Geeks have a unique passion for acquiring knowledge and items that reflect their interests and obsessions. They often have a deep fascination with niche areas of study or fandoms, which drives them to collect items that others might overlook or even find obscure. The rise of technology and the internet has only fueled their passion for collecting, providing them with access to a vast array of rare and unique items from around the world. From vintage video games and rare comic books to limited-edition action figures and autographed memorabilia, geeks are always on the hunt for the next addition to their ever-growing collections. For them, the pursuit of the perfect piece can be just as exciting as the eventual acquisition, and the thrill of the hunt never fades. So, if you ever come across a geek with disposable income, don’t be surprised if they blow it all on a rare item that you’ve never even heard of.
Star Wars Superfan
Steve Sansweet says “There are people with more money than common sense.” Is he one of them? He probably also has some controversial opinions about the movies. Sansweet owns Rancho Obi-Wan, the largest collection of Star Wars items in the world. The collection took him 20 years to amass, most of which he bought new off the shelf, before it became a vintage collectible. He once paid $800 for pieces of the original Death Star, but he claims to not have spent that much on his collection. Realistically, no one owns that many items without having spent a small fortune. (photo credit: ranchoobiwan.org)
Brian Mattocks says he has easily spent over 100,000 pounds on his collection of Doctor Who paraphernalia. That’s over $123,000 in US dollars! He boasts at least 1 million items in his collection. He has a figurine worth 800 pounds and a board game worth 100 pounds, just to name a few of the expensive items in his hoard. Luckily, birthday and holiday gifts have contributed to his total. If he ever wanted to get rid of everything, he could probably have a comfortable retirement with that kind of money.
Comic books are a commonly collected item and Bob Bretall has the largest collection of all. Even Guinness World Records has recognized his accomplishment. He’s read all of them and could probably tell us what is next to come in the Marvel universe. Bretall refuses to divulge the worth of his collection, saying “Sorry. I do not like to emphasize the monetary aspects of collecting comics.” His reason is because he thinks stories about comics should focus on the enjoyment of reading comic books, rather than how much money they’re worth, but maybe he’s just a little shy about the huge amount of money he must have spent over the years to buy so many comics.
Chris Reid has collected over 340 Super Soakers, enough to arm a small, harmless militia. Reid’s first Super Soaker is even autographed by Lonnie Johnson, the inventor of these water toys. Super Soaker water gun toys range in price from $5 for a smaller, lower-powered model to upwards of $40 for the more intense blasters. The price tag on a collection this size undoubtedly adds up to a pretty penny.
According to Guinness World Records, Antonio Monteiro’s collection of video games is valued at over 2.1 million dollars! The Texan man began collecting games for various consoles as a kid and continued into adulthood. He has a special room to store the games that includes a separate air conditioning system and custom-made containers for games with paper cases. He is still avidly collecting games with each new console that gets released. Climate control, preservation and organization structures, and more new games means that he continues to spend his hard-earned money on his collection.
Imagine loving one cartoon character so much that you build your life around it. That’s what PikaBelleChu has done. Belle Starenchak adores Pikachu so much that she has collected the largest amount of Pikachu items of anyone in the world. Even her car has been customized to look like the character. Belle does not give an exact number on how much she’s spent on this collection, but admits that the total “could buy a mansion.”
Charlotte Lee is another woman who has spent a fortune collecting small, yellow items. This collection is all rubber ducks! She has over 2,600 rubber ducks, many of which she has picked up in her travels all over the world. While individual rubber duckies tend to run on the cheaper side, amassing this novelty army, not to mention buying cases and shelves to hold them all, comes at a significant price.
Gerda Scheurers has spent $10,000 on a single Smurf collectible. That’s just one item in her enormous collection of Smurf memorabilia, though she doesn’t say what that item is. Most of the items in her collection are everyday household goods, like towels, pencils, ketchup, hair brushes, lip balm, and more. Scheurers estimated she could get over $100,000 for her collection if she were to sell it, which she will never do.
Funko Pop figurines became a widely popular collectible after their release in 2010. Paul Scardino was gifted his first 2 in 2017 and has since collected over 5,300! He keeps the most valuable ones inside their boxes with a protective case. These highly-sought-after collectibles can reach prices as high as $20,000, though most of the more valuable ones go for about $2,000, according to Pop Price Guide, an entire website dedicated to the hobby of Funko Pop collecting.
They say “Time is money,” and Eloise Von Velvet says she spends 3-5 hours a day working on her collection of Studio Ghibli items. If that were the only value attached to this hobby, it might not be so expensive, but Eloise scours eBay and other sources to find rare and beautiful collectibles from various Studio Ghibli films. Some of the rarest items come from the film Ponyo, including 2 music boxes that Eloise owns. She has over 1,300 pieces of Studio Ghibli merchandise and is always adding more. I would like to know what day job allows her 3-5 hours of free time each day and all that expendable income.
Of all the 24-carat gold plated items that someone might want to buy, Victoria Maclean chose to procure a gold plated golden snitch from Harry Potter. Only about 5,000 of them were made and it took Victoria about 6 months to get one. That rare and expensive piece is one of 3,700 items from the wizarding world that grace Victoria’s home. She must have several golden Galleons saved up at Gringotts.
Kevin Cook adds roughly 3,500 new dice to his collection every year. He is up to 115,599 dice, according to his website, where he keeps a running total. Rare dice can be thousands of dollars for a single dice. Kevin has an entire web page dedicated to his noteworthy dice, each of which likely cost a ridiculous amount for a tiny cube. Some of his dice include pieces from a mysterious WWII-era game and a couple 6-sided dice from 2nd century AD in Persia. The history behind some of the dice is actually really cool, so it’s not hard to see the draw for spending money on a little chunk of ancient game history.
Brett Martin has a collection of video game memorabilia valued at over $100,000. Brett is a web developer and gamer who is admittedly “passionate and obsessed” with video games. He has over 8,000 items in his collection. Brett started collecting in 2001 when he “discovered eBay,” a discovery that often leads straight to the poor house. It’s a good thing a job in web development pays pretty well.
Solkanar has a collection so valuable that he intentionally hides his real name when discussing his cards. He has a 1 million dollar collection of Magic: the Gathering cards. His collection includes some of the most valuable cards ever printed. Solkanar owns 3 Black Lotus cards! For context, the final $511,100 sale price made the autographed Alpha Black Lotus the most expensive Magic: The Gathering card ever sold at auction. Remaining anonymous is a smart move to protect an investment like this collection.
You can buy a new car or 1,700 board games for about $35,000. Jeff Bauspies chose board games. He has an entire basement dedicated to his board games. His 1941 edition of Monopoly is worth $250 alone. The Franklin Mint version of Monopoly is worth double that! Jeff owns all the 3M Bookshelf Games, except for one that only has 100 copies in existence. That set is worth another $500 and the missing game costs that much on its own.
Anyone who has bought a computer knows that they can be expensive. Lonnie Mimms owns one worth over $27 million in today’s economy. It is the rare Cray 1A Supercomputer from 1977. Fewer than 100 of these computers were originally made. The Cray 1A only holds 303 MB of storage, while today’s smartphones contain over 1,700 times that amount! Yet, these supercomputers were able to send people into space, help with medical research, and so many other impressive tasks. Mimms has other technology in his collection dating back to the mid-1800s. With hundreds of thousands of pieces, he opened the Computer Museum of America to house them all.
Lord of the Rings Collection–Going Once, Going Twice, Sold!
The day comes for some collectors to auction their incredible items for even more incredible prices. Troika Brodsky auctioned off his Lord of the Rings collection at the end of 2013. The pieces he had were all original authentic filming props or something from pre-production/production. Most every item in the collection was estimated to sell between $50,000 and $200,000 at auction. The complete catalog for the sale was 52 items. Brodsky kept 2 items from his collection for himself. I hope his investment into the collection paid off.
Hello Kitty is a cute cat with a knack for cheering people up when they’re unhappy. At least it always cheered up Masao Gunji. He says that’s why he started collecting Hello Kitty items. He amassed over 5,169 pieces, including bento boxes, plushies, stationary, towels, clocks, and more. Masao, a retired police officer, and his wife have really leaned into the whimsy of the collection. They spent more than 30 million yen (about $370,000 US dollars) on more than 10,000 Hello Kitty items and built a pink color “Kitty House.”It just goes to show that it is okay for anyone, including grown men, to enjoy cute pink kitties.
People spend their fortunes on collecting for all sorts of reasons. Hitochi Uchida thought it might help him meet Masako Nozawa, the voice actress for Goku from Dragon Ball. Uchida credits the actress for helping him overcome him childhood fears with her portrayal of Goku. He collected over 10,000 items from the Dragon Ball franchise, including an entire room of over 4,000 items of just Son Goku. Uchida was so dedicated to his collecting goal that he quit his job to collect full-time. How he paid for all the items without a job is still a mystery. If he gets to meet his hero, maybe it will all be worth it.
Ever since John Weeks was a young boy, he played the silver ball. Weeks had over 800 pinball machines and 1,000 various other arcade games before he needed to auction them off. At only 14 years old, Weeks got his first pinball machine and opened a small arcade in his parent’s garage. It didn’t work out at the time, but the dream never died. He eventually opened the Museum of Pinball for all of his machines, but it couldn’t survive the downturn from the pandemic. On a positive note, auctioning the machines yielded millions of dollars. Among the most expensive machines was a “Back to the Future”-themed machine that sold for $14,000 and a limited-edition Addams Family machine that fetched $22,500.
If you scare easily, this collection might be nightmare-fuel. Rudy Munis collects Halloween masks, but not just any cheap mask from a pop-up Halloween shop. He specifically collects the realistic-looking masks made by Don Post Studios. These masks are made of high-quality materials that need to be taken care of, so older masks in good condition can be really expensive. Munis has the only known all-original copy of a mask that’s known as the Verne Langdon Zombie. The mask was on the cover of Creepy magazine in 1972 and is worth about $25,000. Even some of the cheaper masks in the Don Post collection can go for $300-$500. Munis has 400 of these scary (and scary expensive) masks. That’s one pricey nightmare.
The best way to spend a fortune on a geek collection is to split the costs with several other like-minded geeks. Les Enfants de MacGyver are a global Stargate fan group who has spent $60,000 in expenses to build an exact replica of the Pegasus Stargate from Stargate Atlantis. The gate was life-size and fully functional, except for opening a wormhole in space. The group says this project was a practice run for their goal of recreating the Milky Way Stargate from SG-1. The next gate requires even more funding, so the group plans to crowdfund the next project. After all, the best money to spend is someone else’s.
Ghostbusters was one of the biggest movies of the â80’s and is still a beloved classic. Robert O’Connor loves the movie so much that he has collected thousands of pieces of memorabilia from it, and even built some of his own! Robert has a five-piece set of Ecto-glow figures that is worth thousands of dollars alone. Robert’s perfectly detailed recreations of proton packs, like the ones used to fight Slimer, cost him $500 to build, not to mention the value of his time and effort. Similarly, his home-made exact replicas of ghost traps could fetch $200 each. Many of Robert’s pieces are signed by the actors from the movie, making them even more valuable.
Buffy the Vampire fans have created lots of social media groups to share their love of the show. On one such group, Alex Dipietro shared a picture of his room full of Buffy collectibles. Floor to ceiling is packed with memorabilia. He started collecting at 16 years old and says that Buffy is like his drug because any money he had or got would go toward new memorabilia. At least this addiction just lands you in the poorhouse, not the jailhouse.
Darren Maxwell is a Sci-fi superfan. He collects from a few popular franchises like Batman and Star Wars, but his most niche collection is his Dune memorabilia. Dune has recently seen a resurgence in pop culture with the release of the newest movie, but before it was a well-known movie, it was a lengthy book series and a 1984 flop of a film. In the â80’s, this meant that there wasn’t a lot of merch to collect, but that didn’t stop Darren. He got a job after high school and spent that money on gathering all the items he could from the movie most people forgot about. He has picked up a few items online, including a mint-in-the-box Dune viewmaster that cost $300! Maybe he can find some cheaper items since the release of the 2021 Dune movie.
Glen Miranker’s collection of Sherlock Holmes items is anything but elementary. Not only does the collector have over 8,000 pieces in his personal trove, but 221 of those were selected to be on display at America’s oldest book lovers society, The Grolier Club in New York City. Glen doesn’t collect things just for the sake of having them, but to unravel the mysteries of author Arthur Conan Doyle’s life. He has managed to get his hands on letters written by the author to friends and colleagues, pirated copies of books, illustrations, first editions, and more. I guess when you retire from being an executive at Apple, you can afford to spend retirement pursuing rare literary backstories.