He has one of the largest collections of pornography and erotica in the world, but don’t call Clifford Scheiner a dirty old man.
The former Brooklyn emergency room doctor with a Ph.D. in sexuality has amassed an enormous hoard of 350,000 books, films and photos – from 13th century manuscripts to every issue of Playboy and Screw magazine ever printed.
“It is certainly one of the largest collections of erotology and sexology in the world,” he says.
Scheiner, 61, of Flatbush, has been collecting since the late 1960s, but he insists his fascination is purely academic.
“I became interested because of the mystery involved,” he said. “To hear people talk about it – nobody bought it, nobody sold it, nobody owned it, nobody printed it, nobody illustrated it and nobody bound it, but the books were there and that intrigued me.”
He dove headfirst into books that took great effort to decipher.
“I taught myself to recognize most of the dirty words in most of the languages that use the Roman alphabet,” he said. “I don’t have huge language skills, but I get a pretty good idea of what is going on.”
Ultimately, he went into the book business, starting a mail-order company, C.J. Scheiner Books. “I never paid retail for anything,” he said.
Scheiner, born in Clifton, N.J., studied molecular biophysics and biochemistry at Yale, got a medical degree from SUNY Downstate and later earned a Ph.D. from the Institute for the Advanced Study of Human Sexuality in San Francisco.
By the 1980s, the collection swelled, with people selling him rare texts, stacks of magazines, photographs, prints and film reels. All the while, he worked as an emergency room doctor at Kings County Hospital – a job he kept until 2003.
“I supported myself entirely from the book business. I wasn’t spending any of my salary from being a doctor on the cost of daily living,” he said. “I was dealing in things ranging from $5 to $85,000.
“Of course, I took a lot of money I made selling books and used it to buy more books,” he added. “That’s why I now have more than 350,000 items.”
Flatbush Jewish doctor has the largest porn collection? I love this guy!