On a quiet road in South Wales, there is a house that looks the same as all the others. But once you open the door, it leads to a whole other world... a wizarding world!
Mum of three Victoria Maclean from Neath (UK) has the world's largest collection of Wizarding World memorabilia, with a staggering 3,686 pieces tucked away in her home.
More than just the cupboard under the stairs is occupied with Victoria's collection - in fact one room of her house is packed full of boxes, trunks and drawers stuffed to bursting with J.K Rowling's Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts memorabilia.
After more than 18 years of collecting, Victoria was teeming with anticipation to see if her collection would secure her the record title she'd had her eyes on for so long.
Careful counting and measuring took place, including photographic evidence of each individual item (all 3,686 of them!), before Guinness World Records was able to verify Victoria's record.
"What does it feel like to have this record? It’s unbelievable! It’s the best thing ever, it’s the biggest achievement so far in my life."
The collection had to be assessed and counted by two independent witnesses, one of whom was a specialist in official Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts merchandise.
Adjudicator Sofia Greenacre awarded Victoria with her certificate at her home, before taking a look at the collection.
Interestingly, Victoria wasn't a J.K Rowling fan from the very beginning and hadn't read any Harry Potter books until she picked up Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone in 2001, four years after it was first published.
"Everyone kept going on about this wonderful boy wizard, this amazing story that people were becoming immersed in that took you away to somewhere magical. I finally gave in in 2001, I picked up the first book and have never looked back since."
Starting with her copy of the first book, of Victoria soon began collecting Harry Potter merchandise, which has since spread into the world of Fantastic Beasts.
"It has taken me 18 years, since I was the age of 21, to collect everything."
Some of Victoria's items were especially hard to come by. Her favourite and rarest piece is a 24-carat gold plated golden snitch puzzle from Japan.
"I think it came out around the time of Chamber of Secrets. 5,000 of them were made and to get hold of that took me about six months. But don't take it apart, because it's really hard to put back together!"
Victoria's collection includes:
- 26 pop vinyls
- 6 snow globes
- 115 Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts pin badges
- 34 wands
- 302 Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts postcards
- 114 Harry Potter books
Victoria's dedication to her record attempt echoes her motivated character and an unwillingness to let adversity hold her back.
"I have disabilities – I have dyslexia dyspraxia, ADHD and SPLD. Unfortunately that leaves me with a lot of problems with things like educational learning, putting things into categories or being able to do things the same as an average person," explained Victoria.
"However when someone tells me I can’t do something, even because I’ve got disabilities, I’m the type of person that would show them" she continued.
"No matter what’s wrong, what disabilities you have, if you believe you can achieve it, then go for it. Nothing is holding you back."
Victoria also shared that there was another book besides Harry Potter she used to read - Guinness World Records!
"Because I’m dyslexic, my mum used to buy me the Guinness World Records books every Christmas. Because of my disabilities, I found it really hard to read a book.
"But they [the Guinness World Records books] were so beautifully illustrated and only had a small amount of writing but so many colourful pictures. It was a fascinating world to be immersed in. I loved the Guinness World Records."
There was just one other question that remains unanswered: what house does the world's biggest Wizarding World collector belong to?
"I associate being a Ravenclaw and a Slytherin... I think I’d be a Slytherclaw!"
Harry Potter collection
Victoria's collection includes Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts items.
The largest collection of Harry Potter memorabilia stands at 3,097 and has been held by Menahem Asher Silva Vargas of Mexico City (Mexico) since 5 November 2013.
Menahem says his favorite item is a circular wall ornament that contains a photo of Harry in the Chamber of Secrets, given to him by his mother as a gift for Children's Day.