Originally published in Castine Patriot, December 19, 2013
Penobscot woman may set Guinness record with snowmen collection
“She loves them all”
Snowmen mugs line the kitchen shelves of Becky Bunker of Penobscot, who may soon be named a Guinness record holder.
by Anne Berleant
Becky Bunker has collected over 13,000 snowmen, and that may be a Guinness world record.
Framed snowmen pictures, stuffed snowmen, snowmen-decorated tins. Snowmen mugs and snowmen plates. Snowmen sheets and snowmen quilts. Snowmen Christmas stocking.
And thousands and thousands of snowmen figurines, cast from ceramic to 14 karat gold.
“She loves them all,” said son Zach Sempler. “Not one is a favorite.”
Guinness staff members arrived at her house December 17 for the count. Two days later, Bunker will be given the official number and find out whether her snowmen collection qualifies as a world record.
Some snowmen won’t qualify, Bunker said, and others may count as one or as more. That is for the Guinness counters to decide.
From what she’s been told, the rows of snowmen on her comforter count as one. The joined snowmen-couple figurine counts as two, but the five snowmen-heads wall hanging counts as one.
“They have to have bodies,” she said.
Her snowmen napkins and stickers don’t count. Her snowmen wallpaper does—as one.
Bunker shared how she first began her collection in 1998.
“My uncle worked on a rubbish truck and he came into the house holding two [snowmen figurines]. ‘These are the ugliest ones I’ve ever seen,’ he said. ‘Why don’t you get some more.’”
And so she did—“I think out of respect for him,” she said, after he died a few months later.
“I get them as gifts, at yard sales, thrift stores—anywhere I can find them.”
Bunker has four sons, Zach, Jake, Andy and Gabe, and a stepson Kody. They all know the house rule: “You break one, you buy five.”
That holds true “for anyone who walks through that door,” said Zach.
Taking care of all those snowmen lining the shelves on the walls basically means using cans of compressed air to dust them, Bunker said. She goes through about three cans a month.
Is it an obsession or a collection?
“I like snowmen,” she shrugged.