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BRIAN BASHAM/RECORD (Above) Dr. Carlos and Coleen Torres of Detroit Lakes started collecting doctor figurines from the U.S. and around the world in the late 60's. They now have more than 100 in their collection. (Below) Dr. Torres shows off a flea doctor figurine giving an exam and a shot. He said he is amazed at the inginuity it took to make some of his 113 doctor figurines.

Detroit Lakes doctor's travels lead to fun hobby

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Dr. Carlos Torres turned his medical career into a hobby that he wants to share with the community.

Torres and his wife Colleen collect figurines that depict doctors.

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The collection started in 1969 when Carlos Torres was going through his medical internship in Regina, Canada.

It started simply, then the collection blossomed into more than 100 pieces. Actually, it's 113 pieces, Colleen Torres said.

"I've got them listed," she added.

Some of the pieces have been given by family and friends.

"We started with one or two," Carlos Torres said. "If we found one, we'd pick it up."

There are plenty bought in the United States and Canada, with a smattering of pieces bought overseas.

"They are made from everywhere, from Uruguay to China," Carlos Torres said.

Many of the figurines were bought while Carlos was attending medical seminars.

"If he was going to one, I'd go out looking," Colleen Torres said.

The figurines range in value from a couple of dollars to several hundred for Royal Dalton and Llandro figurines. Royal Dalton and Llandro are known as higher-end makers of collectible figurines.

Some of them are also from dime stores, Colleen Torres said.

"They all have something that are pretty unique," she said.

Asked if he has any favorites, Carlos Torres smiled and pondered the question for several seconds.

"I like them all," he finally said.

He said the ingenuity of some of the pieces is incredible, especially with the imagination and detail involved in creating some of them.

"How in the world can you imagine this?" Carlos Torres said.

Each individual piece tells a story, as the Torres's have cataloged where and when each figurine was purchased.

The figurines also tell their individual stories, whether serious or farcical.

After retiring to Detroit Lakes several years ago, there wasn't any room to display the figurines in their home.

"I retired in 2001 and stopped collecting," Carlos Torres said. "We have a small house, so they were put in the back."

There were thoughts of rotating figurines in and out of storage, but the thought of going through the boxes during winter wasn't appealing.

"After we take them out again, we think 'Gee whiz, they really are pretty interesting," Colleen Torres said.

"It's a shame to not have them on display."

Instead, the plan is to sell the collection in the near future.

"We took them to sell them because we don't have the room to enjoy them," Colleen Torres said. "We don't see ourselves buying a house at this point."

The details of the sale aren't set in stone. The Torres's are open to selling it together or individually.

They said the collection likely will be listed online, and maybe in medical journal classified listings.

In the meantime, though, the Torreses have arranged to show off their collection at the Detroit Lakes Library in April and May.

"We'd like to share this with the community before we get rid of any of them," Colleen Torres said.

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