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He's Got the Goods on Holmes

April 04, 1993|ANNE KLARNER

Alan Heller collects things.

"I guess it started with baseball cards and marbles and things like that," Heller said of his acquisitive habit. Some of the things he's collected over his 49 years include carbide lamps once used by miners, marbles, science fiction videos and antiques in general.

He is particularly fond of Sherlock Holmes, and has more than 100 items in his Holmes collection. You can view this Holmes memorabilia at the Duarte Historical Museum on Wednesdays and Saturdays this month.

"There's tie clips and key rings and umbrellas," he said, all of which are decorated in some Sherlockian manner. "I just acquired a beer stein, made in Germany, and the figure (of Holmes) has a monocle, which is not true to the canon."

The canon being the 56 short stories and four novels written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle about the hyper-intellectual detective.

And, yes, he does have a pipe in the celebrated style and a deerstalker hat, and a host of books.

"Basically, none of these (items) are old," Heller said. "These are things that are collected that have something to do with Sherlock."

Now, if you're wondering what Sherlock Holmes has to do with Duarte history, it's elementary. (Sorry, had to work that in somewhere!)

"In the historical society, we've tried to promote rotating exhibits of people in Duarte who collect things," said Heller, who is not only a member but is married to the group's president.

They've had salt and pepper shakers, those glass doodads they used as insulation on top of telephone poles, even some of guess who's carbide lamps.

Heller says his collectible stuff is "scattered all over the house. I don't particularly like the house to be cluttered. Maybe it is and I haven't noticed. I'm playing the ultimate game: The person who dies with most toys wins."

The museum, at 777 Encanto Parkway, is open from 1 to 3 p.m. Wednesdays and from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturdays. The exhibit will be on through April. Admission is free.

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