This Is The Rarest PEZ Dispenser

PEZ is the chalky, sweet but mild, square dispensable currency of our childhoods. Audiences first met PEZ in 1927 as a candy mint called "Pffefferminz" due to its German langauge origins from inventor Eduard Haas III of Vienna, Austria (via PEZ). As the candy, or perhaps the dispensers, grew in popularity, a new brand of purchaser appeared, in the form of the PEZ collector. With a low entry point to join in purchasing affordable cartoon-based candies, PEZ collecting has become a hot hobby area. As this hobby expanded, hardcore collectors branched out from dollar toys to questing for rare and wonderful PEZ dispenser that could add that exclusive FOMO item to their collections.

Some 1970s PEZ can go for around $1,000 depending on condition, such as the 1971 Landerbank Hippo A (a rather boring gold hippo) and the 1979 Softhead Captain Hook (via Work and Money). If you're wondering, Hook was a smooshy Captain Hook from the Peter Pan stories that was part of a series of '70s "soft head" PEZ. In addition to being rather yucky, these softhead dispensers also proved prohibitive to make, cost-wise, and weren't widely sold. (For those that want to check the value of their current collection, you can find PEZ pricing guides online, via PEZ Price Guide.)

Meet the Astronaut B Pez Dispenser

As is the case of many valuable collector's items, marketing mishaps make rare finds. That's the case for the rarest PEZ dispenser around, the 1982 Astronaut B.

What kind of event was the 1982 World's Fair like? Ronald Reagan was president and the fair's motto was a futuristic "Energy Turns the World" (via Knoxville, TN). Over 11 million people from 22 countries would visit an abandoned railway yard over the course of six months. At a time when the median household income was $20,171 a couple lucky people grabbed a commemorative PEZ featuring an astronaut's head with the words "1982 World's Fair Knoxville Tennesse" on one side. This PEZ would sell for $32,305 in 2006, including the missing 'E' from the end of the state's name.

This Astronaut B is not to be confused with the rare (but less rare) 1977 Astronaut B, which doesn't feature the typo-laden print (via PEZ). It's rumored that there are only 2 of the rare 1982 astronauts in existence and that both were originally grabbed by employees instead of sold (via Do You Remember).