By Luke Kenton
This kooky collector has spent over $100,000 (75kGBP) on everything from cereal boxes to He-Man figures, after the tragic death of his parents caused to him to obsess over items from his 1980s childhood.
John-Paul Annunziato, 39, from Morris Park, New York, admits he ‘stopped counting’ after amassing 35,000 pieces of memorabilia that would transform his one-bedroom apartment into a shrine to his favourite decade.
Playing host to over five hundred board games, three hundred Nintendo cartridges and four hundred McDonalds’ happy meal boxes from 1980 to 1989, JP’s messy mecca is stacked from floor to ceiling with eighties odds and ends.
Amassing the huge haul after ten years and a staggering splurge of $100,000 (75kGBP) later, the former nursing home director now pursues his passion full time – even though his increasing collection has forced him out of his bedroom and onto the sofa.
JP, who recently launched a website to showcase his extensive collection, said: “I absolutely love everything about the 1980s, from the fashion to the toys; to the music and movie industries and everything in between – the 80’s was a wild and creative time.
“But it wasn’t until the death of my parents that I really started collecting all of this stuff.
“It became my coping mechanism and way of grieving, what started off as a hobby turned into obsessive compulsive hoarding.
“I started identifying my loved ones through the toys and other memorabilia from my 1980’s childhood.
“One of the first toys I remember from my childhood are Care-Bears and when an elderly lady offered to sell me some for $10 each, I immediately started see my mother within them.
“I believe the psychological term is ‘Object Identification’, which describes how humans find emotional attachments in material possessions.
“It was Care-Bears that started all of this off, and it just snowballed from there.”
After losing his mother and father in quick succession in 2009, JP admits he struggled to deal with the sudden loss, causing his ‘mind to breakdown’.
But the excessive collecting didn’t begin until a number of years later, after two automobile accidents in 2014 left JP virtually immobile.
Bed-bound for most of the time, Bronx-born JP spent hours scouring EBay for forgotten artifacts from a fonder time, with his most expensive coupe standing at $400 (300GBP).
Jumping from 5,000 items to over 35,000 in just two years, JP has now launched his own website ’80sthen80snow.com’ to present his thrift-shop finds to the world.
Amassing a cult following of over 110,000 people in just two months, JP said: “I have five-year-olds following me all the way up to 95-year-olds – it seems everyone shares my love for the 80’s.
“I’ve done the math and if upload five videos per-day, of five items, I’ll have enough videos to keep doing this until 2037.
“So now I’ll only be collecting things that are a real challenge to get or something really rare.
“It [collecting] has changed my life for the better both in the short term and long term.
“In the short term, it helped me cope with grief, but in the long term, it’s given me a chance to re-invent myself and giver back to the world.
“There were times when I really regretted doing this and asked myself ‘what am I doing with my life?’
“But looking back I’m glad I did it, I’m actually proud of it.
“I want to bring a piece of the 80’s back into everyone’s lives.
“This [collecting] worked as long as it did, providing me great comfort at a difficult time.
“But it still provides me with a great feeling of joy, security and comfort.
“So, what’s so great about the project I’m doing, is I’m now giving these emotions and feelings to all of my followers.”