PezPeople have been collecting PEZ candy dispensers almost as long as they’ve been collecting stamps. It was one of the first pop culture products to become a contemporary collectible.

It was created in Austria in the 1920’s, and was originally marketed as a compressed peppermint candy. The name PEZ was derived from the German word for peppermint – PfeffErminZ – and it is correctly written in all capital letters.

In the 1950’s, the company began to release PEZ dispensers with character heads, such as a Nurse, a Doctor, and Santa Claus. Not surprisingly, kids began to buy the product for the dispenser (the candy was secondary) and a phenomenon was born.

PPezEZ dispensers are difficult to date because of the numerous releases and variations. Generally those made before 1989 can be identified because they have no “feet”. The feet on the current models allow the dispenser to stand upright.

Some of the very early versions actually came in a box,and those in mint condition can fetch several hundred dollars on the secondary market. Some of the rarer dispensers include Baseball Glove (no feet), Batman with black hood and cape, and Captain America (no feet).

PezThe company has produced many dispenser lines of comic book and cartoon characters, such as Disney, Looney Tunes, Spiderman, and Star Wars.

Through the company website, PEZ sells variations called “Misfits”, which are batches of dispensers that didn’t quite work out right. Since these are only available throught the website, they are bound to gain value on the secondary market.

Over 3 billion PEZ candies are consumed annually in the U.S. alone. PEZ Candy is manufactured in Orange, Connecticut, and the dispensers are manufactured and imported from Austria, Hungary, Czech Republic, China, and Slovenia. The current US flavours are orange, grape, lemon and strawberry, although the rest of the world also has cherry.

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