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Sticky Nuisance to Some, Collector’s Item to Others

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A fellow collector sent Becky Martz the Chung Liau banana sticker after a trip to China. Many collectors see visits to foreign countries as a label-collecting adventure. (Courtesy of Becky Martz)

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Becky Martz and Gerri Lorenzo trade their favorite collectibles: design-packed produce labels. Hundreds of people worldwide collect the tiny stickers. (Courtesy of Becky Martz)

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Becky Martz of Houston, Texas carefully organizes her collection of banana labels. Martz has accumulated nearly 7,000 produce stickers.

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A man in Costa Rica sent this colorful label to Becky Martz. An international network of collectors trade stickers without paying for their tiny treasures. (Courtesy of Becky Martz)

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This is the first banana label Becky Martz ever saved. For many collectors, the variety of fun slogans on the labels makes each one special and worth saving. (Courtesy of Becky Martz)

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This South American banana label is one of Becky Martz's favorites and dates back to the early 1970s.

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Collector Becky Martz says she considers this Ecuadorian banana label special because of its "pretty colors." (Courtesy of Becky Martz)

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Though shoppers might find the little labels that adorn fruits and vegetables a sticky nuisance, hundreds of people worldwide collect them, with more than 30 websites dedicated to practice. But a new technology that etches edible markers on produce may eventually stamp out the stickers and the hobby.


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