Northwest NEWS

March 20, 2000

Features

Pez collection adds color to library lobby

John DeMars by Deborah Stone, features writer

   It's often amazing to discover what types of collections people have in their homes and how they began collecting their particular treasures.

   The usual sets of stamps, coins, rocks, and sports memorabilia can always be found, along with pins, key chains, and hats from all parts of the world. It's the unusual collections that catch one's attention and create a certain curiosity about the collector.

   Recently, a display of Pez dispensers was installed at the Woodinville Library and has provided much interest among visitors as they enter the building.

   The collection belongs to John DeMars, a Timbercrest Junior High School seventh grader in Woodinville. John began collecting the dispensers about three years ago, and has amassed approximately 200 of them.

   "I got my first one, a C3P0 character from Star Wars, when I was ten," explains John. "It was in my Christmas stocking. I thought it was cool and put it into my room. I began buying them whenever I would see them and then I told my uncle, who lives in Sweden, about them, and he started sending me European ones. I put them all over my room, because they were so colorful and brightened up the place."

   John began telling his friends and soccer teammates that he would give them two rolls of Pez candy if they gave him their dispensers. He figured the kids were more interested in getting more candy than keeping the dispenser, and this proved to be correct. His collection grew, and along the way, he picked up some rare dispensers, such as an old Santa, now worth fifty dollars.

   "I think I might have ones worth more than that," says John. "There are a few that my uncle sent that are really rare and probably worth a lot."

   What John also finds fun about his collection is the variety, which ranges from cartoon and movie characters to a complete set of African animals. His aim is to continue to look for new dispensers for his collection and eventually attend a Pez collectible show.

   "I would love to go to a collectors' show to see all the ones I don't have, and to meet the people who find them as fun as I do," says John. "I plan to hang on to my collection as long as possible, as I'm really not that interested in selling them. They've become a part of me."

   John's collection currently fills a closet from top to bottom in his room, but according to him, there's always room for more! Visitors to the Woodinville Library can view John's special collection through March 31st.