Now THAT'S an All-Star! Retired teacher breaks world record with 733 pairs of Converse sneakers
As one of the most popular shoes in the world, there are few people who don't own a pair of Converse All-Stars.
But Penny Gold loves them more than most.
The retired teacher, 63, from Lake Mary, Florida, has just been named a world record holder for her 733-strong collection by the World Records Academy.
Obsession or hobby Penny Gold has just set the world record with her 733 pairs of Converse All Stars that she began collecting fifteen years ago
Mrs Gold, who is now submitting an application to Guinness World Records in the hope that it too will award her a title, told how she started collecting Converse Chuck Taylor All Stars when she was a child living in Brooklyn, New York.
Back then, the only styles were red, black or yellow, she told the Orlando Sentinel, but, regardless, 'it was a very cool thing to have.'
Hipster teacher: The 63-year-old who lives in Lake Mary, Florida, stores her entire collection in a closet built especially for her by husband, Barry
Versatile style: Mrs Gold favours the whimsical patterns and was described as being 'flamboyant' by a friend
Now her collection is far more
varied, with all manner of unique designs and prints. Every pair is
different, with one featuring a New York Subway map, another bears a
Fun times: The Converse fan admits that collecting the iconic shoe reminds her of her happy childhood in Brooklyn, New York
She admits she only really started taking her obsession seriously 15 years ago,
but estimates that she has spent $15,000 on the collection, buying
pairs for around $20 each on weekly trips to the three Converse outlets
Fashionable art: Mrs Gold's collection includes a pair of Roy Lichtenstein printed Chuck Taylor's
Cartoonish When Penny Gold was a child these shoes were only available in three simple colours
Mrs Gold says the store clerks know her by name and
always keep her a few of the coolest pairs aside to choose from, but she doesn't expect special treatment and regularly carries
coupons to ensure she gets a deal.
Addict: Husband of 40 years, Barry, patiently supports his wife's habit comforted by the fact that at least she's not addicted to anything harmful
Couponing for Converse: Mrs Gold always takes coupons and buys the cheapest styles though since her collection is so expansive she has spent in the range of $15,000 on the shoes
puts her affection for the classic American shoes down to a memory of a
fun and happy childhood. 'They always remind me of Brooklyn and great
times,' she told the Sentinel.
HISTORY OF THE CONVERSE CHUCK TAYLOR ALL-STAR
In 1917, the Converse Rubber Shoe Company designed the All Star as an elite shoe for the professional basketball league made of a rubber sole and a canvas upper.
In 1921, a basketball player by the name of Charles 'Chuck' Taylor joined a team sponsored by Converse called The Converse All Stars.
A fan of the All Star shoes, the baller made improvements to the design including adding a patch to protect the ankle.
In 1923, Converse incorporated his name on to the ankle patch that already displayed the All Star logo. In the 1930s Taylor’s signature was added to the design and from that day on the shoe became known as the 'Chuck Taylor' All Star.
'Chuck Taylors' became popular not only among athletes but during World War II, America soldiers began to favour the rubber shoe during training sessions.
After the war, Converse decided to make the toe guard, laces and outer wraps white, which created the iconic black and white Converse All Stars of today. And in 1957, the shoe company debuted the low-cut “Oxford” version of the shoe.
These days millions of All-Star-lovers worldwide enjoy the endless range of patterns and designs available on the legendary shoe.
added to My Fox Orlando that all the shoes are her own size, and she
favours the brighter designs for herself, though the most outlandish
pairs are for display purposes only.
an event that will authenticate the collection for Guinness World
Records, a friend of the proud Converse fan said: 'You have to be a
little crazy and that is Penny. She's flamboyant, she's over the top,
she always been like that.'
While the vast collection consumes an entire room at the
Jewish Academy of Orlando in Maitland, where they were being officially
counted, Mrs Gold says it does not take up more than one closet at
The closet in question is a walk-in space with
floor-to-ceiling shelves, custom-built with love and no doubt a great deal of patience by her husband Barry.
Inside the closet, the shoes are all
organised according to colour and category but Mr Gold doesn't mind too
much about his wife's shoe habit.
He told 13 News: 'If you have to be addicted to something, it's a great addiction.'
His wife shares his opinion and considers the idea of setting a new record 'kind of fun'.
the shoes have been counted and catalogued, a report will be sent to Guinness World Records, and if all
goes according to Mrs Gold's plan, she will feature in the
2013 edition of the popular book.
If she does, she'll be inheriting the title from Joshua Mueller of Washington State who was documented as having 560 pairs.
Record setter: With the 733-strong collection, Penny Gold hopes to win a title with the Guinness World Records as well