I got the e-mail this morning confirming my updated Guinness World Record. The number to beat is now 101,822.
Dear Bob Bretall
We are thrilled to inform you that your application for Largest collection of comic books has been successful and you are now the Guinness World Records Title Holder!
You will shortly receive your Guinness World Records certificate in the post.
As I’ve said before, records are made to be broken, in this case, I broke my own record!
I fully expect someone to surpass me one day, but they need to do the work! Don’t just shout out on internet message boards that “I have more comics (or know a guy that has more comics)”… Someone can crush this record if they (a) have the comics and (b) put in the leg-work to verify their count with Guinness. I did all the necessary work documenting and verifying my collection and am the 1st (and 2nd and 3rd) person to hold this particular record with Guinness.
Also, I can POTENTIALLY be beat by anyone who is a comic dealer (or has been one at some point in the past) and has acquired large quantities of books in bulk by buying up collections, keeping portions of those bulk buys for their personal collection. That allows access to vast amounts of comics for pennies on the dollar. My main “claim to fame” is having acquired my collection one-by-one as a fan who has never been a dealer and gets them all for his own personal reading enjoyment.
EDIT: I got some interesting data after I posted the initial version of this Blog. A guy who I used to buy comics from mentioned to me on Facebook that he had about 301,000 comics cataloged when he stopped selling back in 2012 and they had converted over to his personal collection. I explained that you could not count duplicates of the same exact comic (but could count variant covers that had a physical difference from the main version; I don’t collect a lot of variant covers, I have a few hundred, but some people collect a lot). You also can’t count comics that do not contain graphic sequential storytelling, which excludes Indexes, Who’s Who, pin-up books, etc.). After de-duplicating his count and removing non-comics, he went from ~301,000 comics to 48,246 unique comics. This is an interesting thing to note for people who cite collections that are or were store inventories. They tend to have a lot of duplications.
What prompted me to update my count?
I got contacted by Guinness a few weeks ago because they’re working on a new book that they want to include me in. They told me they were trying to give the readers a bit more of an insight into the people behind the collections and had a bunch of questions for me (which I happily answered). Prompted by this, I asked them about updating my count. My record total from May 2014 was 94, 268 and I was SO CLOSE to six digits! I had gone a little crazy in the back half of 2014 buying back issues. I added a LOT of stuff to my collection and filled in a lot of gaps. I also add anywhere from 100 to 150 new comics every month, just what I read “off the rack” to keep current on comics.
So, I was curious, what was my actual total now? I hadn’t run a total from my database in a LONG time (in fact, not since May 2014!!) So I did just that (after spending time to add all the comics in my “to read” pile into the database so I could squeeze in every last book that was in my house on the date I did the re-count for verification. Good thing, I had 553 unread comics awaiting my attention! I need to get to those!
And the total came out to be 101, 822!! I had sailed past the 100,000 mark probably somewhere around March 2015.
Working with the same guy at Guinness who verified my collection last time I was able to send updated pictures, database listings, and affidavits to get my record count updated (they thankfully didn’t make me re-do the public event!).
Having a collection this size takes a few things:
- Space – you’re not going to house 100,000+ comics in a small apartment. Having the actual available space to keep them is the #1 consideration.
- Support – I know a LOT of people who don’t have the full support of their family. If there is a spouse who is always badgering them to “get rid of that stuff” a big collection is just not going to happen. I am blessed to have the support of my family and friends.
- Structure – You need to be organized and have a very structured way of tracking and organizing everything you have. It’s critical to being able to manage your collection and find the stuff you have in it and it’s important to have this because you need to have a very structured and verifiable set of records for the people at Guinness to audit if you want to make a run at the record!
…And now, let me go read a comic (Prez #2 is on top of my “to read pile” right now). I’ve got over 500 comics to read!!!
Bob Bretall: firstname.lastname@example.org
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