Like any father, Deacon Godsey wanted to do something special for his son, Isaac, for Christmas. He didn't want to give him a store-bought present; he wanted to give Isaac something close to his heart, something handed down from father to son.
So on Christmas morning, he told his son to close his eyes and carried him into his office. When Isaac opened his eyes and saw a whiteboard that was adorned with a large bow, he read the words written there with a huge smile: “Merry Christmas Isaac! All of my Pez are now yours. Love, Daddy.”
Hundreds of colorful characters have filled Godsey’s Lawrence office wall-to-wall for years, a collection of Pez candy dispensers he began accumulating in 1996. As a youth pastor, he found that the candy packages created a connection between him and the children he worked with. On Christmas Day, Godsey passed down 685 Pez candy dispensers and Pez collector’s items to his son.
Godsey’s collection includes everything from common Pez dispensers such as Disney and Pixar movie characters to rare items from France and Australia. The most expensive dispenser is a $20 gold-colored Jack Jack baby from The Incredibles. His son now owns many large dispensers, about a foot tall, and miniature dispensers, about 2 inches tall, along with hundred of standard-sized dispenses, collector’s key chains, cars and tins.
Chris Godsey said his brother Deacon's choice of Pez as a collectible was interesting and never got out of hand. “He’s a geek in the best way,” he said.
Pez, which originated in Austria in the 1920s, is a chalky tablet-like hard candy. But it's the dispensers for the candy that are prized by collectors. Over the years, the company has produced thousands of variations, based on cartoon and movie characters, historical figures and many other inspirations. Prime examples can be worth hundreds of dollars.
Thousands of people collect the dispensers—there's even a Pez museum, in Connecticut—and the average Pez collector has between 750 to 1,000 dispensers, according to Chris Jordan, owner of the online Pez Collector Store, said. She said about 4,000 collectors are subscribed to her store’s newsletter.
“My personal collection has approximately 6,000 different Pez, and mine is in no way complete or even among the largest collections,” Jordan said.
So Isaac and Deacon have a ways to go. But they're off to a good start.
Godsey said he was more than happy to pass the collection down to his son. He said collecting Pez started to become less fun and more stressful as he spotted examples he wanted to acquire. “I would see one and I would feel this intense need to get the next one in the collection. It didn’t feel good anymore," he said. "But now, I know that he has the collection, and it’s something that he and I can bond over. It can bless him and it feels more life giving now.”
After reading the whiteboard and looking over his new collection, Isaac asked if he could open the collector’s tins. After given the go-ahead, he smiled and hugged his father and insisted that he keep some of the dispensers as well.
Godsey said his son plans to keep adding to the collection. “This will be something that if he choses to carry it on, that’s totally up to him,” Godsey said. “But I know that giving this to him will speak value and blessing to him. That was the real goal.”