CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The City of Charleston got nutty with the Peanut Pals National Convention.
Over a hundred Peanut Pals members from across the country came together in one place over the weekend to show off their collection of Planters and Mr. Peanut memorabilia and maybe even swap some of their treasures.
John Buchner from Winter Haven, Florida is one of those members and said collecting has always been in his blood.
“When I was four or five years old probably I started collecting bottle caps, baseball cards and when I was in high school and had some money to spend I started collecting stamps and coins,” said Buchner.
It wasn’t till later in life when he became a Peanut Pals and began collecting Planters and Mr. Peanut items.
“About 35 years ago I came across a few Planters items that reminded me of items I had when I was a child like the mail in peanut bags and coupons that we picked up in grocery stores where you could order Planters items through the mail,” said Buchner.
Since that time, Buchner has assembled quite a collection, in fact one of the largest in the club.
Peanut Pals, a non-profit organization, has been in existence since 1978 and currently has over 450 members throughout the United States and Canada.
Scott Schmitz, from Wisconsin, got into collecting Planters items after a special purchase was made from a yard sale.
“One day my mom was sick and my dad and I went to a town called Brillion, Wisconsin, went to the community center and there was a yard sale going on,” he said. “We found a pot metal statue for $16 and he took it home and gave it to my mom, my mom just loved it so then we started collecting Mr. Peanut stuff.”
Years later Schmitz has himself a large collection, which includes one of twelve known in existence today Mr. Peanut window tappers. His most prized piece in the collection.
Huntington native Tom Holbrook, a collector himself, hosted the convention and adds that there is more to the club than just collecting stuff.
“It’s not so much for the collecting as it is the camaraderie that goes with it and the history of Planters Peanuts,” he said.
The Peanut Pals hold three conventions a year, one of them being the National Convention. The average yearly attendance at the National Convention is between 100 to 125 people.