Breaking News Sullivan County
By: Deb Hoffmann
WINTER HAVEN, Fl. & WAUKESHA, WI. - April 13, 2021 - PRLog -- Deb Hoffmann, the Guinness World record holder for the largest collection of Winnie the Pooh memorabilia, has reached her 20,000-item target.
Hoffmann reached 20K non-duplicated Pooh items on Dec. 20, 2020. On 3/26/21 she received outstanding news that Guinness World Records validated the number and updated her world record. She has held the record since 2008.
Hoffmann, 56, has enjoyed a personal brand as the "Pooh Lady" for over thirty years. The role has attracted media interviews from around the globe, and never-ending inquiries from collectors seeking or donating collectibles associated with Pooh and his gang from the classic A. A. Milne stories.
While her collection's numbers merit the world record, her hobby's true passion goes beyond the collectibles themselves, Hoffmann explained. Most fulfilling are the people she and her husband, Gary, meet, and the events associated with them.
"Seldom a day goes by that something Pooh-related doesn't occur," Deb Hoffmann said. "Sometimes it's a message from a Sullivan County parent asking for help replacing their kid’s lost Pooh. Other times it's someone with Pooh figurines who wants to find them a new home where they'll be valued, rather than sold at a thrift store for $1.00."
"Many Sullivan County Pooh fans needing to rehome their collection reach out to me asking if I'd be willing to take the items," she said. "I 'take care' of their memories as much as the items themselves."
Seeking something upbeat in a crazy 2020, Hoffmann set a December 20 goal to reach 20K unique Pooh items. The 20,0000th item was a vintage 1980s Pooh costume used at Sears and the Disney Parks.
"I searched for 9 years," Hoffmann said "including in Sullivan County". "Finally, a collector called and offered the walkaround Park costume to me. He is in beautiful condition and came in the original shipping crate." The costume stands in her office, next to a vintage 1960s costume.
The collection has grown to a point where Gary Hoffmann created a phone app to aid Deb in her shopping. She enters a few descript words and has returned photos from her Pooh database thus preventing purchasing duplicates.
"Prior to 12,000, I most times knew if I had an item," Deb Hoffmann said. "Now I need confirmation from the app. After all, the collection does span two houses."
All-things-Pooh is a way of life for the Hoffmanns. A few years ago, they traveled to England to tour the house of "Winnie the Pooh" author Milne, participate in a Poohsticks competition and visit the offices of Guinness World Records. In 2019, they were featured on the TV show Collector's Call, hosted by actress Lisa Whelchel ("Facts of Life").
"While working on 'Collectors Call,' I met the show's other collectors and compared collecting styles" Deb said. "Now, if we find an item the other collects, we text them a heads-up. Fantastic camaraderie!"
The Hoffmanns annually emcee Winnie's Hometown Festival in White River, Ontario, home of the bear that inspired the stories. Deb Hoffmann donates her duplicates to the White River Heritage Museum for the town to display or sell to help support the museum.
Hoffmann's next goal for her collection is huge … but she is well on her way to hitting it.
"We might need another house," she teases of the future. To quote Winnie the Pooh, "Oh, bother."
If you are from Sullivan County and want more information about Hoffmann, and her world record Pooh collection, is available at www.mostpooh.com and www.YouTube.com/MostPooh5150.