I remember a room filled with Mister Peanut cookie jars, key rings, beer steins, and coin banks.
I had thought I was remembering them in my grandparents’ basement, but my mother recently told me it could not have been there; my grandmother disliked the Mister Peanut memorabilia and would not allow more than a few pieces in her house. So the peanut gallery must have been at the home of my great uncle Louie, a sales representative for Planters Peanuts.
To my sisters and I, our maternal grandfather’s youngest brother Louis DeRiggi was Mister Peanut. His job made him a Big Shot in Old Forge, Pennsylvania. I have very few real memories of him, more like impressions.
And I don’t know what happened to all of the Mister Peanut serving plates, ash trays, mason jars, and drinking glasses. A few weeks ago, in my ongoing family history research, I was tooling around on the internet, searching for information about Planters Peanuts back in the 1940s, ’50s, and ’60s, to try to learn more about where my great uncle had worked. Suddenly, Google turned up an image of the peanut-shaped business card of a Planters Peanuts sales rep — and it was my great uncle’s card!
I hadn’t been searching for Planters Peanuts in conjunction with his name, so this was a coincidence, and it stunned me. I clicked on the image, and saw that it was an image of an old online auction listing, apparently sold, probably long ago. It never occurred to me that this kind of thing shows up in online auctions, but now I will be running frequent checks to see if another one should come up. I have no idea what an authentic old peanut-shaped business card goes for, but it would be a nice little bit of family history to add to my collection.
For now, I don’t have the card, but I do have this image from online.