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Who has the largest collection of phones?

Who has the largest collection of phones?

Phones have become an integral part of our lives. With the advancement of technology, phones have evolved from simple communication devices to smart gadgets with features like high-resolution cameras, large storage space, fast processors, and internet connectivity. This has led many people to develop an interest in collecting phones as a hobby. Some collectors have amassed thousands of phones over the years from brands like Apple, Samsung, Nokia, Motorola and more. But who has the world’s largest phone collection?

Hanspeter Luzi

One of the most well-known phone collectors is Hanspeter Luzi from Switzerland. He started collecting phones in 1998 and over the past two decades has accumulated over 3,400 different models. His collection spans everything from early handsets of the 80s to the latest flagship smartphones. Some interesting pieces include the Nokia 7650 with a circular keypad, the Motorola DynaTAC 8000x which was the first commercially available handheld cellular phone, and rare prototypes of the iPhone.

Luzi stores and maintains his vast collection in a dedicated museum space in Switzerland. Each phone is carefully cataloged with information like year of release, manufacturer, and operating system. Luzi continues to actively search for new specimens at phone fairs and eBay auctions to add to his treasure trove. His ultimate goal is to have at least one model from every manufacturer in his collection.

Paul Mercer

Another well-known name in the phone collector community is Paul Mercer from the United Kingdom. He started amassing his collection in 2006 which now consists of over 2,500 unique phones. His interest was sparked after coming across a retro Nokia phone at a car boot sale. Since then he has tirelessly hunted eBay listings and other sources to expand his stockpile.

Some of the highlights of Mercer’s collection include the Nokia 9000 Communicator from 1996 which featured email capabilities, and the iPhone first generation model. He also has many rare prototypes and phones produced exclusively for the Japanese market. In addition to searching online, Mercer frequents recycling plants and rubbish dumps to recover discarded devices and add them to his growing museum.

Other Notable Collectors

While Luzi and Mercer have two of the biggest known phone collections, there are several other collectors around the world with impressive stashes:

Collector Number of phones Location
Ravi Meshram Over 2,000 India
Paul Bradley Over 1,500 UK
Val Kolpakov Over 1,200 Canada

Ravi Meshram is an IT professional from India who has amassed over 2,000 phones. His collection began in 2003 and he especially enjoys collecting old Nokia and Motorola models. Paul Bradley from the UK has a collection of over 1,500 mobiles. He originally started collecting as a way to recycle old phones but it soon became a passion. Val Kolpakov, a system analyst from Canada, has accumulated over 1,200 phones over the past two decades including many rare finds.

Online Phone Museums

Along with individuals, there are now dedicated online museums and databases that document phone models and help collectors. Two of the most extensive online collections are:

  • The Mobile Phone Museum – Has detailed information on over 3,700 mobiles. Allows users to browse by manufacturer, year, and operating system.
  • Guide To Vintage Mobiles – Database of over 5,000 phones. Includes photos and comprehensive specs on both common and obscure models.

These online museums act as enormous catalogs that collectors can leverage to identify models and learn more about different phones.

Factors Driving Large Collections

There are several factors that motivate and assist collectors in amassing thousands of phones:

  • Passion for technology – Many collectors simply have a deep passion for understanding the evolution of phones and preserving technological history.
  • Nostalgia – Old and vintage phones remind people of earlier eras and hold sentimental value.
  • Investment opportunity – Rare and prototype phones can be worth large sums of money for collectors.
  • Cheap availability – Phones are ubiquitous and older models can often be bought in bulk for low prices.
  • Dedicated marketplaces – Collectors can easily buy and sell amongst each other through marketplaces like eBay.

Highlight Pieces Across Collections

While collectors often target more common phones from major manufacturers, the rarest and most valuable models include:

Phone Year Significance
Motorola DynaTAC 8000x 1983 First commercially available handheld cellular phone
Nokia Mobira Senator 1982 One of the earliest mobile phones
Apple iPhone First Generation 2007 Revolutionary first iPhone model
Nokia 9000 Communicator 1996 Featured advanced PDA capabilities for the time
IBM Simon Personal Communicator 1992 Considered the first smartphone

These and other pioneering models from the 80s and 90s are highly coveted by collectors due to their historical significance and rarity. Many also collect phones used by historical figures and celebrities.

Challenges in Collecting Phones

While collecting phones as hobby can be deeply satisfying, there are also some challenges that collectors face:

  • Storage space – As collections grow to thousands of units, adequate storage and space becomes an issue.
  • Organization – With so many models, properly cataloging and organizing them is difficult.
  • Restoration – Old and used phones often need servicing and part replacements.
  • Powering on phones – Charging old phones with obsolete sockets is a challenge.
  • Procuring rare models – Finding and affording rare prototypes can be extremely difficult.

Dedicated collectors have to get creative with solutions such as multi-tier shelving, custom cataloging software, parts fabrication through 3D printing, and battery retrofitting to keep their massive collections intact.


Phone collecting has grown from an obscure hobby to a passion for thousands around the world. Swiss collector Hanspeter Luzi currently holds the largest known collection of over 3,400 phones. However collectors like Paul Mercer, Ravi Meshram and others also have expansive collections numbering in the thousands. Online museums have also cataloged thousands of mobiles. The earliest models from the 80s and rare prototypes are the most prized by collectors. While supporting a massive collection presents challenges, dedicated collectors continue to be fascinated by the evolution of phones.