Monday, 17 March 2008

Fruit Labels


At college I collected two things (probably amongst others I now forget!) - beermats and fruit labels. The collecting of beer mats is called tegestology and if I find a photo of my flat wall, on which they were displayed, I'll post it sometime.

Collecting fruit labels was laughed at by my college friends but it didn’t stop some of them from opening my kitchen cabinet door to see if there were any new ones stuck on the inside. When I left college I stopped collecting for a while but then, for a few years, in each new house I lived in I would stick the fruit labels on the inside of a kitchen cupboard door. I assumed that I was unique in collecting such a daft item. Certainly all my friends thought it was unique (for which word also read daft/ weird/ eccentric / etc.)

Now I find that there is a whole world of fruit label collecting out there. One site illustrates a thousand or more fruit labels that the owner has collected.

Here are just a couple of quotes from some of the websites I found:-

“Fruit label collecting must surely rank as one the healthiest hobbies, just as long as you actually eat the fruit.”

“It's already as international as it can be, and unlike our sticky relative 'the stamp', you don't have to find a friend in another country in order to make a collection of foreign ones!”

And, on the subject of whether they were worth anything - “Once the novelty of the early Penny Black postage stamps wore off, I guess many of our ancestors thought them not worth keeping. But now, what I wouldn't do for an early fine example of one of those bits of paper!!!”

“My name is Ludmila Petrzelova. I live in Olomouc, Czech Republic, Europe. I started collecting fruit and vegetable labels in June 2002. Until December 2002, I had only 300 different ones. Then, in January 2003, I discovered there were people in other countries who also collected labels. It helped me very much. Since that time, I have contacted a lot of collectors from all over the world and received many beautiful labels in presents and trades for my collection. Now I have about 40,000 labels in my collection. Although I collect all kinds of fruit and vegetable labels, my favourites are bananas, melons and leaves. I have a lot of duplicates for trade. ......... If you are interested, I would be pleased to trade with you.”

“Also awaited is a generic name for fruit label collectors. In 2000 I wrote a letter to The Times newspaper and mentioned the absence of a generic name. About seven replies were published but none offered anything beyond humorous puns and quips. I had hoped that someone with an academic background in Latin or Greek might suggest a suitable term which combined the notions of agricultural produce, labelling and writing.”

Can I suggest fruxaffigology. I appreciate it doesn’t trip easily off the tongue. Nevertheless it not only incorporates the Latin for fruit and labelling but also manages to have a fruit – fig – within it!

Perhaps if more Americans collected fruit labels they’d have a better idea where other countries are... Who knows, collecting and trading fruit labels could aid world peace!

1 comment:

Graham said...

Beyond belief. Cartainly beyond comment.