On my way back to Bedford yesterday, I hopped off I-95 in Orange to visit, ta-da, The PEZ Visitors Center. Who says a 65-year old can’t be a kid for the afternoon!? I sure remember buying PEZ, not for collecting the different heads, but for the candy. Had I been smart, I would have bought and saved the dispensers. I could buy all THREE houses I looked at, cash, for what vintage PEZ dispensers are going for today.
First off, no offense to PEZ, but the $4.00 tour is kind of a gyp. You can’t walk through the actual assembly line, like we all could years ago, only peer through the glass to see what the workers were doing, but that’s surely a complaint I need to take up with federal regulators and OSHA and not PEZ.
On the plus side, The Visitors Center did have a wonderful series of display cases, highlighting the personal collection of the owner. And of course, the obligatory gift shop.
The official press release about it:
This special dispenser is one of only two political donkey dispensers known to exist. It dates back to a photo and press release created by PEZ in 1961 describing a gift to President John F. Kennedy. A special case with three dispensers, including the Democratic donkey head dispenser was presented to him during his visit to Vienna Austria, where PEZ was first marketed. The actual press release and photos are also on display at the PEZ Visitor Center.
The first example of this dispenser was found in the mid-2000s in a storage box in the PEZ offices in Linz Austria. It is currently on display in their corporate offices in Europe. The dispenser on display now was found in July 2012 by a young man in New York who was helping clean out items in his grandfather’s house. His grandfather was given the donkey by the Vice President of PEZ back in the early 1960s.
The family has agreed to loan the dispenser to the Visitor Center through the month of September so it can be displayed and enjoyed before it is put up for auction. Pre-auction estimates by collectors have speculated the dispenser will sell in the $12,000 – $15,000 range!
I loved the trivia questions along the Wall of PEZ History. [See answers below]
But what blew me away at the end of the tour was browsing through a binder of current PEZ dispensers for sale on eBay. Holy PEZ dispenser Batman. Here are two of the most expensive listings:
I couldn’t leave without buying something because my entrance ticket gave me a discount on anything I selected. Classy choice, don’t you agree? Mr. EOS’s birthday is sooner than mine. I think I can honestly say my shopping is done!
All in all, a fun outing for a quick hop off I-95.
Answers to the trivia questions:
A. 12, and still 12 today
C. Tweety Bird