Originally created in Vienna, Austria in 1927, PEZ started out as a peppermint breath mint. PEZ is an abbreviation of PfeffErminZ (German for peppermint)
The first PEZ mints were not served in modern day style PEZ dispensers, but rather were sold in tin containers, very much like modern day Altoids tins. It wasn’t until 1948 that the first PEZ dispenser was created and introduced at the Vienna Trade Fair about a year later. This dispenser was in the form of a cigarette lighter, which the company states was to market their bricks as “anti-smoking” mints, which one would think the design would probably have the nice side effect of making it popular with kids, similar to candy cigarettes and other similar product.
In 1955 they were introduced in the United States and in 1955, the Pez company placed heads on the dispensers and marketed them for children. Santa Claus and Mickey Mouse were among the first character dispensers created.
One of the first character PEZ dispensers, the shape of the 1955 Santa Claus PEZ model is both rare and valuable. Departing from the norm, the dispenser has a round body, although the candy inside remains the same traditional narrow rectangular shape.
Around this time, they also introduced fruity flavored bricks, which significantly boosted salesamong children. Some of the more valuable PEZ dispensers to collect are pre-1989 Superhero PEZ dispensers. Easily distinguishable by their lack of feet, these figures vary greatly in condition and rarity. Popular versions include Wonderwoman, Batman, and Bugs Bunny.
In 1973, Pez built a factory in Orange, Connecticut. In 2007 Elvis was immortalized on three different Pez dispensers that were even released in a Limited Edition 3 Pez Gift Set with CD The King lives on which can now be found on ebay for serious collectors.
In 2008, the first Star Trek dispensers were released in a gift set with the seven original series crew and the Starship Enterprise. A second Star Trek gift set, based on The Next Generation series, was released in Fall 2012.
PEZ dispensers have become such collectibles with Snow White and the seven dwarves, The Lord of the Rings, Kiss, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles all part of the collections released by PEZ. Pezamania is the oldest convention, which has been held in Ohio since 1991, will host it’s annual convention in Cleveland this July 18-20 and bills itself as “The World’s Largest Gathering of Pez Collectors”featuring an international group of master PEZ collectors, PEZ dealers, and PEZ authors.
PEZ isn’t just about cartoon characters and pop stars. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Meghan Markle and Prince Harry have been turned into dispensers. There are also special additions sets honoring US Presidents. The volume 9 PEZ collectible gift set that includes Obama is running about $140 on ebay. There is even rumor that an an animated film version of PEZ are in the works,
Special Halloween sets of PEZ make it the perfect holiday to turn a whole new generation onto this candy that is even Kosher, vegan, gluten- and lactose-free and contain no artificial colors.
You can order this 12 Assorted Halloween PEZ Dispensers and each dispenser includes 2 PEZ Candy Refills for just $17.99 from the PEZ website.
Six packs of PEZ candy are available for $1.79 in assorted fruit flavors, raspberry, chocolate sour green apple, vanilla cupcake and even candy corn- just perfect for all the little ghosts and ghouls knocking on your door.