Most people collect something, be it perfume bottles, vinyl records, or in my case, Beanie Babies in the ’90s and yoga props now. Having a collection can bring joy and comfort, knowing that if you’ve had a bad day, your favorite things are there to make you feel just a bit better.
No one knows that better than 68-year-old Jackie Miley. Her thousands — yes, thousands — of teddy bears are the ultimate comfort collection. And now, her 8,026 bears have earned her a spot in the Guinness World Records 2018 book for the world’s largest collection of teddy bears.
The origins of the teddy bear can be traced back to 1902, but Miley’s collection began in 2000 when she won a bear later named “Grandma Jackie” while on vacation. Now the Rapid City, South Dakota native has thousands of the stuffed animals.
“I never had a teddy bear as a child — didn’t even know what one was until I was eight-years-old and saw one at the Minnesota State Fair,” Miley told Guinness World Records.
Clearly, she knows all about them now. In order to grow her collection, she began visiting stores and thrift shops and continued buying them when she traveled.
Once Miley had nearly 3,000 teddy bears, friends started asking her if she had submitted her collection to Guinness World Records. After the eighth person asked, she finally did.
Miley’s collection features pretty much any teddy bear you can imagine. The smallest is 3/4 of an inch tall, while the largest is nearly 8 feet tall. The bears come from all 50 states and 29 countries. Her oldest bear is from 1905, making it 112-years-old!
The collection is so large, it’s even a tourist attraction named Teddy Bear Town in Hill City, South Dakota. It’s free to see the bears, as the attraction runs on donations.
Miley says that although she doesn’t have a favorite, there is one in bear that holds a lot of sentimental value because someone bought it for her from her school.
“They took the time to find my school picture (age 7) and pinned it to the bear. I was raised in foster homes and when I moved from one place to another, all my photos got lost so that picture is the only school picture I have,” she said.
While Miley finds her teddy bears comforting (who wouldn’t?!), one reason she is passionate about her collection is because she enjoys sharing it with the public.
You can take a tour of her teddy bear collection in the video below:
Other Record-Breaking Collections
Miley isn’t the only person with a pretty interesting World Record collection. A woman in India holds the world record for stickers, with 102,317 as of 2013. Another woman in Germany has 19,571 erasers, all of them being non-duplicates.
There are also world records for key chains, model cars and even someone who collects Guinness World Records memorabilia and holds the world record for largest collection of Guinness World Records’ yearly books.
Whoa, that’s meta.
You can purchase the 2018 Guinness World Record book now.
Have your own collection that might just be a world record? You can submit to the Guinness World Records by filling out this form.