Rotating puzzle superfan breaks record with enormous collection
Florian Kastenmeier (Germany) is 40, lives in Bavaria and is the owner of a very impressive collection.
Over several years, Florian has assembled the largest collection of rotating puzzles in the world, counting a whopping number of 1,519 puzzles of all shapes and sizes.
His pieces range from classic Rubik's cubes to colorful ones in the shape of balls, houses and even fruit.
Florian's house in Mindelheim has a whole room dedicated to just his puzzles, although he thinks the room is getting too small for the continuously growing collection.
The lack of space doesn't deter him, however, and he keeps searching for the rarest and most interesting pieces with his wife and his children.
His family and friends are supportive of his hobby, and have celebrated with Florian the special moment of seeing his name printed in the Guinness World Records 2023 book.
"It's incredible. A great feeling," Florian says regarding his record title.
"Knowing that you've achieved something that nobody had done before you is incredible."
Largest collection of rotating puzzles
Florian’s passion for collecting rotating puzzles began like many other incredible stories: by coincidence.
Although he used to own some Rubik's cubes as a child, he couldn’t solve them and often lost interest in the puzzles.
But that all changed 16 years ago, when Florian found an old Rubik’s cube in the attic while moving house.
It was likely one of those very cubes he had disregarded as a child and that had been abandoned for years. Now, however, the puzzle presented a whole new challenge.
"I just had to solve it," Florian recalled.
"I was so excited that I found myself needing more and more of it. New cubes, new challenges."
Florian with certificate
In general, Florian prefers the vintage puzzles from the '80s to the modern ones. He believes that "the older puzzles have a story and a character."
"The new ones are usually only cheap mass goods," he says.
"That's why I don't just have cubes made of plastic. I also have some made of metal, or I especially like my cubes made of wood."
A notable item in Florian’s collection, for example, is a tennis ball-shaped rotating puzzle.
He received it from tennis champion Boris Becker during the German retro-show Die 80er.
Becker, among other accolades racked up through the years, won his first Wimbledon title at 17. He followed to win three Wimbledon Championships and an Olympic gold.
It's no surprise, then, that owning a puzzle gifted and signed by the tennis player represents one of the highlights of Florian's collection.
Florian's collection counts several different shapes, from spheres to pyramids.
Among the collector's many different rotating puzzles we can find:
A pricey Rubik's Cube from the very first production line. It was made in Hungary and dates back to 1977.
House shaped cubes
Fruit shaped cubes
Branded Rubik's cubes from the likes of Mercedes, Disney and Harry Potter
Plenty of Florian’s cubes have a story and unique characteristics that go beyond the mere differences in material and shape.
He buys the majority of his cubes online, sourced from shops and collectors located in every corner of the world.
From the older pieces to the newest additions to his collection, all the puzzles have a story and come with fun anecdotes. Sometimes, they signify historical events from the past century.
That’s the case of the cube representing the wedding of Lady Diana and King Charles.
"I got it from England, from a lady who dissolved her collection of souvenirs of the Royal Family. I told her I'd take the puzzle, and she found it a little crazy."
Florian showing one of his cubes
There's one item that Florian would like to add his collection above all others is cube number one - the prototype of Ernő Rubik's cube.
The very first Rubik's cube was made of two faces of wood held together by paperclips and a rubber band. That first wooden, fairly simple puzzle, then evolved into the final prototype in 1974: a 3x3 cube held together by screws.
The unique object was meant to "defy the laws of possibility" and soon became a success.
After its Hungarian release in 1977, Rubik's "Magic Cube" was released worldwide in 1980.
Did you know that the original 1974 prototype had its corners cut off because the cube was "too big and difficult to use"?
When he’s not searching for collectables, Florian also buys Rubik's cubes whenever he travels abroad. His friends and family too never have to struggle for his presents: they are always happy to gift Florian with new puzzles to solve.
Just like his passion for Rubik's cubes, fame begun with a lucky coincidence: a local German newspaper found Florian while looking for quirky and interesting collections, and wrote an article about it.
"A famous German newspaper was searching for crazy collections. There I applied for and suddenly I had attracted Germany-wide attention."
On the back of that national recognition, the fame (and numbers!) of Florian's collection quickly snowballed.
"After that, my collection quickly grew even more because people were writing to me and sending me their cubes," Florian explains.
Soon, Florian's collection gainer international recognition and an official record title verification from Guinness World Records followed suit.
Florian holding his puzzles
However, puzzles have to share Florian’s time with his other hobbies.
When he’s not spending time with his family, the German collector is either following his favourite sports, trying his hand at photography or cultivating one of his many pop culture-related passions.
"Of course, rotating puzzles are not everything in my life. Besides sports, I have some other hobbies."
"I am in a Middle Ages RPG group. I'm also a Star Wars enthusiast, and I'm a huge sports fan, especially of FC Bayern Munich and the Green Bay Packers."
Florian also enjoys visiting amusement parks with his family.
"I'm not a speedcuber and I don't want to be one either," Florian confessed, as he stresses that he's a collector - not a speedcuber.
He has no interest in solving cubes as fast as possible, although he can complete a Rubik's cube quicker than the average person:
"My average is around 44 seconds. I think that's OK for me; I don't have to break every record. Maybe my kids will do that, one day."
As for Florian's thoughts on being featured in Guinness World Records 2023?
"It's so cool!"
Florian smiling with a grey cube shirt
Despite the competitive nature of the world of rotating puzzles, where plenty of enthusiasts aim to grow their collections and possibly break a record, Florian has declared that he intends to protect his title for as long as he can.
His collection will continue to grow, and he'll continue to scout for the rarest and most incredible cubes in the world.
Who knows: maybe, next time we speak, Florian will have finally obtained the much coveted prototype cube.
For now, Florian can't believe that people all around the world will see his collection in the pages of the Guinness World Records 2023 book.
"I'm imagining how a guy in New York will pick the book from the shelf, and he'll look at my record and think: Oh, God. That's a crazy cube collector!"