Mental Floss

People collect the darndest stuff - Part 1: Fruit & Veggie stickers

David K. Israel
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Coin and stamp collections are tired, didn't you know? What's wired in the world of collecting? I'll let you know by taking a look at a few categories over the next month or so. Let's begin with fruit stickers"¦

Now, I don't mind peeling the dang things off, say, a banana, where they're pretty harmless, but I can't tell you how many times I've accidentally ingested a sticker while eating an apple or a pear because I thought I got it off already, only to discover a second one waiting on the underside--an unwanted bastard sticker-sibling.

While they may annoy me, and probably you, too, I'm guessing, for others, like Roger Harris, fruit stickers are collectables. On his Web site, for instance, you can click through scans of more than 1,000 different stickers. And if you think that's a lot, Xavier Heyte, in Belgium, claims on his Web site that he has over 11,000 in his collection. There's also Mark Wickens who doesn't collect stickers, but boasts over 12,000 fruit wrappers going all the way back to the 1800s (to say nothing of his impressive olive oil label collection!).

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The codes on the stickers are called PLU codes, or price look up codes. The PLU numbers also tell you how the fruit was grown Conventionally grown fruit has 4 digits Organically grown fruit has 5 and starts with the number 9 Genetically engineered has 5 numbers and starts with the number 8

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