When The Guinness Book of World Records certified Scott Wiener’s pizza box collection last week as the largest in the world, he had 595.
As of this weekend, Wiener has reached more than 600 pizza boxes.
The new boxes came from Chicago, where Wiener is currently publicizing this month’s release of his first book,”
Viva La Pizza.”
It features 112 of the boxes from his collection and an explanation of how each one fits into the history of the pizza box.
He even tracked down and interviewed some of the artists behind the colourful boxes. Turns out, pizza boxes from around the world can look incredibly different: Italians work more in pastels, while Americans work more in computer graphic design. There has also been a shift from single-ply cardboard to corrugated.
“I wanted to make it an academic pursuit,” Wiener told Business Insider. “With the book out, my collection looks less like this thing a weirdo spent his time doing.”
Wiener’s journey to becoming the pizza box expert began when he started his New York City pizza tour company in 2008. He knew starting his own business would mean investing every bit of free time into it, so he decided to take one last trip to Israel.
“I saw pizza boxes I’d never seen before,” Wiener said to Business Insider. These weren’t the typical American design featuring a nondescript Italian village or a jovial chef on a white background — instead, these boxes were bright yellow with blue writing.
Since then, Weiner hasn’t gone out of his way to travel for a pizza box — he lets the boxes find him. But his collection maintains an international feel thanks to the network of fellow pizza experts he has met while giving pizza tours around NYC neighborhoods or through the regular column he writes for Pizza Today magazine.
And while no two boxes are exactly alike, Wiener has found there are similarities around the world. “I love the image of the fat chef,” Wiener said. “But I get really excited when I see slightly different variations of it. A Russian fat chef looks completely different than an Australian fat chef.”
If Wiener reads about a novelty box online, he’ll often ask a friend in that country to bring it to him. Like when he heard Domino’s in Japan would feature a hologram of Hatsune Miku on their boxes that would dance when viewed through a special app, Wiener had a friend bring it to a pizza convention they were both attending in Las Vegas.
And for those wondering where Wiener stores his 600+ pizza boxes, they all fit in a closet in his New York City apartment. He simply breaks them down to save space and occasionally uses a dehumidifier to keep them in tip-top shape.
“I always thought I’d be a record producer,” Wiener said, “But it looks like the only thing I held on to from my days of playing in a rock band was obsessively eating and thinking about pizza.”
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