CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The sweet smell of roasted peanuts used to waft through the Planters Peanut store on the boardwalk in Atlantic City.
Karleen Buchholz remembers munching on the salty and honey-roasted nuts when she visited the beach as a girl. She especially remembers Mr. Peanut -- the jovial, bespectacled legume who has represented Planters Peanuts for decades.
"Everybody has a memory of Mr. Peanut," she said.
Buchholz has collected Mr. Peanut memorabilia for years. On Friday, she attended the swap meet at the 34th annual National Peanut Pals Convention at the Charleston Marriott.
Buchholz sat at a table strewn with antique nut dishes, coloring books and giant plastic peanuts that once would have held the nuts.
Other tables featured similar merchandize. One booth housed a "tapper" -- a small mechanical Mr. Peanut that used to tap on the windows of Planters stores to attract attention from passers-by. The machine was priced at $25,000.
Collectors ambled through the aisles to buy or exchange memorabilia, greeting friends and examining merchandise. The group included doctors, coal miners and mailmen from around the country.
Connecticut resident Sherwin Borsuk travels to the convention every year and especially enjoys meeting people from various walks of life.
On Saturday, Borsuk tried to pinpoint why he collects peanut paraphernalia.
"[Mr. Peanut] is familiar and friendly," Borsuk said. "He's part of popular culture."