Collector's vast model ship armada on display

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HAMBURG, Germany: For Peter Tamm, the passion that launched a thousand ships — and Hamburg's newest museum along the port city's old docks — began with a gift from his mother in 1934.

"A 500-gross tonnage coaster from the North Sea-Baltic line," Tamm said, rattling off specs of that first vessel in his possession.

Of course, 500 gross tons was a little too big for a 6-year-old. What Tamm's mother gave him was an inch-long (2.5-centimeter) model of the cargo ship."Then came the second, then came the third, until I lost count," said Tamm.

Today he has 36,000. Each and every one built to the same 1:1,250 scale — and that's not all.

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