words // Brandon Richard
Proving that you can never judge a book by its cover, retired school teacher Penny Gold may have a bigger sneaker collection that just about any of us. Now living in Lake Mary, Florida, the 63-year old Brooklyn native claims to have the largest personal collection of Converse Chuck Taylor All Stars in the world, owning approximately 733 pairs of the iconic sneaker.
Gold says she started collection Chucks about 20 years ago, the shoes serving as a reminder of her days growing up in New York. "Ive been wearing Converse since I was a very little girl in Brooklyn,” Gold told CFNews13. “When all the Converse outlets opened here in Orlando it was at least reasonable to buy."
Each pair from the 733 pair collection has been purchased by Gold in person - meaning nothing from eBay or other online dealers. She says that she typically gets bargains on her pairs from nearby Converse outlet stores, somewhere in the $25 range, and has spent around $15,000 over the years. Her shoes are stored in a large personal closet with shelves handmade by her husband Barry, and if you're wondering, Converse is the only sneaker brand allowed on those shelves.
“It’s not even allowed in my closet,’’ she joked in reference to purchasing other brands. “But I do have other shoes like a human. I mean, we do go out to nice places.’’
Looking to immortalize her impressive collection, Gold is attempting to set a new Guinness World Record for the largest collection of Converse sneakers. To do so, she and former students from the Jewish Academy of Orlando gathered the shoes from her walk-in closet and transported them to a room at the school via U-Haul. An alternative to the standard Guinness verification process of sending out an official is staging a public showing where members of the community are enlisted as witnesses to the record. With help from seven individuals, Gold counted 733 pairs, which would shatter the current record of 403 held by Joshua Mueller of Lakewood, Washington.
A spokesperson for Guinness said they have received the claim and are waiting on the evidence of the witness statements, photos and log books to verify each pair is different and a Converse shoe. It can take up to 12 weeks to verify after the documentation is received.
Though Gold has received plenty of media coverage for her collection, she has yet to hear from anybody at Converse. Gold told MSNBC, "“They're not really that interested in it,’’ she said. “My friends at the stores are, but the company is corporate and worldwide. I'm just one little person."
What do you think, sneakerheads? Have you ever been able to share your passion for kicks with a teacher? Do we have any readers that own more than 700 pairs of shoes?