Show us your . . . Pez dispenser collection | Show us your [____] | Chicago Reader

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Show us your . . . Pez dispenser collection

We check out Ron Lesaar's non-repeating set of 780 dispensers


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Well-meaning friends used to give Ron Lesaar Pez dispensers as gifts. They soon learned better, he says. He had them all already. Lesaar plays down the size of his collection—he's met people who own twice as many as he does—but the heads atop the 720 dispensers on a rack in his basement (with 60 more in storage) range from U.S. presidents to Batman. Some date back half a century. "I don't go for every variation, because it could drive you crazy," Lesaar says.

When he began accumulating Pez dispensers around 1985, Lesaar was hoping to wean himself off larger, more expensive collectibles. He also owns 650 cocktail shakers, a library of comic books, and a large set of White Rock soda paraphernalia. Right now he's on the lookout for "no feet" models from the 60s and 70s. Lesaar finds most of his vintage dispensers on eBay, but he also shops drugstores for more recent styles, such as the Easter egg ones he purchased a few weeks ago.

Why is he so drawn to collecting? "That's a great question," he says. "I don't really know." One reason he can rule out: the taste of Pez candy, which Lesaar describes as overly sweet. Instead of eating them, he sends the sweets to work with his wife, where she puts them in a bowl on her desk.

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