The world's most eccentric collectors

The eccentric millionaire is a long running trope in popular culture.

From Citizen Kane's Charles Foster Kane to Jurassic Park's John Hammond, there's something about the combination of money and loose screws that appeals to all of us.

5. Tim Rowbett

Tim Rowbett is an English collector in his 70s whose home is packed to the rafters with around 25,000 toys.


He has a strong presence on YouTube where he demonstrates the inner mechanics of his collection to an enraptured audience.

To date he has recorded over 500 videos which have been viewed millions of times.

4. Bob Gibbins

A "love doll" is not generally something people admit to owning, although Bob Gibbins feels differently.

Love dolls offer an eerie simulacrum of a person

Bob has a collection of around 240 dolls, ranging from simple blow-ups to the silicon-made models that sell for thousands of dollars.

Along with his wife, Lizzie, he enjoys dressing them up and taking them for days out. He also claims never to have used one for their intended purpose, stating he considers them part of his family.

3. Paul Greenwood

Greenwood was convicted of fraud in 2010 for his role in running a dodgy investment bank and appropriating his clients' funds. In total, he stole $554m.

Steiff Greenwood
Steiff bears can realise impressive sums at auction

Interestingly he decided to blow a decent chunk of his ill gotten gains on teddy bears. In total, he amassed a collection of around 1,300, mostly produced by the ultra high-end maker Steiff.

The company was the first to begin producing bears in the early 1900s, following Teddy Roosevelt's famous decision not to shoot a bear that was tied to a tree (he did order one of his men to kill it with a knife though).

Unfortunately for Greenwood he was forced to auction off his collection to pay back the money he stole. It reached an impressive $1.7m, with one red and blue harlequin bear achieving $74,164.  

2. Zero Fretas

There are a lot of record collectors out there who have huge collections, but one leaves all the others in the dust.  

Zero Fretas
Zero Fretas is the proud owner of the world's largest record collection

That man is Zero Fretas.

The president of a Brazilian bus company, Fretas has been collecting records since he was a child. He's never been able to count the number he owns, but it's estimated to be in the millions - and growing all the time.

He even bought a disused factory to store them in and hired a staff of 17 interns to assist him in cataloguing.  

His mission is to collect a copy of every single record ever released, a task he is already well on the way to achieving.

1. John du Pont

Straight in at the top of our list is John du Pont, whose exploits shook the stamp collecting world.

The 1c magenta is the world's most prized stamp

Over the course of his life, he acquired one of the world's greatest collection of stamps - including the legendary 1c magenta.

His descent into madness has been well documented. A huge wrestling fan, he opened up a state of the art training facility in his home to prepare athletes for the Olympics.

He drove around his sprawling Philadelphia mansion in a tank. He thought that his horses were telepathically communicating with him and that his house was filled with ghosts.

After many years he snapped, killing wrestling coach and friend Dave Schultz. The story features in Foxcatcher, an upcoming film starring Steve Carrel and Channing Tatum.

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