Neil Scallan comes to Sydney to collect his 2000th Monopoly set
Tuesday, 10th October, 2017
NEIL Scallan's hobby started innocently enough. The Englishman was on a holiday more than a decade ago when he decided to forgo the usual keepsakes such as a tea towel or a fridge magnet and bought a souvenir edition of Monopoly instead.
Eleven years and 1,999 Monopoly sets later, Scallan freely admits his harmless hobby has grown into an obsession.
The 48-year-old service manager with logistics company DHL is on his way to Australia where he will collect his 2000th edition, BridgeClimb Monopoly, on the Sydney Harbour Bridge on Thursday.
"It is one of the most iconic structures in the world," Mr Scallan said from his Sussex home. "Where else, after 11 years of collecting, would I want to get my 2000th set?"
Mr Scallan holds a Guinness World Record for the biggest collection of Monopoly sets and, although his hobby has already cost him $200,000, he is constantly scouring online markets for new or rare editions.
While most people are familiar with the standard board game, there are thousands of custom varieties available, manufactured by Winning Moves and usually produced in limited numbers.
"I don't think there is any game with more variations than Monopoly," he said.
"My favourite is the Hong Kong handover edition which was made to commemorate the handover of Hong Kong to China. The Kinder chocolate set is another favourite of mine."
The most sought-after set was made to mark the millionth Monopoly game on the market.
"Only 100 sets were made - that's the one everyone wants," he said.
Another rare set is the Mosman edition, custom-made to raise money for charity last year.
As a serious collector, most of Mr Scallan's sets are sealed in their original packaging and have never been played. While he enjoys collecting, Mr Scallan admits he's not a huge fan of the game itself.
"The game can go on for many hours so there aren't that many people who would want to play with me so, no, I don't really play Monopoly," he said. "Most of my sets are sealed. I don't even know what's inside them."
The collection overtook his flat to the point where he had to sleep in a certain position to accommodate the games piling up in his bedroom. Now they have been moved to a secure storage facility nearby where they are all kept neatly stacked and in order.
Unfortunately for Mr Scallan, his "very tolerant" girlfriend doesn't share his passion for collecting.
"Every time we go away she says, 'no Monopoly, no Monopoly' but if I see a new set, it's hard to resist," he said.