What: What’s claimed to be the world’s largest collection of three-dimensional advertising memorabilia.
Who: Michael A. Pollack, 52, president and founder of Michael A. Pollack Real Estate Investments in Mesa.
How the collection began: I bought my first piece when I was 14 years old. Initially, it was a way to make some extra money. But I have not sold a piece in more than 30 years. I’ve always been fascinated with ads, especially 3-D ads.
How many pieces: I’m always adding to the collection, so the count keeps going up, but I’d say we have around 8,000 items currently in the museum. E-mails come in frequently from collectors around the world. Packages with newly purchased items arrive at a constant pace. It’s like Christmas every day. To keep the collection looking the best, there’s a full-time restorer, curator and assistant curator on staff. Many of the items are mechanical. If they’re broken, they are fixed. Other items are brought back to their original luster, or kept the same if needed.
Where you showcase your collection: Needless to say, it doesn’t fit in my house anymore. When we moved into our current corporate headquarters in Mesa in 2000, I made sure we planned enough space to properly display everything. The collection now sits in its own 7,000-squarefoot museum.
The prized piece: Probably the life-size Bosch statue I brought back from Europe several years ago. It’s a pre-World War II piece that someone in Germany had the presence of mind to protect during the war. When I found it, the piece was literally being stored in a coffin. They opened the lid, and there it was.
What else you collect: Real estate! Although real estate is my profession, I consider myself a collector with more than 100 properties currently in our portfolio. This collection of properties allows me to execute my passion for redevelopment of commercial real estate throughout Chandler, Glendale, Mesa, Tempe, Peoria, Phoenix, Gilbert and Tucson.
But by far, my greatest reward comes from observing the revitalizations and returning pride in neighborhoods and communities through redevelopment.
I also collect video arcade games, lunch boxes ranging from the 1940s to 1970s, slot machines manufactured by companies such as Mills, Jennings and Caille, and 3-D artwork, including works from Bill Mack, Charles Fazzino and Michael Wilkinson.
Viewing the collection
Pollack gives private tours of his collection twice a month. However, the tours are so popular they are booked until October. Michael A. Pollack Investments is at 1136 W. Baseline Road, Mesa. For information, call (480) 888-0888. To see his collection online, visit www.pollackmuseum.com.