I guess that I never realized that PEZ is actually the brand name of an Austrian candy. I guess that I just always assumed the PEZ were an American made candy. Well, I was wrong, but that doesn't change the fact that the candy and their neat and decorative dispenser are cool and collectible.
For the most part each PEZ dispenser holds about 12 pieces of candy, although there are many PEZ designs that hold fewer and sometimes more than the average.
The name, PEZ, was actually derived from the first, middle, and last letters in the German Word for peppermint, Pfeffeminz, which was the first PEZ flavor. Now, you can find PEZ in many different flavors such as orange, lemon, and cherry.
Now, if you were curious, PEZ was first introduced to the market in 1927, in Vienna. Eduard Haas III used his family's baking powders and created the now famous candy. He used a small tin to hold the original peppermint PEZ before the PEZ dispenser was created.
PEZ production slowed during WW2, but in 1945, manufacturers re-marketed PEZ, and in 1952, Haas introduced the candy to the United States. In 1955, the PEZ company began marketing the candy towards children and began created the decorative head for the dispenser, which until now looked similar to cigarette lighters.
Since 1950, there are now well over 550 different dispensers to include Disney characters, holiday figures, Nascar heads, famous cartoon characters, and others.
PEZ Candy Flavors
As mentioned above, the original PEZ flavor was pepermint, but throughout the years, there have been an assortment of PEZ flavors. Below are some of the flavors that the PEZ candy can be found in.
- Sour Blue Raspberry
- Sour Green Apple
- Sour Pineapple
- Sour Watermelon
Although the cutesy kid's candy dispenser may seem silly to collect, it's actually one of the most highly enjoyed hobbies of collectibles. There are so many different styles, themes, and designs of PEZ dispensers that you just can't help but the smile when you see a small lineup on some one's desk.
And, even if you're not an avid PEZ collector, you can still consider yourself a collector if you purchase a PEZ candy dispenser just because you think it's cute, and you've found that you now have a handful of them. You're still a collector even if you don't go to expos and avidly search for the candy dispensers, so don't deny yourself the pleasure of calling yourself a collector.
As a collector, you may find that there are different types of collectors, such as mentioned previously, but there are also different styles of collecting. I mean, some people only collect certain themed dispensers, such as certain color handles or a specific them (IE all holiday, Disney, or Nascar dispensers).
Some collectors prefer only loose dispensers, whereas others only collect those still in the original bag. Just remember if you purchase a PEZ dispenser in the original bag, backing, or packing, it is always better to leave it as is, especially in terms of a future investment.
In any sense, when collecting PEZ candy dispensers, you want to have fun. Buy what you like. And, enjoy what you're doing.
There is no specific way that you have to collect, and there's certainly no guideline as to which dispensers you should collect.
Pez Collector's Guides
When trying to determine the value of your PEZ collection, there are several different things that you want to look for.
- PEZ dispensers made before 1987 are more valuable. You can determine the year by the feet. If the dispenser does not have feet (a base addition that helps the dispenser stand up), then the candy dispenser is pre-1987 and more valuable.
- Again, older dispensers are more valuable, so check the patent number on the lower portion of the stem. See below for more details about PEZ patent numbers.
- The packing is important in determining the price, as well. If the dispenser is still in its original packing, it will tend to be more valuable. In order of least to most valuable- loose dispenser (no packaging), MIB (Mint in Bag- mint condition in cellophane bag), MOC (Mint on Card- cardboard back with clear plastic cover), and MOMC (Minot on Mint Card- packaged with card in perfect shape without bends or scratches).
If you are confused or just need more exact value on your collection, you may want to purchase a value guide that will help you better identify the variation and other factors that can determine the value of a PEZ dispenser. If you are able to figure out all the variations and determine an approximate value, you can bargain better with prospective buyers.
Pez Patent Numbers
The patent numbers for PEZ dispensers are as follows, with the patent number first and the year of manufacture and release second.
- BOX: Pre-1950's
- DBP 818,829: 1950's
- 2,620,061: 1952
- 3,410,455: 1968
- 3,845,882: 1974
- 3,942,683: 1976
- 4,966,305: 1990
Some dispensers that do not have patent numbers, but they were released around the mid-1970s and 1980s, and are considered 3.9.
You may noticed that collectors will tend to abbreviate the patent number; so the patent number printed on the stem may read 4,966,305 would be abbreviated as 4.9. This is an easier method to notate the PEZ dispensers in one's collection as it eliminates the extra numbers, which can potentially cause typos and mistakes when listing.
Storing PEZ Dispensers
When collecting PEZ dispensers, you want to make sure that you keep your dispensers in high quality. The better quality they are kept, the more long term value you will see from your collection.
You want to keep them away from dust, dirt, and debris, as best as you can, especially if you have loose candy dispensers in your collection.
There are PEZ display cases that you may want to invest in, if you have older and more rare or unique PEZ dispensers. These will keep your dispensers kept in optimum conditions away from particles that can potentially harm them. Plus, because they are still clear, you can still view your collection, making them probably one of the best means of storing and protecting your PEZ collection.
Belle Malone,US on May 03, 2012:
I have a lot of pez. I need to know what they are worth. they are in mint condition and all still in package. They were made in the 1990's plz email me @ firstname.lastname@example.org!! thank you(:
mikepez on August 30, 2010:
20 yrs ago I found a fun inexspensive hobby. After having a son who turned 6 2day, I wish I had somewhere 2display the 400 or so plastic dispensers of fun (I v'e eaten most of the candiesduring late nite munchie attacks). Maybee when he is older, he'll appreciate thefeeling I had when my father passed doewnmy 1st 2 classics 2me. Thanks pez,
JK on February 24, 2010:
I saw a vintage 50s PEZ dispenser sell for $250.00. I don't think this could characterize collectors as cheap when they are willing to put out that kind of cash.
Venia on September 19, 2009:
there is more than one 'musuem' - one being in Easton, PA and I see one in San Fran, CA.
Love my pez!
karen on March 06, 2009:
There is a museum!! We are avid collectors, it does seem like a cheap mans hobby, but soon into it you realize that its not some of these pez go for hundreds/ even thousands of dollars. Collectors edition books are great if you are interested, full color pictures with info. on each released pez (such as yr. patent #, country and so on) they issue a new one every year. Great collection if you have the interest.
dur on February 21, 2009:
I think most of them are a dime a dozen and it's the cheap man's hobby.
Patty Inglish MS from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on February 19, 2009:
Sounds like millions of them.
Whitney (author) from Georgia on February 18, 2009:
I don't know about a museum, but when lookin up info for the hub, I found people with rather large collections. I think it would be a rather large book, especially since some PEZ dispensers are made with the same character heads but different colored stems.
Patty Inglish MS from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on February 18, 2009:
I see new Pex dispensers for sale at each holiday and wonder how large is the largest private collection, and if ther eis a Pez Museum. It would be interesting to see all of the different characters in an illustrated book.