Believe Him Or Not:
Ripley's Collector Mickey Ivanovitch

I was raised on a ranch in Montana on the Canadian border. We went to summer school (Mar.-Dec.) because we could not get to school because of the deep snow and 50 below weather. We didn't have electricity, so my Mother would read to us. One thing we got was the Chicago newspaper from a bachelor who lived close by. After he would read it, he would pass it on to us. In the paper was a half-page color cartoon by Ripley. I'd look at it over and over. To me it was my outside world.

I started school a few weeks after I turned five in March of 1948. When I was in the third grade, I found a book in the small library. It was the 1929 Ripley's Believe It or Not book. I remember it was the dark green 1929 edition. It was fascinating to me. I looked at the pictures over and over, and my sister Patt read it to me. It the mid-1970s, my wife gave me a copy of the same book for Christmas, and this started me on my journey looking for Ripley items. I traveled around the United States looking, and I started buying Ripley's books and comic books, and my interest and collection has grown from there.

About 1992, I met with Edward Meyer of the Ripley Corporation in Toronto, Canada, and was given permission to write the Ripley Collector Club Newsletter. It ran for three years with four editions a year. During that time, I met important collectors and Ripley historians from around the world.

I've searched for the odd and unusual and found several items that are now in Ripley's Believe It Or Not Museums. Over the years, I have found several two-headed calves, an albino trout, albino porcupine and a petrified man, which Ripley's purchased and placed in their museums.

I've been to every Ripley's Believe It Or Not Museum in the U.S., except the new one at Jackson Hole, Wy. I plan to visit the museums overseas after I retire.

There are more than 60,500 items in my private collection. I have the first two books that Ripley illustrated and the second series paperback printed in 1933 with Abe Lincoln on the cover. I would like to know if anyone has ever seen this one. I don't think I am missing any of the books, other than the foreign prints. I have 99% of Ripley's cartoons from 1908 until 1948, and most of the ones published after his death. Most are original. Some of my items include: a Ripley tablecloth, napkins, Ripley Jim Beam lamp, 6x3' Ripley wrapping paper, odditorium posters, comics after 1950, some of the 1930 Ace comics, museum guides and brochures, glasses, plates, pins, photos and postcards.

I started buying and selling on e-Bay, and my collection is growing. Every time you think you have everything, something else turns up.

Several of my submissions have been published as Ripley's cartoons, so email me if you know of an oddity that may be of interest to Ripley's Believe It Or Not.

Mickey Ivanovitch lives in Dresden, Ohio, and can be contacted at 740-754-1401 or His website is

If you have an interesting collection, email your story to us.



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