PXL 20231118 02464858822023_11_17

I have no idea why, but today was the day I decided to look at my Life Savers™️ collection, to see whether there were any new flavors out there...either new, or as vintage rolls I had never seen.

PXL 20240213 161353833Ever heard of Life Savers MolasOMint? Crunchy Peanut? Root Beer? Candy Apple? Pine Lime? Fuzzy Soda? Pink Lemonade? Blue Rad (Sonic the Hedgehog 3™️)? Cola? Musk ➡️? Blueberry Swirl? Some of these come from other countries, like Australia and Canada. I like including those international flavors. They've been manufactured by parent companies like Life Savers, Beech-Nut, Planters, Nestlé, Mars Wrigley Confectionery, Darrel Lea and Spangler, varying by product and by country.


PXL 20240223 2127370433Have you ever had 🎵 musical 🎵 Japanese Life Savers? Okay, so maybe they aren't exactly Life Savers, but they look similar and can help you to "Get a hole lot more out of life" (one of the Life Savers slogans). Coris Whistle Candy was apparently invented in the 1970s. You can whistle while enjoying the following flavors: ramune soda, cola, strawberry, and grape.

Interesting side-story: in the 1970s, Spangler (which currently makes some Life Savers products) made whistling pops similar to the ones in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang--you know, that kids' musical written by none other than Ian Fleming, the inventor of James Bond.

PXL 20240213 1549052842025_02_13 🆕 stuff!! I am pretty excited because this has expanded both flavors and countries: I now have Lifesavers from Mexico and Canada. Also, it expands time frames, because Wint⭕Green and Pep⭕Mint are now the oldest rolls in my collection. I already had a roll of the Canadian flavor Musk, but now I have a different roll. Big thanks to Jason Liebig!


20240205 145237 COLLAGE

Last fall, I considered breaking my rule. My Life Savers project is organic, conceived as a childhood idea. So I really would not prefer to put money into this hobby. So my rule was that any Life Savers I got would be the price I would normally pay from a candy shop, or I wouldn't get them.

During the fall, I realized that I didn't have any of the large Life Saver pops. I checked and realized that any that were out there had been sold out and weren't being produced. I briefly considered buying a very overpriced bag on eBay. Ultimately, I thought back to my rule and decided to take a chance on finding them at some point in the future. Spangler™️ delivered! Here are the Valentine's lollies: grape 🍇, cherry 🍒, watermelon 🍉 and pineapple🍍. This has worked out really well, because my students love them. And it knocked out Valentine's (because they came with handy stickers that I can apply to either these or any other candies I have around to give to the students).

2023_11_17 I met candy historian Jason Liebig of CollectingCandy.com! Okay, it was only virtually, but this guy is really important in the candy collecting world. As it happens, I wanted to create some faux rolls, to put in the vintage Life Savers display I picked up last year. I asked him about that; he responded and is interested in a few items my collection.

Screenshot 20231117 18513522022_02_28 

My son's university was a block or two away from an antique shop. It took me 3 years of visiting his school, to get around to walking into the shop's front door. But I found something I wanted very quickly. I'm not sure what year this Life Savers display was made (somewhere between 1930 and 1940?), but it definitely had that Art Deco feel I love. And it's relatively small, especially when compared to the larger volumes of flavors they had available in later years.

2020_10_29 (from Facebook)

The Life Savers stained glass project--✅. I started collecting Life Savers when I was 19. See a flavor you liked?

FB IMG 1700243510699

If you haven't heard my story, I ordered the Life Savers glass a decade ago, but it arrived broken. The seller gave me my money back, but I held on to the glass, just in case I could fix it at some point. This was the month!

2011_02_08  (from Facebook)

I'm so sad...I purchased something glass from eBay, but the seller apparently had no idea how to pack something (no bubble wrap, no tape stabilizing it, not even a FRAGILE sticker...just cardboard. Unfortunately, it was rare - 50 or 60 years old, so not easy to find another (even assuming I have no worries getting my $$ back).

Yes, at some point I was able to find a really great price on just the silver and black embossed glass from a display. But it arrived crushed.


It crossed my mind to look up "Life Savers" on eBay. Virtually all the rolls they were selling were ones I already had. BUT...they had displays. Really cool, old-fashioned displays. I started watching them. First, I was shocked to realize that years ago, Orange, Lemon, and Lime were sold in single flavor rolls. And there were flavors like ViOlet?!

And then I found the Art Deco displays. The first displays only sold 3 flavors, with lovely colored metal artwork. But the next displays were gorgeous: clear glass, with logos in silver and black, and the outsides of the display had subtle stripes embossed into the metal. That was me. I knew what I would have at some point, but there was no way that I would spend hundreds of dollars to display a collection of $1 candy rolls.


Now that I realized that Australia had other flavors, I ordered some of each flavor for Easter baskets. My collection now added Life Savers Blackcurrant Pastilles, Fruit Pastilles and Strawberry Sundae. 

The US Easter flavor for that year was called Pastels, which added Cotton Candy to my collection. What was amusing though, is that I carried a bag of individually wrapped Pastels to work, and they were a huge hit with my employees. I ended up having to go back and get more before (as a limited edition) they disappeared for good.


My mom's coworker went to Australia. He returned with a roll of very odd Life Savers--Musk. He let everybody at work try them, and mom told her team about my odd Life Savers collection. He immediately offered to bring me a roll--he had bought several for souvenirs. It hadn't even crossed my mind that there were flavors from other countries!

Mine wasn't a collection that was growing very quickly, so it was pretty fun to expand it (even if Musk candies smelled just like men's cologne and tasted disgusting!).


As a newly minted interior designer, I found myself living with my new husband in a new state. We had very little extra money, because the television station that my husband worked for, and later the furniture company that I worked for, each went out of business. But even on a budget, I could afford some Life Savers when I walked into that Suwannee Swifty convenience mart. I was there to get a soda, but when I saw the old-fashioned labels on the Pepsin, LicOrice, and ChocOlate, I was really excited. It was finally time to add to my otherwise slowly-building collection. 


When I was an interior design student, the university cafeteria had Life Savers near the checkout...usually just Cherry, WintOGreen and 5-Flavor. Oddly, that reminded me of a promise I had made to myself when I was a young kid.

Every Christmas, someone--often my Grandma--gave me a Life Savers Storybook. And as an elementary school kid, I thought, "When I'm an adult, I want to have 1 of every flavor of Life Saver there is."

Now, I wasn't thinking of having a roll of every flavor...I just wanted to be brave enough to save 1 of each flavor. In a Storybook, that would have been 1 single PepOMint, 1@ of the flavors in the 5-Flavor, 1 Butterscotch (later, 1 Butter Rum), etc. As a kid, I tried to be brave enough to save 1, but at some point I would just decide I *really" needed to eat it.

Now that I was an adult, the notion of saving individual Life Savers seemed rather messy. And at under $1, collecting rolls as I saw them became a pretty easy thing to do.



#vintagativity #life #savers #vintage #candy

All photos ©️2023 and beyond, by Karen Smith-Will. All rights reserved.