Museum Features World’s Largest PEZ Collection
Many people have fond childhood memories of PEZ™ dispensers… odd little plastic gadgets, topped by a cartoon character head, that dispense individual candies. A small museum in Burlingame, California, showcases what may be the world’s largest collection of PEZ dispensers and memorabilia.
The Pez company started in 1927, making peppermint candies. In 1945, the company produced a simple dispenser for the small, brick-shaped candies. The dispensers really began to catch on in 1955, when the company placed heads on them, and marketed them to children.
The company has since produced at least 1500 designs. Because of their popularity, the dispensers have become a valuable collectors item. Rare models may sell for thousands of dollars.
In recent years, the Pez company has capitalized on the collectors market by releasing limited edition sets, such as the Wizard of Oz commemorative set issues in 2009.
Some of the most valuable individual dispensers are “proof copies.” When testing new molds, the company casts a few samples in bright colors. These are never supposed to leave the factory, but they are sometimes smuggled out and reach the collectors market.
Because of the high value placed on some of the rare dispensers, there is also a market for forgeries. A dispenser that sold on eBay for $11,000 was later proven to be a fake.
The Burlingame Museum of Pez Memorabilia
If you’d like to see an outstanding collection or rare and unusual PEZ dispensers, visit the Museum of Pez Memorabilia, in Burlingame, California.
The museum started out as a showcase for the owner’s collection, in one corner of his computer store. However, showcasing and selling PEZ dispensers quickly proved more profitable than the computer business, and the museum was born!
In addition to PEZ dispensers, the museum displays PEZ vending machines, PEZ displays, a variety of vintage PEZ collectibles, and even a few other vintage toys from the same period as the early candy dispensers.
One feature of the museum is a custom, 7-foot tall “snowman” dispenser – the largest in the world. In 2009, the for trademark infringement over the custom dispenser. Neither party will discuss the outcome of the suit, but the giant dispenser is still on display.
The museum also features a store where you can buy (surprise!) PEZ dispensers and candy, as well as other collectibles.
To learn more about the museum, visit their website at BurlingamePezMuseum.com.
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