What I Collect

When Debra Shattuck was asked several months ago what her favorite item was in her Pillsbury Doughboy collection, she just couldn’t answer. But a lot has changed for the Louisiana native.

The collection was featured in an April 28 “What I Collect” series of the Sun-Gazette. It wasn’t long after that when Shattuck’s phone rang and she received quite a surprise.

Nancy of Linden had about three extra years on Shattuck’s 12-year collection. But it was time, Nancy decided, to let it go, so she reached out to Shattuck after she read the article in the newspaper.

According to Shattuck, all but one room in Nancy’s home was decorated with the Doughboy and when she was given the opportunity to visit, she jumped. And then she shopped.

Nancy allowed Shattuck to go through each room, where she formed piles of all the collectibles she would buy from her newfound friend.

“The stuff was scattered throughout her house,” Shattuck said. “She was really nice about it. She said ‘help yourself, whatever you want, just grab it.’ I was in Doughboy heaven.”

But Shattuck could sense the sadness in Nancy.

“I kept asking her, ‘are you OK?’ ” Shattuck said. “And she would say, ‘I know it’s going to a good home.’ “

And it did. Shattuck has lovingly displayed the collection, which has at least quadrupled in size since April. She paid four visits in total to Nancy’s home.

Among the new items are cookie jars that sing and giggle, a clock that lights up, a valuable gumball machine, countless tree ornaments and even a set of canisters that was in use by Nancy at the time.

“I said, ‘are you willing to let these go?’ and she said ‘let me find another one to use’ and then she called for me to come get them,” Shattuck said.

But the winning item – the one that finally answers the question of the favorite Doughboy collectible – has even impressed her husband and friends.

A 2001 replica of a Pillsbury delivery truck from the Danbury Mint collection has by far become Shattuck’s prized possession. The mini model with the letters DIVO on the front license plate has a hood and doors that open, a steering wheel that turns the tires and working windshield wipers.

“It’s just awesome! It’s because of the moving parts,” Shattuck said. “I didn’t know something like that existed and I just went crazy over it.”

Although her collection has grown to more than she ever thought it would, there’s just one item that Shattuck is missing. While moving, her Danbury Mint Pillsbury Doughboy cake stand was broken. All that remains is the matching server.

“This has become so much more to me now than it was before,” Shattuck said. “I had no idea what I had until I went to her house. I didn’t realize that this really was a collectable. I thought I was the only one in the world to love the Pillsbury Doughboy so much!”