These Famous Hoarders From History Could Have Entire TLC Shows About Their Lives
These Famous Hoarders From History Could Have Entire TLC Shows About Their Lives

These Famous Hoarders From History Could Have Entire TLC Shows About Their Lives

Shannon Quinn - December 7, 2022

These Famous Hoarders From History Could Have Entire TLC Shows About Their Lives
Anke Gowda’s book collection. Credit: Rare Book Hub

John Q. Benham Has the Largest Book Collection in the World

Earlier on this list, we already mentioned two huge book collections from Thomas Jefferson and Karl Lagerfeld. Those will pale in comparison to John Q. Benham’s massive collection of 1.5 million books. According to Guinness World Records, “As (the books) have filled up his house, most of them must be kept in his six-car garage, two-storey building and piled under tarpaulin outdoors.”Some people might label nearly all of the Guinness World Record holders as “hoarders” when you really think about it. But there are massive collections of all sorts. The one major difference between your typical Guinness World Record-breaking collection and John Benham’s is the fact that most people keep their collection safe in a room in their house.

According to Rare Book Hub, there is another man out there who also claims to have 1.5 million books named Anke Gowda. However, he has never counted or officially verified the exact number of books he has kept on his property. Fifty years ago, he made a promise to himself to collect at least 1,000 books per month. Since he was originally from India, Anke Gowda collects books that were written in 20 different Indian languages. He also collects stamps, coins and paper money, movie posters and newspapers on the side. At first, Gowda filled his entire house with his book collection, and only left a small corner to sleep on the floor and cook. Eventually, he received help to build a 24,000 square foot structure to put in his library, and volunteers helped him take care of the collection.

These Famous Hoarders From History Could Have Entire TLC Shows About Their Lives
Alexander Kennedy Miller driving one of his many luxury cars. Credit: Find a Grave

Alexander Kennedy Miller Hoarded Millions of Dollars Worth of Cars and Gold

If you watch shows like American Pickers, you already know that a common thing for male hoarders to collect is old cars. Doesn’t matter if they’re piles of rust or fully working vehicles. Alexander Kennedy Miller was the son of a wealthy stockbroker from Montclair, New Jersey. He studied mechanical engineering, and began collecting vehicles and license plates from the time he was a teenager. As he grew older, he got his pilot’s license and even began collecting airplanes and a helicopter. Even though Miller was spending thousands of dollars on his massive collections, he and his wife lived as recluses. They wore clothes that were described as “rags”, and almost never left the house except to go to church.

Alexander Kennedy Miller passed away when he was 87 years old. After his passing, Christie’s auctioned off the collection that was left on his 81-acre property. He kept his car collection hidden inside barns and sheds. Unfortunately, many of the vehicles were invaded by raccoons and other animals. Even though many of these cars were in rough condition, they still estimated that they would bring in around $1.5 million from selling his collection. On top of that, investigators of the estate found over $1 million worth of gold and silver that had been stashed away under the floorboards of one of the buildings on the property. However, it turns out that he never paid income taxes his entire life. So naturally, the IRS sued the estate for all it was worth.

How did we find this stuff? Here are our sources:

Collecting: An Unruly Passion: Psychological Perspectives. Werner Muensterberger. 1995.

The Cautionary Tale of the Harlem Hoarders. Messy Nessy Chic. 2017.

7 Famous Hoarders. David K. Israel. Mental Floss. 2009.

Historical Figures With Enormous Collections. Melissa Sartore. Ranker. 2019.

The Secrets of Andy Warhol’s Time Capsules. BBC. 2014.

Everything Was Fake but Her Wealth. Karen Abbott. Smithsonian Magazine. 2013.

Johnny Depp: Hat Hoarder. Harper’s Bazaar. 2011.

Archduke Franz Ferdinand ‘radiated an aura of strangeness,’ killed almost 300,000 animals.

Paul Ratner. Big Think. 2018.

Stanley Kubrick’s Boxes. Foto8. 2014.