RIPON — The largest collection of unique Smurf items in the world is in Ripon, Wisconsin.
Gerda Scheuers holds the Guinness World Record title with a collection of more than 11,455 unique collectibles.
“I mean look at them. They’re always smiling. What’s not to be happy about?" Scheuer said.
Inside her Fond du Lac County home are two rooms dedicated entirely to her Smurf collection. That doesn't include all the other Smurf memorabilia scattered around her house. Of course, there are stuffed animals and figurines, but Scheuers likes to focus on collecting everyday items.
In her collection are: beach towels, hair brushes, tooth brushes, lip balm, pencils, plates, cups, tissue paper, ketchup, mayo, baby rattles, gum soothers, books, lamp shades, rugs, candy, cookies, popcorn buckets, watches, binders, backpacks, puzzles, fans, posters and there is even more not mentioned (believe it or not).
“Why. That’s the biggest one - Why are you doing this? - and the answer is simple. I have fun doing it. There’s no reason other than I have fun doing it.”
Scheuers, 47, began collecting when she was about six or seven years old. It all started as a small fight with her brother over one specific Smurf.
“They were a childhood toy my brother and I played with, and he was playing with it and one day he broke one. He was chewing on it, and I was like, 'nope, nope you can’t be be breaking my stuff.'”
So she took the toy from her brother and protected it. Forty years and thousands of Smurfs later, Sheuers has two Guinness World Record plaques to show for her dedication.
The value of her collection isn't clear, but she says items range from $0.50 to $10,000.
"I think easily I could probably get $100,000 or more if I sold everything off individually," she said. "I honestly never really added it fully up. I'm just going by some of the bigger ones."
As for what will happen to the collection when she is gone, Scheuers isn't positive. That decision is up to her kids.
"I can’t see myself selling it, so sadly I think it's just going to fall on my kids when I pass to probably sell it off."
While Scheuers holds the world record, she isn't keeping track of her collection as much anymore. It's tedious, time consuming and not her biggest priority. In fact, she invites others to take her title.
"You know, if they want to go for it, go for it. You know, I don’t mind sharing the spotlight when it comes to that. There’s some great collections that need to be showcased," she said.
That doesn't mean she isn't collecting anymore. At the time of our interview, she said she was waiting for multiple boxes to be shipped to her house. So she continues to add to her record-setting collection. Will that record be hers forever? Only time will tell.