Treasure Hunting for Collectible Pez Dispensers

things to collectEach year the Pez Company manufactures and releases new designs for their Pez dispensers. These subsequently create like a treasure hunt for those who collect them. And those just starting a collection have years of treasure hunting to catch up on.

But even if not collecting, some Pez dispensers are quite rare and hold a value like a treasure would, so keep an eye out for them!  Personally, I love the entrepreneurial story behind them and also EBay’s link to Pez. They inspire to continue and create!

The sought after Pez candy dispensers are topped with a wide range of friendly cartoon-like heads. From their first appearance in the 1950’s, the Pez dispenser line-up keeps expanding. Some of the latest additions from the Pez Company include the Transformers, Finding Dory Characters, and Trolls.

History of Pez

The original Pez candies were first developed to be a strong breath mint for people who smoked and were marketed towards these adults. PEZ is the abbreviated German word for peppermint, PfeffErminZ, and was initially conceived by Edward Haas III of Austria in 1927. Later, in 1948, Haas designed a dispenser for his breath mints which resembled a hand held cigarette lighter. The Pez were inserted into the stem-like body and dispensed out the flip top.

After unsuccessfully trying to expand sales of Pez into the American market in 1952, the Pez Company decided to target a different audience. Instead of the powerful breath mint they changed the Pez into fruit flavored candies and designed kid- friendly Santa Claus and Space Trooper dispensers. They then marketed this idea to a younger crowd. The new designs with their small delicious treats were a success.

Ebay and Pez

Pez dispensers have since grown in popularity. So much so that the founders of Ebay fabricated a story involving the fascination with Pez collecting in order to help their company grow in the 1990’s. In his book Myths of Innovation, Scott Berkun shares how the actual story of Ebay needed to have more appeal. He says, “It wasn’t until after they invented a quasi-love story– about how the founder created the company so his fiancée could trade Pez dispensers—that they got the press coverage they wanted.”
http://books.google.com/books?id=kPCgnc70MSgC&pg=PA6#v=onepage&q&f=false

Collecting and Trading Pez

Rightfully, then one of the best places to collect and trade Pez dispensers is on Ebay. With thousands of results for ‘Pez dispenser’ on Ebay’s auction search, collectors are able to seek out desired dispensers to add to their collections. Just like other collectible items, certain Pez dispensers are more valuable than others depending on their rarity, age, or condition.

The age of a Pez dispenser can roughly be determined by whether the dispenser has feet or not. In 1987 feet were attached to a dispenser’s base for standing stability. Therefore any straight based Pez dispenser was manufactured before the 1987 added feature and may be more valuable.

An example of an extremely rare collectible Pez dispenser is the 1972 Make-a- Face Pez. This Pez dispenser was taken off the market soon after it was released because of safety concerns for its small parts. The Make-a-Face Pez dispenser, complete with all 17 tiny face pieces and including the wig, is valued around 2500 dollars.

There are also many abbreviated terms which are used to describe the condition of a Pez dispenser. MIC stands for Mint in Cello, MIP is Mint in Package, and MIB implies Mint in Bag. An interesting term which describes an error on a Pez stem is UDR or Upside Down R(registered trademark). Finding one of these Pez would add delight to any Pez collection.

Starting a Pez Collection

Anyone can start a Pez collection at any time. They make great starter collections for children because not only are they inexpensive to start, they continue to release familiar and popular characters each year. As children grow, they can then add more expensive, older dispensers to their collections.

Topped with a large variety of character heads PEZ dispensers are a collectible and enjoyable hobby for people of all ages. Whether a person is a casual collector or a passionate one, the Pez Company continues to supply them with trendy dispensers filled with their favorite candies. Treasure hunting for Pez dispensers goes on!

 

 

 

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5 Responses

  1. Spallies says:

    This is great Jenny!!! I loved Pez when I was a kid! I had never heard that story before about the marketing ploy by ebay… Thanks for sharing… Oh and the link to the book about the ebay story does not seem to be working..?

  2. Jenny Kile says:

    Thanks Spallies, my kids would always get a Pez Dispenser in their stockings and Easter baskets…… They are fun little things.

    As for eBay, it pays to be ‘creative’…. I loved it! (I’ll check the link)

  3. pdenver says:

    Hello Jenny. Sure brings me back to my childhood with this story. My family didn’t have much money, so when we got one of these, it was a treat. By having “multi-pieces” of candy, we got more “bang for the buck,” so to speak. My children got them in the same way yours did. Many times, the candies would reach their mouths first and not the dispenser.

  4. JC1117 says:

    Great story, Jenny. Thanks.

    I didn’t know that Pez dispensers were so collectible. It makes me wish I would have kept all the Pez dispensers when I was a kid. I had plenty of them.

    By the way…I still eat Pez candy. The cola flavor is my favorite and I always keep some at home.

  5. GGGGGusGuy says:

    Thanks Jenny this brings back great memories from my childhood.
    We have a local supermarket that sells the Pez candy by the pound .I often dig thru the bin and pick out
    a bunch of my favorite flavor (cherry).
    Stay warm
    GG

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