I’m really excited to bring this week’s “day in the life” to you. I have to admit I had a little help with it. But I’m sure that you will truly enjoy his story. Rob Yarak has an incredible collection. And he makes his own displays to show them off. And once you see, I have a feeling some memories will come flooding through your minds: memories from your childhood, teen years and adulthood. So get your coffee and get ready to take a journey into the heart of a true collector ~ a PEZ collector! Let’s go meet Rob.
AJC: Rob, how long have you been collecting Pez?
Rob: 34 years, 6 months, 18 days.
ACJ: (wow, that's a long time ~ AND great record keeping)
What was your first dispenser? Or what made you start collecting Pez?
Rob: Croc, a gift from my girlfriend, now wife, for my 15th birthday. It was placed on a cake she had made that was in the shape of an alligator. Why an alligator, you say. I had a baby pet alligator back then. A gift from a crazy uncle.
ACJ: I know that first dispenser must be special to you, but do you have another favorite dispenser and why?
Rob: Any Eerie Spectres. Why? I specifically remember purchasing them at the grocery store in the late 70's. Good memories. Nostalgic...why most people collect to begin with.
ACJ: Where do you find dispensers? Especially vintage ones?
Rob: Mostly from hits on my website. Finds in antique malls, for me, are as common as Hailey's comet.
ACJ: If you come across a new collector, what advice would you give them?
Rob: Buy the books. David Welch's Collecting Pez is a wealth of information. John LaSpina's price guide is also very helpful.
ACJ: Tell us about the conventions, mailing list etc. and include links and photos.
ROB: The conventions can't be beat. Place 500 crazy Pez collectors in a hotel and look out! And a lot of good friendships have been made. The best mailing list is the Yahoo Group, Pezheads. It's got around 1,400 collectors that exchange e-mails. Talk about a brain trust!
ACJ: Do you have a special way to display your dispensers?
Rob: I enjoy woodworking so building my own displays was a natural.
ACJ: How many dispensers do you have? How do you keep track of all your dispensers?
Rob: Not sure exactly how many, but I'd guess around 8,000. When I first started cataloging my collection, a bag that I had stashed away with dispensers collected from 1976 to 1991, I just used Microsoft Works. Very simple. Just list the dispenser's name, patent number, country of origin, IMC #, feet vs. no feet, stem color, etc...
ACJ: Do you ever sell your Pez and how do you feel about parting with them?
Rob: The only time I'll sell a dispenser is if I purchase a collection and I already have one EXACTLY like it. Once it's in my collection, it stays, no matter what. This holds true especially for the ones that I collected back in the day.
ACJ: What is the most you ever spent on a dispenser or collection?
Rob: I purchased a collection from Leland's Auction house for $32K.
ACJ: Do you have a web site that you'd like to share with us?
Rob: www.pezcandydispenser.com Catchy, huh?
ACJ: Is there anything else you'd like us to know? Like maybe what the most expensive dispenser is that you have in your collection or anything else? Facebook page? Twitter? Blog? Shop?
Rob: I've got some nice pieces in my collection, including Donald and Pluto softheads, Obelisk A, Asterix A, Lions Club Lion, Alpine Man, Sparefroh, to name a few. But the ones I really enjoy most are the ones that remind me of my youth, Eerie Spectres, Kooky Zoo, Circus. The new issues out nowadays are really well done but still don't compare to some of the older dispensers. Again, it's the nostalgia.
Wow, I’ve got a whole new appreciation for Pez and collectors. If only I had kept all those things when I was younger, who knows what I might have in hidden treasures! Don't forget to check out his website. It's pretty amazing!!!
Thanks Rob for taking time from your busy schedule to share with us your amazing collection. (and thanks to my little “bird” for assisting with this interview). And remember, it’s never too late to start “a collection”.
Enjoy your weekend in whatever you do!
And see ya next week.