Just like everyone, I had eaten PEZ as a kid, but I don't think I saved any of the toy dispensers. One Christmas, Mom bought a Santa Claus dispenser that are in the stores every year for my stocking (I get a stocking full of candy to this day!), and I thought it was great - it made me think it would be fun to pick up a new PEZ whenever I saw one at the grocery store, and that's just what I did.
Soon I had around 30 dispensers, all bought randomly one at a time, and it started getting tough to find anything I didn't own. I started looking for PEZ info on the web, and found tons of sites - I realized that PEZ collecting was a huge hobby, with some dispensers going for $1,000! At that point, I actually became a real collector, and started going to different stores to "hunt the heads" that I needed.
Soon I had every US dispenser in production, so the next step was to buy European and Canadian PEZ (which include other characters not available in the US). I started ordering PEZ from web sites and spending some real cash, and when I went to Canada I bought every dispenser I could find.
From there I could only move into "antique" PEZ, which slowed me down quite a bit, as the average dispenser goes for $25-$50 bucks! I haven't bought one at this price in a long time, since there are several new lines of characters out (I bought lots of them while I was in Japan).
My PEZ are displayed on actual PEZ racks mounted on the wall. The best part of PEZ collecting is seeing how cool hundreds of little heads look all together! I now have well over 250 different dispensers. People always ask about my oldest and favorite ones - my oldest and favorite is Batman with Cape from 1966 (my only dispenser older than me!), which is worth $150! A few older old ones are Elephant with Hair (worth up to $200.00) and Maharajah from the early 70s. One year for my birthday, my amazing friends surprised me with a Captain America dispenser, which started up a fun buying spree for me!
For a while I was a total fanatic, reading PEZ newsletters and dying to hear the latest rumors about new characters, but now I have fun just enjoying my collection and buying new ones as I find them - just the way I started out.
By the way, my favorite PEZ website is PEZ Central, and my collection is featured on the site!