Vernon Resident Holds Winnie the Pooh Collection Guinness Record
Deb Hoffmann's 20,000-item collection is divided between her home in Waukesha and her home in Winter Haven, Florida.
VERNON, WI – A Vernon resident who has been certified as the world record holder for the largest collection of Winnie the Pooh memorabilia has passed 20,000 items and is now considering purchasing another home to hold her growing collection.
Deb Hoffmann, 56, was identified by the Guinness Book of World Records in 2008 as the owner of the largest collection of Winnie the Pooh memorabilia. In 2013, she hit 10,000 items and in December 2020 she surpassed 20,000 items.
Hoffmann's collection is divided between her home in Waukesha and her home in Winter Haven, Florida.
She's well known in both areas as being the "Pooh Lady," a title she's held for more than 30 years. In that time, she has visited the home of A.A. Milne, author of the Winnie the Pooh series, in England, and hosts an annual festival in White River, Ontario, where the bear that inspired the stories came from.
During their 2016 trip to England, the Hoffmanns participated in a Poohsticks competition and visited the offices of Guinness World Records.
While the collection itself brings Hoffmann great joy, she and her husband Gary most enjoy the people they meet and the experiences they have while collecting Winnie the Pooh memorabilia.
"Not a day goes by that something Pooh-related doesn't occur," Hoffmann said. "Sometimes it's an email from a mom asking for help to replace a stuffed pooh her child lost. Other times it's someone with a few Pooh collectibles who wants to find them a new home where they'll be valued, rather than sold at a thrift store for a few dollars."
During the pandemic, Hoffmann decided to set a personal goal of collecting 20,000 Winnie the Pooh items. The item that helped her reach that goal was a vintage 1980s Pooh costume, which had been used at Sears and the Disney parks.
"I searched for nine years," she said. "Finally, a collector called and offered him to me. He is in beautiful condition and came in the original shipping crate."
Once Hoffmann hit her goal, her husband created a smartphone app designed to help her keep track of her collection. With a few keywords, Hoffmann can determine whether she's already purchased a particular item, helping her avoid purchasing duplicates. When a duplicate is discovered Hoffmann donates them to the White River Heritage Museum to be put on display or sold.
Hoffmann plans to continue growing her collection, which will likely require the purchase of a new home just to house the items.