Between the time I write this article and the time you read it, Brian Trauman will have added even more pieces to his collection of PEZ dispensers.

So, let's just say he has about 5,850 unique dispensers on display at his house in Essex County.

The number is growing weekly, but it was already enough to certify Trauman as the Guinness World Record holder in 2023.

Trauman recently renewed his title with an updated number of candy dispensers, after accumulating hundreds more.

The 49-year-old tax lawyer never set out to achieve the Guinness title. But a little more than 20 years ago, he made it a goal to get his hands on a version of every PEZ dispenser that's ever been made — as long as there's one that still exists.

The PEZ room

Trauman's massive collection is neatly on display in his home office. Cases display the dispensers in a "stadium seating" arrangement. The room also features PEZ signage and vending machines from around the world.

Photo courtesy of Brian Trauman
Photo courtesy of Brian Trauman
Photo courtesy of Brian Trauman
Photo courtesy of Brian Trauman

"Usually, people walk into the room and their mouths fall open — sometimes in shock and admiration, but most of the time just plain old shock and confusion," Trauman said.

But his passion has the support of his wife and two teenage kids, as he hunts down the PEZ dispensers that have eluded him since his mission began.

Rare PEZ dispensers

Whichever dispensers you've seen in store, Trauman has already has them. And he's in possession of any PEZ dispensers that are released exclusively online.

He's currently after the dispensers that were released decades ago, long before he ever received his first dispenser as a kid.

"The ones I'm looking for are pretty rare. They're only coming from a couple people here or there," Trauman said.

Trauman's holy grail right now is the "political elephant," a retired dispenser that was introduced in 1961 and likely was never sold at retail.

"The people who have them aren't giving them up," Trauman said.

The world record relates specifically to unique dispensers — they can feature the same character, but the head or stem needs to be different in a visible way, such as color or shape. At one point, PEZ dispensers didn't feature feet that helped them stand up on their own.

When asked to pick a favorite from his massive collection, Trauman went with the series of dispensers that were released in the 1970s and 1980s in honor of the Olympics (pictured below).

PEZ dispensers released for the 1972, 1976, and 1984 Olympics (Photos courtesy of Brian Trauman)
PEZ dispensers released for the 1972, 1976, and 1984 Olympics (Photos courtesy of Brian Trauman)

Value of PEZ dispensers

Trauman opted not to share how much he has spent on individual dispensers, or how much he's spent overall on his hobby.

But he admits that "in moments of sanity," he wonders about the potential resale value of his collection. According to Trauman, prices of the rarer dispensers have skyrocketed.

"The real question for me is, how long can prices go up? And when do they start falling?" he said.

The end probably isn't coming anytime soon, though. Every few days, a cardboard box arrives at his house, with more dispensers to add to the bunch.

And Trauman plans to submit a new count to Guinness in December. To get a new number on record, he has to submit video of the count, and that video needs to be accompanied by a spreadsheet that lists each dispenser.

Trauman said there are some collectors who have hundreds or thousands of the same exact dispenser. He's not interested in that approach, or in eating the candy that the dispensers are made for.

"I don't think it's that great," Trauman said.

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