Pet Rock
Pet Rock

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Collection Tier:
Tier 2

Toys and Games ➔ Pet Rock

This Pet Rock novelty toy consists of a smooth rock nested in excelsior inside of a cardboard box. The short-lived but intense Pet Rock phenomenon began in mid- to late-1975 and subsided shortly after the 1975 winter holiday season. While each rock sold for $3.95, enough rocks were sold to render its creator, Gary Ross Dahl, a millionaire. He was later sued by investors and ordered to pay them a six-figure sum.

Dahl, a freelance advertising copywriter, came up with the idea for a pet rock while socializing at Los Gatos bar in Northern California. The idea began as a joke but became a serious business endeavor. He recruited several investors to help fund initial production costs. Dahl designed and wrote an extensive, humorous "instruction manual" (missing from museum acquisition) to accompany the Pet Rock. It included advice on how to care for your rock, getting to know the rock, training instructions, tricks, and rock breeds.

Written on the box:
  • "This box contains one genuine pedigreed PET ROCK"
  • "c1975 Rock Bottom Productions / Los Gatos, Calif. 95030"
  • "IMPORTANT: Open box carefully. DO NOT remove rock before reading instructions."
After lapsing for several decades, the Pet Rock became available again in 2012, through Rosebud Entertainment.
Rock, Cardboard, Excelsior
4 1/2"" h 4"" w 4"" d
Current Location Status:
In Storage
Museum Purchase
TOYS! (2018 – 2020)
This GRPM original exhibit featured toys and games from the museum’s collections in meticulously crafted displays representing childhood in different eras. This interactive, multi-generational exhibition of toys and games is sure to rekindle childhood memories and spark the creation of new ones.  
Gary Dahl
Creator of the Pet Rock

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