PEZ Dispensers at Estate Sales?

I have to admit that even though they’ve been around for decades, I had no idea the potential value of these funny little candy dispensers. Vintage and rare PEZ dispensers routinely sell for hundreds of dollars, and believe it or not the rarest dispensers have sold for thousands. Although you might not see many of them at estate sales, keep your eye out for the occasional collector.

 

What is a PEZ Dispenser?


Most people are familiar with PEZ candy and the fun dispensers they come in. The original dispensers made in the 40s and 50s were designed to look like a lighter and held mints which were promoted to help stop smoking. In the mid-50s PEZ began marketing the sweeter candy to children and featuring the character heads we are more familiar with, as well as other unique shapes such as a laser gun.

What is a Vintage PEZ Dispenser Worth?


Vintage dispensers (especially if they’re in original packaging) often sell in the $100-$200 range on eBay, and some rare dispensers have sold for up to $500. The PEZ company website has a photographic history of their dispensers, so you may want to make yourself familiar with the vintage designs that may fetch a higher price from collectors. Go to their Collector’s Corner and click on Dispenser Archive by Year.

Rare PEZ Dispensers


Dispensers are considered “rare” usually because a very small number of them were produced, or tghey were made for a particular event. According to this eBay article, some of the rarest dispensers include the Mickey Mouse Softhead, the 1982 World’s Fair, and the Political Donkey and Elephant, and they can sell for thousands of dollars. Recently a rare green-eyed cow sold on eBay for $950.

Finding Vintage PEZ Dispensers


Where are you likely to find PEZ dispensers if they are part of your upcoming estate sale? Just about anywhere! But particularly look in boxes, bags, or groups of toys, especially smaller plastic toys. Check household storage areas such as attics and basements among items that have been “packed away.” But, don’t overlook unusual places such as bureau drawers and the kitchen “junk drawer.”

Watch especially for dispensers still in their original packaging. You can search on eBay for the type of dispenser and look for recent sales in your area to determine its value.


Have you come across any rare or unusual PEZ dispensers? Share your success stories!

Stay tuned to Tales From the Sales for more insightful and valuable articles.

  • Donna

Donna Davis has over twenty years of experience in the antiques and estate sale business, and conducts sales every weekend in the Greater Atlanta Area. She is also the Founder and Director of the National Association of Estate Liquidators, and Lead Instructor of NAOEL’s online school. You can contact Donna by email at donna@naoel.com or by phone at 800-521-8820.

 

Become a Member of the National Association of Estate Liquidators and enjoy all of the benefits we offer.

 

Vintage Halloween Collectibles

Vintage Papier Mache Halloween Decorations


What do you think these types of papier mache jack-o’-lanterns are worth? If they’re vintage – made before the 1960s – and in good condition, they can go for $60 - $100 each. A jack-o’-lantern with a face on two sides can sell for as much as $200. Many papier mache and one-time-use items that have survived in good condition can be valuable.

Even though the holiday season is behind us, you may come across unique or older-looking Halloween decorations in one of your estate sales. Be sure to take a close look at those items and do your research. That inexpensive-looking pumpkin, skeleton, witch, or black cat could be worth quite a bit more than you think.

 

Black Cat Decorations Are Sought-After


Black cats have long been one of the more popular Halloween designs. This vintage tambourine can start at $80, and highly collectible black cat designs can go for as high as $300. Also, watch for black cat Halloween designs in ceramics, candles, papier mache, and candy carriers.

Vintage German Diecut Decorations


Keep an eye out for diecut Halloween decorations. Vintage items made in the early 1900s in Germany can be very detailed and often sell in the $100 - $200 range, depending on condition. You can see examples here. Even items made later in the U.S. can be collectible.

Watch Out for Fakes and Reproductions


Since a lot of vintage Halloween decorations were simply made, there are plenty of reproductions and fakes on the market. Keep in mind that earlier decorations were made to be scarier than most of today’s decorations, so an item with a cute (or franchised) character probably is not vintage. Also, look for signs of age such as dull paint or finish, chips, crackling, or cracks. The RealOrRepro website has an excellent article about papier mache Halloween reproductions and includes photos of vintage designs.


Remember, just because it looks “cheap” doesn’t mean it doesn’t have value. Even aged, worn, or slightly damaged vintage Halloween decorations can be worth more than you’d think.

  • Donna

Donna Davis has over twenty years of experience in the antiques and estate sale business, and conducts sales every weekend in the Greater Atlanta Area. She is also the Founder and Director of the National Association of Estate Liquidators, and Lead Instructor of NAOEL’s online school. You can contact Donna by email at donna@naoel.com or by phone at 800-521-8820.

 

Become a Member of the National Association of Estate Liquidators and enjoy all of the benefits we offer.

 

What Do You Know About Chinese Figurines?

Chinese porcelain figurines have been popular in the U.S. for decades, and are often found in estate sales. Finding a genuine antique is rare. There are many reproductions on the market, as well as fakes. Even if a piece has identifying marks, they are often forged. Here are some things to look for when evaluating a piece.

Markings


Generally identifying marks can be found on the bottom of a figurine. The McKinley Tariff Act requires all imports to the U.S. after 1919 be marked with the country of origin in this way: “Made in __________”. So, you can get an idea of whether a piece is antique by the way it is labeled.

  • “China” generally indicates a piece was made between 1890 and the 1920s.
  • “Made in China” indicates a piece was made after 1919, and therefore is not considered an antique (over 100 years old).
  • Antique pieces may display an imperial reign mark, which you should research on Gotheberg.com.
  • A red wax seal (called a jianding) is an export approval mark used after 1949. The jianding does not indicate the age of the piece, but only that it has been approved for export.

Legalities of Selling and Exporting Antiques


There are two primary laws governing the sale and export of antiques from China.

  • Any item produced prior to 1949 is considered a cultural relic, and cannot be taken out of the country without a jianding or official receipt.
  • No item produced prior to 1795 may be purchased from a government antique shop.

Currently the Cultural Relics Bureau oversees the exportation of antiques from China. By law, an item with the jianding could have been produced from 1795 through the present. However, generally no antiques (older than 100 years) will receive the jianding. It is more typically seen on items produced between the 1920s and 1950s when antique-looking reproductions using traditional techniques were heavily produced.

Signs of Age


How do you know if you may have an antique piece? Signs of age in porcelain include:

  • Crackles
  • Indentions or raised spots
  • Rust Spots
  • Scratches
  • Staples or staple holes (indications of repair)

If you think you may have a valuable or antique piece, recommend to your Client that they have it apprised by an expert, for both resale and insurance value, and get written authentication of its probable age.

Quick Tips to Take with You


Quick Tips to Take With You

What you need to remember about antique Chinese figurines:

  • Signs of age: crackles, indentions or raised spots, rust spots, scratches, staples or staple holes.
  • “China”: 1890-1920s
  • “Made in China”: after 1919
  • Jianding (red wax seal): generally 1920s-1950s
  • Excellent resource: Gotheborg.com

Stay tuned to Tales From the Sales for more insightful and valuable articles.

  • Donna

Donna Davis has over twenty years of experience in the antiques and estate sale business, and conducts sales every weekend in the Greater Atlanta Area. She is also the Founder and Director of the National Association of Estate Liquidators, and Lead Instructor of NAOEL’s online school. You can contact Donna by email at donna@naoel.com or by phone at 800-521-8820.

Become a Member of the National Association of Estate Liquidators and enjoy all of the benefits we offer.