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Antique toothpick holders displayed at McIntyre Library

RELEASED: May 20, 2010

Marvin Larson with toothpick holder collection
Alumnus Marvin Larson with the 450-piece toothpick holder collection he donated to UW-Eau Claire.

EAU CLAIRE — A collection of valuable antique toothpick holders, which was donated to the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Foundation, is on display in the entrance of McIntyre Library through the end of May.

The 450-piece collection was amassed by Marvin Larson, a UW-Eau Claire alumnus. He began the collection more than 40 years ago and estimates that he has had as many as 1,200 pieces in his collection. The market value of the holders varies from $5 to $400 per piece.

Larson, who graduated from UW-Eau Claire in 1951, decided to give most of the collection to the university rather than see it broken up and sold to antique collectors.

"I didn't want them left in my estate and sold to collectors or perhaps sold at a thrift sale for a dollar or two by someone who did not realize their value," Larson said.

Although Larson plans to gradually donate most of his collection to the university, he still has a few favorites, including several that were brought to him as gifts from as far away as China and Russia.

In addition to the toothpick holder collection, Larson has established a charitable gift annuity through the UW-Eau Claire Foundation that will fund a scholarship.

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KH/DW

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