Sometimes it’s more about the packaging than the candy inside. At least that’s what we have learned from Pez.
Invented in 1927 in Austria, Pez candy could have easily been mistaken for a digestive tablet. Thus their trademark packaging became an icon and indicator, the Pez dispenser. The packaging became more popular and part of pop culture than the candy itself, to the point where there are collectors who would pay a pretty penny just for a vintage dispenser. There are even Pez gatherings, like conventions such as Pez-a-Mania which has gone on in Ohio since 1991.
So what’s the deal with the dispenser’s anyway? What makes them so popular and neat is that there are hundreds of them depicting different characters and designs. There are Disney Pez, sports Pez, and more! As you will find in this list, the company has its foot on the gas and do not plan to touch the break anytime soon. Among these trendy dispensers are some ugly ducklings. However, there are also golden eggs, dispensers that can sell for hundreds if not thousands due to being a rare collector’s item.
So here is our list of lame dispensers and some really expensive ones.
27 Lame: Michael Jackson
It’s hard to talk about this one without feeling mean. Society has already done enough to Jackson’s name from the scandals to the jokes. Even Pez apparently cannot help but jump on the Jackson merchandise bandwagon and they failed with this one.
This Pez dispenser is definitely not flattering for him.
The mouth is wide and the eyes are too far apart which makes him look frog-like. This is not the only dispenser though; there are far less lame Jackson Pez for Pez and Michael Jackson fans.
26 Lame: Handgun Pez
We can already hear our readers taking this article and saying, “Don’t you mean ‘best’ instead of ‘lame’?” when they see these gun-shaped Pez dispensers. You know what’s lame though, people mistaking one of these for a real handgun. That’s less likely for the colorful versions, but the brown and black one could look real to unknowing eyes from a distance. Don’t pretend it wouldn’t happen if these suddenly became a hit. Enough people live with paranoia and there are enough stories of fake guns causing issues already.
25 Expensive: 1955 Santa ($500 Each!)
Who except Scrooge does not love Santa merchandise? The 1950s version of the Santa Pez easily can go for 50 dollars. Some sellers sell in bulk for up to 500 dollars. These Santa’s are known for their more rounded shape.
Imagine how popular these are though. What’s a better stocking stuffer than Pez?
Even better? A Santa themed Pez. Pez has a whole collection of Christmas-themed stuff, because they know people buy them as stocking stuffers. They got elves, reindeer, and snowmen.
24 Lame: Peter Pan
You better believe that this is vintage. However, it’s not going on the expensive side of this list (though collectors do seek it). It’s lame because well...look at it! His eyebrows are just swollen flesh pieces. Those falling apart eyes and his sinister smile are nightmare inducing. Also, why is he blonde? The blonde color only makes this dispenser rarer because that’s how collectors’ items work. If it’s wrong, it’s better because it’s more rare and fun to show off.
23 Lame: The Hobbit Dwarves
What’s lame about these Pez is not the design but the size. Since they are dwarves, you get half the candy you normally get. You’re better off buying many Gandolf Pez rather than Thorin’s entire company with that logic. How many people buy Pez for just the candy though? You want your favorite character.
The detail might be cute for some, but it could be offensive for others. The only other time size changes are with child characters.
22 Expensive: Astronaut B ($32,000... Crazy)
This dispenser is also known as the “1982 World’s Fair promotional Pez.” Its expense comes from the fact that there is only two of their kind in the whole world. The “B” in astronaut B stands for its blue color. The second one has a white helmet and a green base. According to eBay, the most recent sell involving one of these dispensers was back in 2006 when the green astronaut sold for over 32,000 dollars. That possibly makes it the most expensive dispenser on this list.
21 Lame: Emoji
Emoji are like emotional punctuation to the social media world. It’s nice, but companies took them and made endless amounts of annoying merchandise from pillows to movies. Apparently even Pez too part in this, giving us the emoji dispensers. So you can have dispensers of smiling poop give you candy because that’s what we always wanted. If regular poop is too boring, there is rainbow poop to liven up your candy life. According to Pez and so many others, emoji’s go with merchandise as much as writing notes on Facebook and Twitter.
20 Lame: Cereal Mascots
The one saving grace of these dispensers is that they are basically free. They came in special edition packages of cereal. So you pay for cereal and also get a free little Pez dispenser.
That being said, these were made to be free.
These characters are known as some of the most annoying mascots on television. Honestly, who would choose to buy them without the cereal box? Are there people out there who are actually attached to these mascots?
19 Expensive: Superheroes
It’s not just Wonder Woman; there are a lot of expensive superhero Pez out there. This is obvious though isn’t it? The biggest collectors out there are people who hoard superhero merchandise. You don’t have to be into Pez to buy these at a huge price. You can just be into the character!
The most valuable of the superheroes are pre-1989, so says eBay. This is distinguishable by their lack of feet. eBay also states that the most popular among them are Batman and Wonder Woman.
18 Lame: Breaking Bad
Sorry to the local Albuquerque artist, Steve White, but we’re putting the Pez on this list because they just don’t look like Pez. These dispensers were hand-painted, so that’s really cool.
What originally were these Pez though?
The head shape on some of these look really unnatural. The artist definitely did something creative and Breaking Bad fans can enjoy this merchandise. What do Pez fans think though? Would this be a welcome addition to the collection or would it be considered not truly Pez?
17 Lame: Madagascar’s Melvin
Where is this giraffe’s neck? That is literally the reason he has made it onto the lame section of this list. If you are going to make a giraffe piece of merchandise, then you need it to have a long neck or else what’s the point? They are defined by their insane necks. Melvin was not even that great a character in Madagascar. He wasn’t even necessary, but at least we could enjoy his ridiculous neck. He could’ve been amazing but they ruined him.
16 Expensive: 1950s Witch
On Live Auctioneers, the starting bid for this Pez dispenser was a whopping two thousand dollars. This version of the 1950s witch is known as the “B” version.
It’s rare, and taller than its other versions.
To make these all the more special, “The Witch series” of Pez were among the first to feature character heads, and character heads are now the first thing to come to mind with Pez. The Halloween colors really can get you in the October mood.
15 Lame: Tinkerbell
Tinkerbell, what did they do to your beautiful fairy face?! These Tinkerbell Pez rest in a museum section of a Pez factory in southern Connecticut. So one thing to take away from this list is that old Pez are creepy. Sometimes we have to enjoy the progress we have made by looking into the past but wow the past can be ugly. But maybe her colors are awful due to aging and back when she was made, Tinkerbell was pretty. However now she looks like an old cursed girl.
14 Lame: Yourself
This is in the gray area between cool and lame. Hot Pop Factory, a jewelry making company, used a Makerbot 3D printer and a Kinect to create Pez dispensers that can be modeled after individual’s heads.
These Pez dispensers were a holiday gift for the company’s staff.
But how much did these 3D prints really look like them? How much does it cost? It’s an adorable gift and the staff should treasure them. Would they be better colored or just creepy because they’ll look like you even more?
13 Expensive: Mickey Mouse ($7,000+)
Not just any Mickey Mouse Pez is expensive. There is a prototype called the Soft Head Mickey that is very rare. Collectors believe there is only one in existence, known for its soft plastic Mickey head and red candy shaft. According to eBay, this prototype is rumored to have been bought for seven thousand dollars. The Pez website states that it was made in 1979. While there are a lot of Mickey Pez out there, this one stands above the rest.
12 Lame: ET
ET can’t help how he looks, but the designers for Pez dispensers could have done a double take for this design. They should have had more of ET’s body or made the candy holding part of the dispenser a different color.
If you haven’t been clued in already from the image, this dispenser looks a tad inappropriate.
But you know what? Dirtiness doesn’t exist in an object but in our minds. Children don’t see it so it’s actually us who are lame here.
11 Lame: Dr. Skull
What’s lame about this dispenser is how it looks like the figure from the famous painting, “The Scream.” According to sellers, he makes a great addition to a Halloween Pez collection.
From a distance though, it’s impossible to tell what this is due to its off-white colors of both the skull and teeth.
The teeth blend in with the rest of the head, making it look like it’s unfinished. There are some better versions where the sculpt makes the eyes look angrier.
10 Expensive: Golden Glow
This particular dispenser was made to celebrate Pez’s 50th anniversary in the United States. It only sold through mail-in orders for only about 20 dollars. Today the price skyrockets as these are retired, making them limited and rare. They seem to be a must for any collection. When an item comes with its own stand, it’s meant for collectors.
All it’s missing is gold candy. Just kidding, the candy always remains the same no matter how fancy or weird the dispenser is.
9 Lame: SpongeBob And Patrick
Oh great. Well, now we know why Pez sticks with just the heads of the characters for most of their dispensers.
Kids just want that awesome candy anyway, they'll never notice these Pez don't quite work. Besides, why are these pez full-bodied when other Pez are just characters' heads — this whole thing seem intentional (even if kids will never notice). We definitely need another run of SpongeBob Pez Dispensers.
8 Lame: The Seven Dwarves
This is an mess, or a collection of them. Their faces are easily recognizable, so why put the bodies there? Why make the Pez pink colored? Make them purple so we can get our heads out of the gutter easier.
Or at least do it down to the chest like Snow White! It’s almost like the designers did it on purpose when you see Snow White’s dispenser. This is another reason Grumpy is always Grumpy.
7 Expensive: Robot ($300+)
According to some price guides in Antiques Navigator, this vintage robot Pez dispenser can sell for around 300 dollars. eBay guides have stated that the first robot Pez dispensers were released in the 1950s and are very rare to this day.
There are a couple of colors of the rare 1950 robots: gray, navy blue, bright yellow, and red.
Looking at it, it doesn’t look like your typical dispenser and more like an actual toy. There should be more full-bodied dispensers like this one.
6 Lame: One Eyed Monster
Here is yet another Pez sellers would say is great for a Halloween collection. While it’s in the lame list for sheer lame design, it does sell for a pretty penny up to 50 dollars due to the fact that it’s vintage. It was introduced in 1970, so it’s old which partly explains the lame look. The teeth on these are not fully colored but they probably were back in the 70s. Like Dr. Skull, there is a serious lack of color which makes it lame.
5 Lame: Chief
Pez could not help but profit off of selling stereotypes like so many other companies. If sports teams and costumes are a thing, you better believe candy companies do too.
It’s not even a character; it’s literally just a stereotype dispenser.
It would be okay if Native people got some of the profit and had a voice in it, but we are guessing they don’t. These are old though, from the 1970s.
4 Expensive: Alpine Man
According to the Live Auctioneers website, this Pez dispenser can be some for one to two thousand dollars. Why? This dispenser is from the 1972 Munich Olympics, making it incredibly rare. This also has some historical value since it was during that time and place that the Munich attack took place. Apologies that we took this Pez to a kind of dark place, but it's an interesting piece of triva (and helps explain its value).
3 Lame: Funko Pop
Funko Pop meets Pez! Who asked for this? No one! Both of the companies do have a lot in common though.
No character or celebrity can escape being sculpted into a product by them.
The particular character pictured here is Quake, a mascot of “the power cereal from inner space.” His exaggerated smile is nightmare inducing and the Funko design made his butt chin all the more like an actual butt. There are a lot of other Funko Pez characters out there though.
2 Lame: Dog Treats
Society decided that your dog needs Pez too, so they created a Pez dispenser for dog treats. It’s definitely more of a novelty item since your dog will not care where its treats are stored. Also, this dispenser can only hold six treats at a time. If you’re a Pez or dog item collector, then this dispenser is for you. Just be careful who you show this off to, because you will be judged. Also doesn’t this just look tacky? Where would you put it?
1 Expensive: Make A Face ($1,000+)
This wacky character was recalled due to child safety issues, giving it the rarity that makes it pricey. This Pez is like Mr. Potato Head but a Pez dispenser.
The pieces on the face are interchangeable, owning up to the Pez’s name “Make a Face.”
The issue is likely due to potentially ingesting the interchangeable pieces. They are the right size for a naïve kid to accidentally pop in their mouth. According to eBay, these guys can cost several thousand dollars if in mint condition.