Collections that Broke World Records

Collections that Broke World Records

From Barbie dolls to vintage jewelry and rare works of art, if there’s an object worth collecting, you can be confident you’ll find avid collectors worldwide. Some are in it for the investment opportunity, and others just do it out of love — or obsession for — the items they collect. Have you ever wondered what types of things pique the interest of collectors? Some collections may not surprise you, while others may have you scratching your head. So let’s dive into some of the largest and most valuable collections, as well as some unusual world-record collectibles.

Barbie Dolls

Barbie doll waving
Image  by ErikaWittlieb is licensed with Pixabay License

Created by Ruth Handler, who co-founded the toy manufacturing company Mattel with her husband Elliot, the Barbie doll has existed for more than 64 years. Handler’s daughter Barbara served as the inspiration behind the name Barbie. Since the dolls debuted on the toy market in 1959, Mattel has sold more than 1 billion Barbie dolls worldwide. 

Today, Barbie dolls remain highly prized by collectors. The honor of the largest collection of Barbie dolls, numbering well over 15,000, goes to Bettina Dorfmann of Düsseldorf, Germany. Although she received her first doll in 1966, Dorfmann said she only began seriously collecting them in 1993. Her collection includes a rare original 1959 Barbie doll. 

Mattel estimates more than 100,000 collectors of Barbie dolls exist worldwide.

Bottles of Hot Sauce

Vic Clinco’s passion for collecting bottles of hot sauce is about as fiery as the liquid inside the nearly 11,000 vessels he owns. Clinco, a High Point, North Carolina, resident, started his collection at his home more than 26 years ago. He told United Press International  in 2022 that he has been in contact with Guinness World Records about officially declaring his hot sauce holdings as the largest worldwide.

“I want it to be shared with anyone that has the love of the heat as I do,” he said. “My end goal is to have so many bottles that there is no wall left in sight.” 

Clinco’s collection covers everything from inexpensive supermarket bottles to a rare bottle of Blair’s Reserve Caldera, of which only 499 bottles were ever produced.

Heidi Horten Personal Jewelry Collection

Jewelry Diamond Collection
Image by gr8effect is licensed with Pixabay License

The world’s most valuable privately held jewelry collection went to auction in May 2023. The collection, owned by the late Austrian philanthropist and art collector Heidi Horten, was valued at $150 million.

Christie’s Geneva confirmed that the Horten estate included approximately 700 pieces of historical and contemporary jewels by Harry Winston, Cartier, Tiffany, and more. In addition, Forbes reported that the estate had an impressive jade jewelry collection and several pieces by the Italian jewelry house Bulgari. 

Representative jewelry pieces for sale included the Briolette of India diamond necklace by Harry Winston. Master diamond cutter Atanik Eknayan in Neuilly, France, cut the magnificent Briolette of India in 1908-1909. The diamond in this piece is suspended from a large natural pearl in the necklace setting. 

The 25-carat Sunrise ruby ring by Cartier was also part of the auction. The ruby set in this ring possesses fine purity, exceptional brilliance, and an attractive color throughout, making the gemstone one of the rarest on earth.

Christie’s International Head of Jewelry Rahul Kadhaika and Geneva jewelry specialist Max Fawcett explained to Forbes the qualities that make the Heidi Horten collection particularly valuable. “She collected over 60 years with a trained eye, and combined modern jewelry design and historic pieces beautifully, as well as building a collection of over 30 exceptional jade jewels, collected with an equivalent eye and knowledge to any Asian collector.”

Macklowe Collection of Art

Fetching a total of $922 million, with fees, at auction from 2021-2022, The Macklowe Collection of artist masterpieces brought to market 65 works from some of the most prominent artists from the past eight decades. In a 2021 report, Sotheby’s declared that each piece was a “consummate masterpiece; together, they constitute an unrivaled ensemble that meticulously traces the most important art historical achievements of the last 80 years.”

According to the auction description, pieces featured 20th- and 21st-century artists such as Alberto Giacometti, Mark Rothko, Andy Warhol, Jeff Koons, and Cy Twombly. A New York Times report stated that some works within the collection sold for upward of $82.5 million. Real estate magnate Harry Macklowe and his former wife, Linda Macklowe, an honorary trustee of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, owned the treasures they spent the better part of their lifetimes acquiring. 

Teddy Bears

Teddy bears bring smiles to children’s faces. For Istvánné Arnóczki of Harsány, Hungary, her smile comes from the love of bears and setting a Guinness World Record for the largest collection of teddy bears. The recognition became official on April 27, 2019, when Arnóczki recorded 20,367 teddy bears in her collection.

Arnóczki’s fondness for teddy bears began when she was in her 20s. As a child, Arnóczki and her family lived in poverty, and she never owned a teddy bear. Instead, she dreamed of having a teddy bear to cuddle with at night. What started as a single purchase in 1978 increased over the decades. Today, the Teddy Museum in her local Hungarian village holds the bears she purchased or received as donations during her lifetime.

Toilet Paper

This last example proves that anything is fair game for collectors. Boston, Massachusetts, couple Flo and Richard Newman have amassed more than 1,500 samples of toilet paper from famous people and places worldwide. Toilet paper from the Kremlin and McMurdo Station in Antarctica are featured alongside toilet tissue autographed by Woody Allen and Madonna in the couple’s collection.

In a 2018 interview for Tissue World Magazine, the Newmans said the impetus for their collection began as folly. “In 1978, a friend was flying to Europe and asked us what we’d like her to bring us back. Partly in jest, we asked for toilet paper samples from places she visited. Little did we know it was the start of a small empire.”

The market for collectibles never dies, nor does the zeal of ardent collectors. Does your passion for collecting focus on rare coins, watches, and fine jewelry? If so, get in touch with us at Las Vegas Jewelry and Coin Buyers, and find out what your collection could be worth. Contact us online, call us at 702-547-1670, or stop by and visit when you’re in the Las Vegas area to learn more about our services. You’ll be able to see why we’ve become one of the nation’s most trusted buyers of coins, jewelry, diamonds, luxury watches, and gold.