Umbrella Cover Museum

Nancy 3. Hoffman is a self-confessed eccentric. For a start, she decided to legally change her middle name to '3'. She's a professional accordion player, which is definitely an unusual occupation. And then she created the world's only Umbrella Cover Museum on Peaks Island, Maine in 1996. The museum is still going strong. Due to Covid, it had an outdoor exhibit this year.

Back in 2012, Guinness recognized Nancy 3 for having the largest collection of umbrella covers in the world. At the time that was 730. She now has around 2000 covers.

More info: Maine Today, twitter

Posted By: Alex - Sat Sep 05, 2020 - Comments (4)
Category: Museums, Collectors

The rare 1943 copper penny

1943 copper pennies are among the most-sought after coins by collectors. In 2010, one of them sold for $1.7 million. Although around $200,000 seems to be what most of them fetch.

The reason for their value is that so few of them exist. In 1943, due to the war, pennies were made out of zinc-coated steel. But somehow approximately 40 copper ones were made by accident.

For several decades the US Mint denied the existence of 1943 copper pennies (see news clipping below). It wasn't until a few showed up, and were authenticated by experts, that the mint changed its tune. Now it states:

Approximately 40 1943 copper–alloy cents are known to remain in existence. Coin experts speculate that they were struck by accident when copper–alloy 1–cent blanks remained in the press hopper when production began on the new steel pennies.

Some strange rumors have circulated about the 1943 copper pennies. Such as that if you found one the Ford motor company would give you a free car. Not true, though if you find one, you could afford to buy quite a few cars. And a few of these pennies are potentially still in circulation.

More info:

Battle Creek Enquirer - Mar 7, 1963

Posted By: Alex - Mon Jul 13, 2020 - Comments (3)
Category: Money, Collectors, 1940s

The Man Who Stole Art

The strange tale of Stéphane Breitweiser, arguably the world's greatest art thief, who managed to steal hundreds of works valued, in total, at well over one billion dollars.

His success was largely attributable to a a loophole in the world of art security: that there's not much security on the front-end (in the museums). Instead, as Michael Finkel notes in a Feb 2019 article in GQ, "art crimes are typically solved on the back end, when the thieves try to sell the work."

And that's why Breitweiser managed to get away with his thefts for so long, because he never tried to sell anything. He stole because he loved the art and wanted to have it for himself, accumulating it all in his mother's house, where he lived.

His case reminds me of Joseph Feldman, who stole over 15,000 books from the New York Public Library, simply because he loved books. It suggests a recurring weird-news theme: thieves who steal not from a profit motive, but instead to indulge their obsessive collecting.

Stéphane Breitweiser

Posted By: Alex - Sun Jul 28, 2019 - Comments (3)
Category: Art, Crime, Collectors

Poop Slinger - The Game

It doesn’t exactly look like the most sophisticated game. So why are copies of Poop Slinger selling for close to $3000 on eBay? Because it’s the rarest PlayStation 4 game in existence. Only 84 copies were ever sold, making it a collector’s item.

Read the full story at:

Posted By: Alex - Tue Jul 16, 2019 - Comments (2)
Category: Overpriced Merchandise, Excrement, Collectors, Videogames and Gamers

The Amazing License Plate Collection of Paul Franke

By chance, I recently happened to meet a fellow San Diegan, Paul Franke, who has in his garage a collection of 22,000 license plates. Of course, I was interested in seeing that, and he was kind enough to invite me over and spend an afternoon showing it to me.

I hadn't realized how popular license plate collecting is. The Automobile License Plate Collectors Association has almost 3000 members, and it holds an annual national convention, as well as smaller regional ones. But even within this large community of collectors, Paul's collection of 22,000 plates is very impressive.

Guinness lists the largest collection of license plates in the world as being that of Péter and Tamás Kenyeres who have 11,345 plates. Seeing that, I wondered if Paul actually had the true world record. But no, he assures me that Guinness is wrong. While his collection is undeniably large, he doubts it's even the biggest in San Diego County, and this BBC article indicates there's a collector in Florida with over 50,000 plates.

Paul stores his license plates thematically. Along one wall (above left) he has boxes of plates arranged by state. (He long ago acquired plates from every state.) On another wall (above right) he has boxes of plates with more random themes. For instance, he has a box of error plates. Can you spot the errors in the examples below?

(scroll to the bottom of this post for the answers)

More in extended >>

Posted By: Alex - Thu May 02, 2019 - Comments (1)
Category: Motor Vehicles, Collectors

Underwear Trading Cards

An idea recently introduced by Hanes, which is putting trading cards featuring Michael Jordan modeling underwear into packs of their men's underwear. From the press release:

Beginning March 11, more than 800,000 specially marked bonus packs of Hanes men’s underwear, including Comfort Flex Fit boxer briefs, will contain a pack of 30th Anniversary Michael Jordan trading cards. A total of 170 different Fleer trading cards have been produced by The Upper Deck Company, each with a picture of Jordan from one of his Hanes advertisements on the front and vital statistics and fun facts on the back. Cards are inserted randomly in five-card packs. Ten lucky consumers will find a rare Michael Jordan autograph card in their packs.

If there's a total of 170 different cards, how much underwear would you need to buy to get them all?

Posted By: Alex - Thu Mar 21, 2019 - Comments (0)
Category: Collectors, Underwear

Spoon Planet

You will spend some fun time browsing the commemorative spoons at Spoon Planet. I want this Rockette one.

Now, when someone says, "I don't have enough spoons to get through the day," you can send them here!

Posted By: Paul - Thu Feb 28, 2019 - Comments (1)
Category: Ineptness, Crudity, Talentlessness, Kitsch, and Bad Art, Collectors

The man who stole 15,000 library books

Over the course of a decade, from around 1965 to 1975, Joseph Feldman managed to steal 15,000 books from the New York Public Library. He was caught when firemen entered his Greenwich Village apartment while responding to an alarm in his building and discovered all the books, piled up everywhere. When asked why he had taken them all, Feldman responded, “I like to read.”

Arizona Daily Star - Sep 27, 1975

In the 21st century, playwright Erika Mijlin was inspired to write a play, Feldman and the Infinite, about the incident. It was first performed in 2008. Her description of it:

In 1975, Feldman, a 58-year-old lawyer in New York City, was discovered to have stolen 15,000 books from the New York Public Library. He had rented two or three apartments in the West Village specifically to store these books, and it took 20 men, 7 truckloads over 3 days to remove them all. Feldman and the Infinite is a play that ultimately invents Feldman’s motives, and speculates about the universality of his quest - seeking knowledge and enlightenment, and finding what appears to be randomness and chaos.

And below, a video clip of the performance.

Posted By: Alex - Thu Jan 31, 2019 - Comments (2)
Category: Crime, Books, Libraries, Collectors, 1970s


In addition to creating works of his own, artist Barton Lidice Benes collected random, weird stuff, which is detailed in his 2002 book Curiosa: Celebrity Relics, Historical Fossils, and Other Metamorphic Rubbish. Seems like it could be of interest to WUvies! Some of the items include:

  • Larry Hagman’s gallstone
  • a straw used by Monica Lewinsky
  • a statue of the Virgin Mary made out of dollar bills
  • a penny found in Sigmund Freud’s couch
  • a piece of coal from the Titanic
  • a cross made out of nails from the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas
  • a fork used by actor Steven Van Zandt of The Sopranos
  • Gore Vidal’s swizzle stick and coaster
  • Art Buchwald’s toothpick
After Benes died in 2012, the North Dakota Museum of Art received much of his collection.

More info: wikipedia,

Posted By: Alex - Thu Dec 27, 2018 - Comments (1)
Category: Art, Collectors

Page 1 of 5 pages  1 2 3 >  Last ›

weird universe thumbnail
Who We Are
Alex Boese
Alex is the creator and curator of the Museum of Hoaxes. He's also the author of various weird, non-fiction, science-themed books such as Elephants on Acid and Psychedelic Apes.

Paul Di Filippo
Paul has been paid to put weird ideas into fictional form for over thirty years, in his career as a noted science fiction writer. He has recently begun blogging on many curious topics with three fellow writers at The Inferior 4+1.

Contact Us
Monthly Archives
September 2020 •  August 2020 •  July 2020 •  June 2020 •  May 2020 •  April 2020 •  March 2020 •  February 2020 •  January 2020

December 2019 •  November 2019 •  October 2019 •  September 2019 •  August 2019 •  July 2019 •  June 2019 •  May 2019 •  April 2019 •  March 2019 •  February 2019 •  January 2019

December 2018 •  November 2018 •  October 2018 •  September 2018 •  August 2018 •  July 2018 •  June 2018 •  May 2018 •  April 2018 •  March 2018 •  February 2018 •  January 2018

December 2017 •  November 2017 •  October 2017 •  September 2017 •  August 2017 •  July 2017 •  June 2017 •  May 2017 •  April 2017 •  March 2017 •  February 2017 •  January 2017

December 2016 •  November 2016 •  October 2016 •  September 2016 •  August 2016 •  July 2016 •  June 2016 •  May 2016 •  April 2016 •  March 2016 •  February 2016 •  January 2016

December 2015 •  November 2015 •  October 2015 •  September 2015 •  August 2015 •  July 2015 •  June 2015 •  May 2015 •  April 2015 •  March 2015 •  February 2015 •  January 2015

December 2014 •  November 2014 •  October 2014 •  September 2014 •  August 2014 •  July 2014 •  June 2014 •  May 2014 •  April 2014 •  March 2014 •  February 2014 •  January 2014

December 2013 •  November 2013 •  October 2013 •  September 2013 •  August 2013 •  July 2013 •  June 2013 •  May 2013 •  April 2013 •  March 2013 •  February 2013 •  January 2013

December 2012 •  November 2012 •  October 2012 •  September 2012 •  August 2012 •  July 2012 •  June 2012 •  May 2012 •  April 2012 •  March 2012 •  February 2012 •  January 2012

December 2011 •  November 2011 •  October 2011 •  September 2011 •  August 2011 •  July 2011 •  June 2011 •  May 2011 •  April 2011 •  March 2011 •  February 2011 •  January 2011

December 2010 •  November 2010 •  October 2010 •  September 2010 •  August 2010 •  July 2010 •  June 2010 •  May 2010 •  April 2010 •  March 2010 •  February 2010 •  January 2010

December 2009 •  November 2009 •  October 2009 •  September 2009 •  August 2009 •  July 2009 •  June 2009 •  May 2009 •  April 2009 •  March 2009 •  February 2009 •  January 2009

December 2008 •  November 2008 •  October 2008 •  September 2008 •  August 2008 •  July 2008 •