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The 5in (13cm) bronze-gold coloured sweet dispenser, with rocket ship and planetary symbols on the handle, is only the second such dispenser ever to have surfaced on the PEZ secondary market.

According to leading PEZ authority David Welch (www.pezheads.net/dwelch), the space gun shape was manufactured for general consumption in seven colours – red, yellow, navy blue, green, black, maroon and silver – but there were additional production runs of the toy in royal blue, powder blue, lavender, light yellow and the elusive gold, for purchase exclusively as mail-in premiums. The gold gun is one of the most sought-after of all PEZ dispensers, first issued in Europe in the late 1940s and available in the United States after 1953.

The high bid was a surprise to the Ohio dealer who listed the piece on eBay. “The final selling price came as a huge shock. I don’t deal in PEZ; I deal mainly in other things, like books and toys. I found the gun inside a house along with a number of other unrelated items. “Early on in the auction, I realised it was worth something. By the end of the first day, it was already up to $1500, and I was getting e-mails from people, including the collector who owns the only other known gold PEZ gun. He told me it could end up going for up to $6000. He was right.”

The new owner of the gun is a private party from the West Coast who arguably owns the world’s largest PEZ collection, with more than 4000 dispensers and other related items inventoried. Asking not to be identified, the purchaser confirmed that he had once driven “a considerable distance to visit the private collection that included the other gold space gun, at that time thought to be the only one in existence”. Interestingly, both gold space guns initially turned up in Ohio, leading to speculation that the gold colour may only have been marketed in that particular state.
Is any piece of plastic really worth more than 22 ounces of gold? The winning bidder replied, “The gun probably isn’t worth $6262 in that condition (trigger not functioning), but we like to own every colour variation possible and knew that this one would be very hard to find.”
Catherine Saunders-Watson