.
It’s a painstaking collection. He’s been harvesting his navel daily since 1984 and has only filled three jars.
Barker’s solipsistic collecting habits don’t end there, however. He’s also an avid collector of his own beard clippings.
If you thought it couldn’t get any weirder than belly button lint collecting, then take a peek at the Icelandic Phallological Museum, founded and directed by Sigurður Hjartarson. This one-room museum houses Hjartarson’s personal collection of penises, 272 specimens from 92 different species of animals. Hjartarson currently does not have a human specimen, though one was bequeathed to the museum by a patron who passed away in January 2011, so the collection may have a new addition very soon.
6. Burnt food
When I burn my toast beyond recognition by accident, I throw it away, but Deborah Henson-Conant sees these “culinary failures” as “lifelong treasures.” It all started back in 1989, when Henson-Conant left some apple cider heating on the stove while she took a phone call. When she returned, the pot was black and the contents had transformed into what she calls “free-standing apple cider.”
Henson-Conant’s online museum receives contributions from people all over the world, and she carefully documents the story behind the…art object.
7. Coca-Cola cans
Do you enjoy the refreshing taste of Coca-Cola? Well, so does “Xander,” of the Netherlands.
The majority of these cans, as far as I can see, don’t seem particularly interesting or notable. But if it brings him joy, then godspeed. I just hope he’s not drinking it all — that much Coke can’t be good for you.
8. Moist towelettes
Collector Michael Lewis’ website is titled Modern Moist Towelette Collecting. “Welcome to the exciting world of moist towelette collecting!” it declares. Why moist towelettes? According to Lewis, “Despite whatever differences we have as humans, we can all satisfy the natural urge to clean ourselves with lemon-scented, moist-filled napkins.” Can’t argue with that, I suppose.
Helena Vnouckova of Prague maintains a collecting site,
Does your grandma steal sugar packets from the diner? Mine does. But she uses them later in her afternoon tea, and then she throws the packet in the garbage. Sugar packet collectors would see this as a bit sinful, I suppose. The Sugar Packet Collector webpage, whose founder possesses over 8,000 packets, says she is no longer accepting trades with other collectors, because she has been overrun with requests. Take note.