Famous Collections From The Last Century

Starting a collection of anything offers a great thrill; the knowledge that you're retaining pieces of history for posterity is something any preservation-minded individual can take satisfaction in. Nonetheless, some people take the hobby a great deal further than others. Whether you're considering collecting coins, guitars or fine gems, look hard enough and you'll find someone who' has dedicated their life to curating. Read on to find out about three of the most impressive collections we could find, as well as the collectors who forged them.

The Eliasberg coin collection
Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr.  was a businessman from Baltimore, Maryland, who spent the better part of  half a century curating one of the most impressive coin collections known to man. Born in the late nineteenth century, Eliasberg collected extensively from the early 1920s until his death in 1976. His collection included, among other gems, a 1913 Liberty Head Nickel, an 1804 Silver Dollar and an 1870-S Three Dollar Gold Piece. He is the only person ever known to put together an entire set of circulating United States coins by both date and mint. His collection was sold across three numismatic auctions in 1982, 1996 and 1997, respectively for a total of over $57 million.

Richard Gere's guitar collection
Though he's almost definitely best known for being the male lead in "Pretty Woman," Richard Gere also devoted a significant portion of his life to compiling an astounding collection of guitars and amplifiers. A self-taught guitarist and pianist who studied trumpet as a child, Gere auctioned his collection of axes in October of 2011 at an event that attracted a handful of celebrity presences, including Steve Miller of Steve Miller Band fame. The single highest-auctioning lot was a 1960 Gibson Les Paul that went for $98,500, and the entirety of the collection brought in $936,438.

Elizabeth Taylor's diamond collection
It requires a great deal of monetary and personal investment to curate an impressive collection of nearly anything, let alone precious gems. Elizabeth Taylor, a child star who became an iconic actress with MGM, had a diamond collection to rival any other, capped off by the prestigious Krupp Diamond. The diamond was purchased by Richard Burton in 1968 as a gift for Taylor. At the time it was sold for $305,000, which, accounting for inflation, would today be about $2.1 million. To give context to the value of her collection, a less valuable diamond from her set, also a gift from Burton and now known as the Taylor-Burton diamond, was auctioned in 1978 to fund construction of a hospital in Botswana.