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Monday, February 24, 2020

Orlando woman has collected more than 21,000 banana labels

Posted By on Mon, Feb 24, 2020 at 11:21 AM

click to enlarge IMAGE VIA BECKY MARTZ
  • Image via Becky Martz
"What makes them special to me is that they are ephemeral. They are meant to be thrown away," says Becky Martz, an Orlando collector of banana labels.

In 29 years, Martz has amassed over 21,000 labels. Her passion has taken her on excursions to see collections in Germany, Costa Rica and Ecuador, and to banana label collectors meetings around the world. When she's in Florida, the 70-year-old fishes for discarded peels in the trash to secure a label.

"For some reason, that makes them even more precious to me. I have rescued many labels from the trash, or a banana peel on the ground. I feel sad when I see someone has thrown a peel away with the label still on it, so I rescue it," she told CNN.
  • Photo via Becky Martz/website
Martz's curiosity was sparked when she noticed the differences between Dole banana labels from Guatemala and Honduras. Labels are, after all, designed to grab attention, Martz points out. She also likes the fact that collecting labels off bananas is free. The first label she kept was from a Chiquita banana and read, "The Perfect Stocking Stuffer."

  • Image via Becky Martz/website
Soon, she was filing the fruit labels in photo albums. Martz's son helped her navigate the early internet of the early '90s, which connected the collector to an international community of label lovers, and a new world of labels opened up.

Her rarest label is a Jacko label from the 1960s, of a little boy with hair fashioned to look like bananas.

"This label was a Christmas gift a few years ago from a guy in Sweden," said Martz.
  • Photo via Andrius Burlega/Wikimedia Commons
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