Weird History
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The Weirdest Things Historical Royals Have Collected

Updated November 10, 2020 6.6k votes 1.0k voters 152.4k views13 items

List RulesVote up the royal collections from history that make you say, "Hmm... some rich people are strange."

Many historical royals were born with an abundance of expendable income along with plenty of free time. And although some have been content to collect the standard piles of jewels and properties, other royals have amassed more bizarre collections.

Here are the weird royal collections that cater to some noble folks' eccentric personal tastes - and fit right in with their often strange real-life stories.

  • Photo: Philippe de Champaigne / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    King Charles II Collected Mummies For Their Dust

    Charles II of England kept a number of ancient Egyptian mummies not for educational or entertainment purposes, but to gather their “dust” (made up of dried skin and whatever else one might find on a desiccated corpse) and rub it all over his body. He believed that by doing so he could acquire some “Ancient Pharaoh Greatness” for himself, which actually wasn’t an unusual belief for the time.

    He also paid gravediggers to bring him cadavers so he could use their skulls to make an alcoholic concoction called "The King's Drops," which he prepared in his personal laboratory.

    More money than sense?
  • Photo: Godfrey Kneller / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    Everyone needs a hobby, and when you’re king you can do pretty much anything you please. Peter the Great of Russia, who ruled from 1682-1725, enjoyed amateur dentistry. And by “amateur,” we mean he had no idea what he was doing. He loved pulling other people’s teeth so much he would accidentally remove healthy ones in his zeal.

    His collection of various molars and bicuspids yanked from the mouths of his unfortunate subjects remains to this day in his “Chamber of Curiosities," which includes pickled animals, human body parts, and deformed fetuses.

    More money than sense?
  • Photo: Thomas Lawrence / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    George IV of Great Britain was an 18th century Lothario whose rule might best be described as “extravagant,” both in stylistic choices and spending policies. His conquests tended to be of the female variety rather than on the battlefield, as he was known to “pull every trick known to man in order to persuade women to go to bed with him.” To commemorate the times they succumbed to his advances, he kept locks of hair from the heads of his sexual partners as mementos (which was actually something people did at the time).

    And to elevate his collection from the rest, he went above and beyond by filling a snuffbox with another type of hair taken from one of his mistresses - a follicular clump of the pubic variety.

    More money than sense?
  • Photo: Samuel Theodor Gericke / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    The Potsdam Giants may sound like a minor league baseball organization, but in fact it was an 18th century Prussian military unit made up solely of exceptionally tall men who were recruited (willingly or otherwise) from various nations. The man responsible for assembling and commanding all these lengthy soldiers was King Frederick William I, who himself was 5 feet, 3 inches tall.

    In a pretty obvious case of overcompensation, he became obsessed with collecting gigantic men and would resort to buying or taking them (even scouting for biggish babies) to bolster his ranks. He treated his troops like toys, showing them off to foreign dignitaries and painting portraits of them while they marched at his command, led by a live bear.

    More money than sense?