Man breaks Guinness World Record for largest collection of nativity sets

An Iowa man has broken the Guinness World Record for the largest collection of nativity sets.
Published: Sep. 19, 2023 at 1:08 PM CDT
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WASHINGTON, Iowa (KCRG/Gray News) - A man in Iowa has found a place in the Guinness World Records for the size of his nativity set collection.

Mike Zahs displayed his entire collection as part of the Tour of Homes event coordinated by the Washington Chamber of Commerce last December.

KCRG reports the collection of 2,539 scenes took six weeks to set up.

After setting up, Zahs and his friends submitted 19 videos, 102 photos, a 227-page listing of inventory, and 11 media articles covering the display. The group also answered a question sheet and provided two witness statements, all reviewed by the Guinness World Records.

Guinness describes the record as “the largest number of items of a single subject in a private, personal collection and [it] is measured by the number of unique items in the collection that meet [the criteria for the record].”

Zahs began collecting the scenes in the 1950s. The displays come from more than 100 different countries, the majority of them handcrafted.

Following review of the evidence submitted, Zahs is now the current record holder for the Largest Collection of Nativity Sets, with a record of 2,324 nativities. (Zahs has a collection of 2,539 nativity scenes, but some did not qualify for the record, as each was required to have Mary, Joseph, Jesus, and at least one angel, three wise men, shepherd, animal, star, or a stable.)