Collecting Pez Candy Dispensers

Collecting Pez, a brief guide to the cady dispensers, the Pez Company history and Pez Categories.

The PEZ Company certainly has come a long way. Founded in Vienna, Austria in 1927 by Eduard Hass III as an adult smoker's breath freshener, this tiny candy has now become a huge collectible business. The original PEZ, which is a shortened version of the German word Pfefferimiz (peppermint) started as a peppermint flavored breath mint. The original dispensers were first manufactured in 1942, but these did not have heads. These were made for adults.

When PEZ came to the United States in 1952, much marketing research was done, and the company changed over to a children's candy company. Over 3 billion of these candies are sold in the US alone. While only peppermint, orange, lemon, grape and strawberry PEZ are available in the US, Canada also has cherry, Spain has raspberry and apple, and chocolate is available in Hungary and Thailand. Several discontinued flavors include, flower, licorice, menthol, coffee, cinnamon, eucalyptus and chlorophyll. A sugar free version of this candy is also available in several flavors. The PEZ candy itself in made in Orange, Connecticut, by PEZ Candy, Inc.

While the candy itself is popular, the dispensers are the rage! With over 275 different PEZ dispensers having been manufactured through the years, these little "headed" dispensers have turned into quite a collectible.

While the dispensers themselves are generally not made in the United States, you can tell where your PEZ came from by looking for a small number in the corner of the stem. This is the code for where your dispenser was manufactured.

1. Hungary or Austria

2. Austria or Hong Kong

3. Hungary or Austria

4. Austria

5. Slovenia or Yugoslavia

6. China or Hong Kong

7. Austria

8. Austria

9. USA

V. Yugoslavia

Each PEZ dispenser will also have a patent number located in some place.

While there are over 275 different dispensers and too numerous for me to list, each PEZ dispenser is listed in a category type. Categories contain various "themed" PEZ, some of which are still available or have been retired. There are numerous places to check on the availability of these dispensers, such as books, conventions, web sites, clubs and newletters.

The categories for PEZ dispensers and the number of dispensers available are; Kooky Zoo (10), Bi-Centennial (9), Ninja Turtles (56), Looney Tunes (14), Looney Tunes Revised (4), Contemporary (6), Snoopy (4), Flinstones (4), Circus (8), Garfield (6), Garfield Revised (5), Pez-a-savrs (4), Star Wars (5), Jack in the Box (3), Crazy Fruits (3), Monsters (3), Safari Animals (4), Trucks (these come in a series, the R series alone has 30), Tom & Jerry (2), Whistles (?), Hero's (8), Rubber Necks (6), Eerie Spirits (6), Smurfs (5), Merry Music Makers (5), Muppets (4), Limited Edition Psychedelic Eye (2), Bubbleman (9), Pez Pals (16), Seasonal (10), Miscellaneous (28), Miscellaneous Revised (1), Disney (28), Disney Revised (4), Bugz (5), The Simpson's (5), Misfitts (8), Crazy Animals (4), Astrerix (4), Zielpunkt (1), Nintendo (4) and FAO Schwartz (4). This list is constantly changing as more dispensers are added, sometimes having up to 48 available at one time.



As I mentioned earlier, all of these dispenser's are collectible: some can be purchased for as little as $1.00. Of course the MOC (mint on card) and the MIB (mint in box) dispensers are worth a lot more money. How much money? Well, a Big Top Elephant from the Circus series was sold in 1995 for $3600.00 and a Make A Face PEZ from the 70's was sold for $4500.00. At the present time a Merry Music Maker Owl is valued at $1925.00, a Pez Pals Groom for $295.30 and a Icee Bear PEZ for $15.00. As you can see these collectibles are certainly worth different amounts.

While the following sources are not affiliated with PEZ, these are terrific resources for PEZ collectors.

Newletters;

Pez Collector's News

c/o Richard Belyski

PO Box 124

Seacliff, NY 11579

The Fliptop Pezervation Society

c/o Dennis Martin

1368 Dearing Downs Circle

Birmingham, AL 35080

Books;

Collecting Pez, written by David Welch

Pez Collectibles: Up-to-Date Prices, written by Richard Geary

A Pictorial Guide to Plastic Candy Dispensers - Featuring Pez, written by David Welch

Museums;

Pez Museum of Memorabila

214 California Drive

Burlingame, CA

There are also numerous sites on-line dedicated to PEZ and thousands of conventions to visit all over the world.

The best places to find PEZ dispensers are flea markets, yard sales, antique stores and of course any grocery, convenience or department stores. But if you are hoping that your PEZ will become a collectible, it is best to leave them in the original packaging.

Not only are there dispensers, but other numerous items for the collector. Sweatshirts, t-shirts, neck-ties, clocks, banks, jewelry, coffee mugs, cookie jars and hats are just naming a few. These items are for collectors and children alike.

It is hard to believe that a small company that made breath mints for smokers has become such a multimillion dollar industry. And the little plastic "headed" dispensers have become such a wanted, collectible item.

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