If anyone's told you they carried around Pez dispensers as a kid because they liked the candy, they're a liar. Pez candy must be a distant, equally disappointing cousin of chalk-like confections such as Smarties and candy cigarettes. Unlike those cousins, Pez dispensers haven't fallen out of fashion quite yet. With the collector's market moving towards the retro and kitschy, Gen X and Millennials can benefit from the boxes of childhood 'junk' they just couldn't part with when they moved out of their parent's houses. Chalk it up to the likes of Lisa Frank products and Hot Wheels cars, these most valuable Pez dispensers aren't dispensing only candy-flavored-chalk, but cold hard cash too.
In-Demand Pez Dispensers to Sell Today
Pez dispensers are one of those quirky, cheap collectibles that litter random baskets and bins in consignment stores across the world. Since 1949, the Austrian-based Pez Candy Company has been making these brightly colored, pop-culture candy toys. Coupled with strange powdered candy tablets, these toys are still being produced, but the most valuable ones come from the mid-century hey-day of all things zany and marketable. If Pez could make a deal with any brand or pop culture phenomenon out there, they did, leading to decades' worth of weird partnerships and even weirder art executions. But it's the many fever-dream designs that make these dispensers popular and valuable today.
The early Santa Pez's from the 1950s are a fan favorite. From just stock Santa heads to full body Old Saint Nicks, Santas from this period usually sell for around $100. For instance, this rare full body Santa sold for $70 at an auction in 2021.
Mickey Mouse Soft Head
During the 1970s, Pez proposed a soft head line of Disney dispensers. Prototypes of the heads were supposedly made in Hong Kong and attached by the Austrian company later on; but Disney never green lit the project, so these gummy-headed prototypes never made it to the market. With so few of these known to exist, if you can find one, they're worth a ton of money. The Mickey Mouse is perhaps the most valuable of these soft heads, with one selling in 2019 for a shocking $3,500.
Dumbo Soft Head
Another Disney soft head prototype to be on the lookout for is Dumbo, with his iconic (though seriously scaled down) ears and yellow hat. Attached to a pink stem, one of these prototypes sold for $2,728 in 2019.
Captain Hook Soft Head
Pez didn't limit themselves to pitching only Disney heroes, and took a walk on the wild side with their Capitan Hook soft head. Not a particularly remarkable dispenser design, it's valuable thanks to being a soft head. One of these sold in 2019 for $2,247 in an eBay auction.
Psychedelic Eyeball Flower Mod Pez
Pez didn't miss any opportunity to embrace that groovy, counterculture lifestyle that dominated the late 1960s with their packaging. The most valuable of these off-kilter dispensers is the 'Mod Pez' that features a rose flower head with an eyeball sitting in the center. Typically, these are worth a few hundred dollars each, such as this unboxed one that recently sold for $350 on eBay.
Universal Monster Dispensers
The Universal Monsters like Frankenstein and the Creature from the Black Lagoon are horror touchstones of 20th century pop culture, and the pop culture candy company didn't disappoint when it came to making their own versions of these fantastical creatures in Pez form. Vintage ones from the 1960s and 1970s are the most popular, and can sell up to the mid-hundreds when they're in good condition. For example, this one Frankenstein dispenser from 1965 sold for $600 on eBay.
1966 Batman With Cape
During the 1960s, Adam West's primetime Batman launched the Dark Knight into the pop culture zeitgeist, and Pez responded with their very own Batman dispenser. Although there were many other DC superheroes to get their own Pez dispensers, original Batman ones with their capes and feet attached are highly collectible today. Even unboxed ones have sold for a few hundred dollars, such as this near mint condition caped crusader that sold for $166 on eBay.
One lucky Pez employee was gifted a bride and groom pair of Pez dispensers in 1978 for their upcoming nuptials. Since the two Pez dispensers weren't widely distributed, they're considered quite rare and sold at auction in 2012 for $2,000.
1982 World's Fair Astronaut B
Legend has it that only two astronaut Pez dispensers were created for the 1982 World's Fair in Knoxville, Tennessee for two private Pez employees. One of these is blue with a yellow helmet and the other (yet to surface) supposedly has a white base instead. Although the blue one was listed on eBay, there's an ongoing scandal over whether or not the high-priced sale was actually made. Either way, this is one seriously rare Pez dispenser.
1961 Political Dispensers
As a gift to the current U.S. President John F. Kennedy, the Pez Candy Company created two donkey dispensers and one elephant dispenser in honor of the bi-partisan political makeup of the American government. One of these donkeys was even presented to the president directly when he visited Austria before his assassination. While these dispensers won't be going to auction anytime soon, they've got a combined value of between $20,000-$25,000.
Things That Make Pez Dispensers More Valuable
Given the thousands of Pez dispensers that've been produced since 1949, it takes a trained eye to catch one that's worth more than the average $5-$15 that they go for online. If you've got an old Pez dispenser collection or you're browsing for something to make a quick buck off of at the thrift store, be sure to look for these specific characteristics as they can raise the value.
- Vintage vs. Modern - Check the patent number on the side of the dispenser's stem to see what numbers are listed. Dispensers with patent numbers 2,620,061 and 3,410,455 are a bit more valuable because they were made between 1952-1974 - a hit period for Pez.
- Feet vs. Feetless - Pez dispensers that come without the square feet that're used to hold them up are typically older because the company started standardizing the use of feet by the 1980s. These 'footless' ones are worth more thanks to their age.
- Popular Characters vs. Unknowns - This one's the easiest. If you don't recognize the character, oftentimes, it's not worth that much. In the resell market, people run on nostalgia and they're more willing to buy characters they remember than those they've never seen before.
- Boxed vs. Unboxed - When it comes to most things, boxed collectibles are more valuable and the same can be said for Pez dispensers.
Go Back in Time With Pez Dispensers
On the whole, most Pez dispensers might not be worth a ton of money, but they imbue such a joyful and silly feeling in people that they continue to be traded and sold around the world. However, don't count your rags-to-riches story out just yet; there's always a rare Pez dispenser around the corner waiting to be discovered.