Secret Lives of the Super Rich

Wild animals hang in ritzy NYC home

It's probably one of the largest private taxidermy collections in the world. But it's not in a museum or a cabin in the back woods of rural Montana, this collection is in one of New York City's most exclusive luxury apartment buildings, The Beresford on Central Park West. where residents over the years have included Rock Hudson and Jerry Seinfeld.

Inside the "Animal House" on Central Park West.
Source: Ray Parisi | CNBC
Inside the "Animal House" on Central Park West.

CNBC cameras were granted an exclusive tour with the collection's proud owner, New York socialite Gregory Speck. But don't make the mistake of referring to Speck's unusual collection as "dead animals." He sees the animal-covered walls of his home as an "artistic presentation" of what he calls a "world-class, museum-quality taxidermy collection."

"I regard these preserved mounts as works of art as well as beautiful creatures of divine design," he said. Speck said he began collecting taxidermy in the 1990s, spending about $50,000 on almost 500 animals that he now estimates are worth more than $1 million.

All kinds of wild animals adorn the walls of the foyer, living room, dining room and each of the home's bedrooms. From African antelopes to Kodiak grizzly bears, two moose mounts, a black bear, freshwater game fish, bobcats, lynxes, raccoons, turkeys, rattlesnakes and even 40 Asiatic male pheasants in "full plumage."

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What makes this collection even more unusual, Speck is not a hunter. He's curated it all from some pretty odd places, including a country-western disco, a grocery store refrigerator in Virginia and road kill he finds and collects in his travels.

—By Erica Emmich, CNBC Producer

Meet Mr. Speck for a VIP tour of his Mega-Taxidermy collection in CNBC's new primetime series, "Secret Lives of the Super Rich" Wednesday, Oct. 2 at 9 p.m. ET.