FORT MYERS, Fla. - For much of his life, Chet Mowrey has been a collector.
Superman and Batman comics as a youth. Later, it was matchbooks and miniature whiskey bottles and shot glasses. He also recycles aluminum as well as copper from TVs.
For the last 13 years, Mowrey's golf ball collection has topped them all.
He knows the exact number - 13,171.
"I have not seen anything like it, not even close," said Golf World owner Reed Longo, who has been to Mowrey's home in North Fort Myers.
He has a brown golf ball that is about 100 years old. He also has pink, blue, red, orange and yellow balls. He has golf balls from the World Cup, Australia, China and Germany and one of the Presidential Seal, one of Air Force One and one of Windows on the World, a restaurant that used to be on top of the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center complex in New York City.
"I found that two weeks after 911," Mowrey said. "I thought, 'Ohhhh, this is a little eerie."
But now that he and wife Charlie want to move to a smaller place, he wants to downsize. He'll keep a few favorites and sell the rest.
"It ran its course, I guess you could say," he explained.
Whether by the ball or by the rack or by the whole lot, Mowrey wants to sell them. "Any way to get rid of 'em," he said. He has no idea what his most valuable balls or what the whole 13,171 would go for because he has received no takers online.
"The Windows on the World ball we tried to sell for $500 or best offer," Mowrey said. "We never got an offer. Someone also could buy 100 balls to just hit for 25 cents a ball. I have no idea."
Mowrey has built six single racks, which hold 577 golf balls each and five double racks in his garage, which hold 1,144 balls each. The racks used to cost $20 to make. Now they cost $80, another reason to downsize.
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