Tie record likely se­cured

The Press - - Main Land Live - BEN AULAKH

A self-con­fessed ‘‘pas­sion­ate nut­ter’’ looks to have smashed the Guin­ness World Record for the big­gest col­lec­tion of neck­ties.

Tie col­lec­tor, or gra­ba­tol­o­gist to use the cor­rect tech­ni­cal term, Irene Sparks looks to have set the record with her col­lec­tion of 21,321 ties.

A team of coun­ters and ex­pert wit­nesses spent hours on Sat­ur­day check­ing to see ex­actly how many ties were in her col­lec­tion.

Although the record was yet to be of­fi­cially de­clared by Guin­ness, Sparks said she had been given un­of­fi­cial con­fir­ma­tion that she had beaten the record of 16,055,held by Amer­i­can col­lec­tor Der­ryl Og­den.

‘‘I am ex­tremely chuffed and very proud of my­self. I am happy with the four years of hard work that has been joy­ful. It’s been the hard­est, long­est project I have ever worked on, but it’s also been fun, re­ward­ing and all of those feel­ings mixed into one.

‘‘I’m very proud of the way ev­ery­thing went with the plan­ning, the way the coun­ters worked and the wit­nesses worked.’’

The fi­nal con­fir­ma­tion of the record would be pro­vided once Sparks had sent the of­fi­cial ev­i­dence for Gui­ness to check.

She said de­spite keep­ing a run­ning tally of the num­ber of ties she had as she bought them, be­cause some were dou­ble-ups, she didn’t know un­til the end of the day what the fi­nal to­tal would be.

How­ever, she was clear about two dis­tinct goals she wanted to achieve – to beat the record by 5000, and fin­ish with more than 20,000 ties.

‘‘At the end I had two big sacks, and I thought, ‘that’s prob­a­bly about 2000 I have taken out’. In the end [the to­tal] was 21,321 which is a lovely sound­ing num­ber.’’

Sparks said in or­der for her record, once con­firmed, to be beaten, ‘‘you would need an­other pas­sion­ate nut­ter’’.

‘‘The hard­est thing was they are in­di­vid­ual dif­fer­ent ties, and more than the col­lect­ing of that num­ber, it’s en­sur­ing there are no dou­ble­ups. That took me three to four months of solid work daily to en­sure that.’’

Although Sparks hadn’t give much con­sid­er­a­tion to what she would do with her prob­a­ble world­beat­ing col­lec­tion, she was sure she needed to carry on with what she had started. ‘‘I wouldn’t just quit them, be­cause I feel like I am cus­to­dian of peo­ple’s mem­o­ries . . . I feel as if I need to do some­thing spe­cial with them.’’

She was con­sid­er­ing do­ing some­thing with the ties in­volv­ing her ex­pert wit­ness, John Cromp­ton, who was also the manag­ing di­rec­tor of Auck­land firm Parisian Knitwear. ‘‘It’s com­ing up on their 100th birth­day so I’m hop­ing we can do some­thing to­gether; 100 years of New Zea­land fash­ion and knitwear.’’

"It's en­sur­ing there are no dou­ble-ups.'' Pas­sion­ate tie col­lec­tor Irene Sparks

PHOTO: JOHN BISSET/STUFF

Oa­maru ‘‘gra­ba­tol­o­gist’’ Irene Sparks’ at­tempt to break the world record for a tie col­lec­tion came to fruition on Sat­ur­day as they were of­fi­cially counted.

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