It's human nature to collect items. It's not just the act of acquiring items that pleases collectors. Many derive equal joy from displaying, looking after and carefully storing the items in their collections.
From a young age, children delight in collecting everything from marbles to shells and toy cars. Among adults of all ages, it's common to collect books, CDs, comics, wines, shoes, ornaments, miniature perfume bottles, stamps, coins, semi-precious stones and a host of other items.
Here we consider five of the world's strangest collections.
Florida's Eric Ducharme has had a "thing" for mermaids since he was a child. He specialises in collecting latex mermaid tails – and his favourite pastime is swimming in nearby natural springs, complete with one of the tails. Ducharme has succeeded in turning his rather unique passion into a business. He now runs a company called Mertailor, which manufactures custom-made mermaid tails from silicone, urethane and latex.
World's largest ball of nicotine gum
© photo by artandcointv
Barry Chappell used to be a heavy smoker, but decided to quit after the birth of his son. During a long, international flight in 2006, he had nowhere easy to dispose of a piece of chewed nicotine gum. This is where the idea for his strange collection was born. 95,200 chewed pieces of gum later and he has succeeded in creating the world's largest ball of gum, weighing just under 80 kilograms.
© photo by minichairgallery
Since 1999, Barbara Hartsfield has been collecting miniature chairs. Today her collection of over 3,000 chairs, including several antiques, is on display in a museum in Georgia in the United States.
Air sickness bags
© photo by nubimagazine
Niek Vermeulen of the Netherlands holds the Guiness World Record for the largest collection of air sickness bags. He has over 6,290 air sickness bags from 1,191 different airlines and as many as 200 countries.
For those who like it hot
© photo by Vic Clinco
Vic Clinco of Phoenix Arizona has a collection of over 6,000 bottles of hot sauce from all over the world – a collection that has taken roughly 17 years to amass. Among the sauces is a bottle of "Blair's 16 Million Reserve", which is considered the hottest of all hot sauces.
For any kind of collection
At XtraSpace, we provide secure, affordable storage space, so you can free up space in your home or garage and still keep your personal collection safe. Check our branches page for a self-storage facility near you or contact us for more information – we're always happy to help.