Chewing gum packaging can range from a simple individual paper wrapper to a complex point-of sale device. After use it simply becomes a piece of household garbage but it is now the also the object of passionate collectors. My collection of chewing gum ephemera includes -
1 wrappers and packs - minus the gum (№1).
2 inserts - pictures etc. (№2).
3 chewing gum packs - gum included (№3).
4 related material - advertising - sales items - promotional material (№4).
As my collection grew in size I acquired knowledge of national manufacturers and their products and the themes that they used to market their products. I liked everything about gum packaging but eventually my interest focussed on the classical wrapper for the single rectangular stick of gum (№5). I have kept a detailed catalogue of these wrappers and the collection currently numbers some 37,125 items (May 10, 2013). If I include other types of packages the number leaps to over 79,000 items from 122 countries. For someone just starting to collect these may seem enormous figures but keep in mind that I have been collecting for over 30 years and I think there may possibly be even bigger collections somewhere. Although collecting gum is not a widely known hobby the Internet has introduced me to a whole range of colleagues from all over the world. I have contacts in USA, Canada, Brazil and Japan. In Russia and the former Soviet republics there are very few collectors although there were several in the 70's and 80's. The country that seems to have the biggest number of collectors is the Czech Republic where in Prague they have a collectors club. The sale of old wrappers is not extensive although some are willing to pay high prices for rare historical examples which come up on the Internet. What is it about collecting chewing gum that is so attractive? For me - everything. I began in 1972 aged about nine and have continued collecting until today although for a while I was shy of talking about my childish hobby when I was at university. For some time I was under the impression that I was the only collector in the world. My childhood was spent Sebastapol on the Black Sea and seamen brought chewing gum from all over the world and at that time gum was not manufactured in the Soviet Union so it aroused my interest. I was very drawn to the Japanese wrappers which featured childhood themes from comics of robots and monsters. I have maintained a keen interest in Japanese and Korean wrappers with their vast range of subjects and my collection is now strong in that area. In February 2002 I visited Seoul, a great place for collectors. Gum of over 30 kinds is sold on every street corner. By the third day I had an example of every package which are obviously sold with collectors in mind. Actually I am not fond of chewing gum but I am aware of the differences. Gums from the Middle Eastern Arab countries are not pleasant as are gums from the new factories in Russia. Japan and South Korea have the best variety of flavours. On a personal level I am married and have a daughter, herself married. I’m already a grandfather, I have a wonderful granddaughter. Outside if my hobby I work. (№7-№10).