13 collections of U.S. presidents that range from normal to super weird

Contributed by
Nov 8, 2016, 5:18 PM EST

If I were president of the United States of America, I'd collect something really weird. Like classified UFO documents, political refugees from every single country, or nuclear launch codes. Which is why it's interesting that most American presidents had collections that were more mainstream, although a few had ones almost as weird as the things I've listed.


Thomas Jefferson - Mastodon Bones

One of the United States founding fathers had a healthy obsession with a cousin of the woolly mammoth, the American mastodon. In fact, Thomas Jefferson was convinced that the unexplored regions of North America still had mastodons running around spearing their tusks into stuff. As such, he spent a great deal of time collecting and piecing together mastodon fossils. There was more to this fascination than simply scientific curiosity: Jefferson felt that erecting a skeleton of the mighty mastodon would help deter European powers from invading. I'm not sure that the best means of border defense was trying to convince foreign powers his nation had some sort of Jurassic Park thing going on.


Gerald Ford - Stamps

President Ford was an avid stamp collector. In 2007, he was posthumously honored with his likeness placed on a 41-cent postage stamp. This leaves me to wonder... is this the ultimate goal of stamp collecting? After all, most baseball card-hoarding children aspire to have their own major league likeness place on rectangular cardboard. Obama collected Spider Man comics and everntually graced the cover. And, as we all know, every big game collector dreams of having their severed head mounted on a wooden plaque.


Lyndon B. Johnson - Weird Vehicles

LBJ enjoyed collecting unusual motor vehicles. From donkey carts to old fire trucks, Johnson amassed quite a variety. His favorite was probably his amphibious car. Johnson would take unsuspecting guests for a ride, act like the brakes were cut, then drive it into a lake. Come to think of it, LBJ driving head-on with no brakes into the red sea is a perfect analogy for his approach to communism.


Dwight D. Eisenhower - Recipes

During lulls in the war on communism, Eisenhower liked to relax by cooking. Although, frankly, it seems like he didn't really enjoy "cooking" so much as "dumping a bunch of good ingredients together." For example, his egg nog recipe calls only for eggs, whip cream, coffee creamer, sugar, and whiskey. I suppose this works if you have some really cheap whiskey and need to add a bunch of stuff to mask the taste, however my favorite cheap whiskey recipe calls for equal parts whiskey and my own salty tears.


Calvin Coolidge - Exotic Pets

Calvin Coolidge was the most eccentric president in terms of the pets he kept, amassing a small zoo of unusual White House wildlife. In all, he was known to have a bobcat, a goose, a donkey, an antelope, a wallaby, and a pygmy. He also kept two lion cubs, which seems like exactly the kind of shortsightedness you don't want in a president.


Barack Obama - Comic Books

In a widely-circulated document, the current U.S. president appealed to grassroots organizers by professing his love for Spider Man and Conan the Barbarian. There is no word on exactly how big his collection is, or if he owns any super-rare issues (or had to sell it to pay for law school like his recent Supreme Court Justice nominee). However, Marvel was so honored by his hobby that they put Obama on the cover of the Amazing Spider Man. I see a pattern here, Conan-actor Arnold Schwarzenegger becomes governor... Obama becomes President... We should all expect Peter Parker to become Speaker of the House of Representatives soon.


Harry S. Truman - Records

Harry S. Truman was an avid audiophile who built up an impressive record collection. In all, Truman amassed nearly 700 records. Expressing distaste for current music, Truman mainly focused on attaining records of classical music and songs from his youth. He turned out to be dead on in regards to his disregard for modern (at the time) music, as barely anyone listens to 1940s war hymnals anymore. 


George W. Bush - Nude Self Portraits

Hoping to find a way to pass the time in between giving speeches for a small fortune, the U.S.' 43rd president has taken up portrait painting. Most are mild in subject: paintings of leaders, animals, etc. However, in 2014 it was leaked that George W. Bush liked to paint portraits of himself in the bath and shower. It turns out, hacking an ex-president's account to publish his nude self-portraits is frowned upon, and the Romanian hacker responsible was sent to jail for four years.


Teddy Roosevelt - Animal Parts

Everybody knows Roosevelt liked to stalk the African jungles, shooting anything that moved. But you just can't claim that you killed thousands of exotic animals without proof to back it up. So Teddy would collect souvenir parts of his game. When his collection grew too big, he would dump it all at the Smithsonian. Come to think of it, the Smithsonian could have made a killing back then, had they opened an adjunct butcher shop.


Thomas Jefferson - Books

In 1770, the family home of Thomas Jefferson caught fire. While this tragedy was no doubt hard on the Jeffersons, it ultimately proved to be a boon to the fledgling nation Thomas worked to found. Lamenting the loss of his book collection, Jefferson worked tirelessly to amass a new library. By the early 1800s, Jefferson had more books than any other person in the United States. In 1814, the British burned down the Library of Congress. Jefferson was quick to help out by selling his collection of over 6,400 books for a price worth $330,000 dollars in modern money (because when you help found a capitalist country it's only fair you should earn dividends).


Jimmy Carter - Old Bottles

Jimmy Carter had a penchant for bottles, as is evidenced by this bottle opener. From the looks of his collection, he valued unusually shaped bottles highly. His brother, Billy, used to collect bottles too, however his focus was on empty ones.


Harry S. Truman - Striking Shoes

Harry S. Truman was a dapper gentleman who liked to fill his closets with unusual shoes. From multi-colored sneakers to striking loafers, the only thing linking all of them seems to be "they all look like you would bowl in them."


FDR - Model Ships

FDR's interest in the sea dates back to far before the Great Depression put the entire U.S. economy underwater. By 1941, he had amassed over 400 replica boats. Now, I know what you are probably thinking, "if he's so into boats, then how come he never got his sea legs?" in which case I just want to say: You disgust me.