By Josh Saunders
Meet the couple who turned their rabbit collecting obsession into the world’s only bunny museum boasting over 34,000 items.
Candace Frazee and Steve Levinsky started gifting one another a bunny item, every day, 24 years ago and now their hopping horde is worth $1.9m (1.4M GBP).
Their collection boasts paintings, antique items and large carnival floats, as well as cuddly toys, mugs, dinner sets, salt and pepper shakes and more.
They were bestowed a Guinness World Record for most bunny items and awarded with the number two living museum in the world, after The White House.
Candace and Steve, who even had a bunny themed wedding, welcome 100 people-a-day to their bunny abode.
Last month, they have relocated their ‘living museum’ to larger home in Altadena in California, USA, so they can fully display their impressive items.
Candace, cofounder of The Bunny Museum, said: “We never thought we would have a huge, world famous bunny collection, it just happened organically.
“Our museum was founded on organic endearment for each other, we are the only bunny museum which is the boggling thing.
“We have one bunny that was made of ash from the Mount St Helen eruption, which was very unusual.
“We have lots of tiny bunnies made out of gemstone, wood or tin, people are always amazed by them.”
The bizarre tradition started when Candace nicknamed her boyfriend ‘honey bunny’ and from there he bought her a plush cuddly toy and the pair started exchanging bunnies on holidays.
Within the year, the couple couldn’t wait to present one another with their bunny ‘love token’ and started doing it every day.
Candace added: “It just stuck, but now we love bunnies.
“I gave him a bunny for Easter and every holiday we started giving each other one, eventually we were so excited to give the gift to one another we made it every day.
“It was four years into our collecting that we jokingly said that it’s like we live in a bunny museum.
“I could have called him my ‘little froggy’ and I’m sure we would have a frog museum instead.”
Since their bunny gifting tradition started in 1993, Candace and Steve became obsessed and even incorporated their love of bunnies into their Big Day in 1994.
The ‘hoppy couple’ served carrot cake and Steve dressed up as a bunny for their wedding reception.
Then, encouraged by friends after collecting 8,000 items, they opened their home to the public in 1998.
Candace said: “We have had 27,000 visitors since opening and now get anywhere up to 100 people a day, since reopening people hop on over in bigger numbers.
“The first thing people say is ‘wow.’ Our visitors are always surprised by how many bunny items we actually have.
“We have lots of awards from a Guinness World Record, to the cutest museum, most unusual museum, World’s Hoppiest Couple and many more.”
Their collection has now been valued at $1.9million (1.4MGBP) , but the couple say many of the items are worth only a dollar (77PENCE).
Candace said: “Our family say we are nuts but they have an appreciation because we have some beautiful pieces.
“Some of our items cost a dollar, others more. We don’t do it for the money.”
Among the accolades won by the museum include a Guinness World Record for most bunny items in the world and more.
Candace added: “We are actually the number two living museum, the top one is The White House.
“With the museum, we have no idea who is going to hop on through the door whether it’s a person in a bunny costume, a celebrity, school groups or others.
“But we just see it as a lot of fun, our common goal is collecting bunnies and it’s our daily love token to one another.”
To find out more visit here.