From the time-machine – Reed’s candy boxes from the 1970′s.

When I posted about those 30-year-old unopened candy bars last week, I said that finding old candy wasn’t easy so you have to look for it wherever you can.

Today’s post will illustrate that while vintage candy is exceedingly difficult to find, it is out there and sometimes just takes the right kind of curiosity to uncover.  With that in mind, I’m going to share how I came into possession of a decades-old case of Reeds candy.

For those that don’t know, Reeds were a roll candy, somewhat similar to Lifesavers though they had their own appeal and dedicated fans.

Reed's candy trade ad - 1968

I liked Reeds quite a lot, especially the Cinnamon and Butterscotch flavors.  Growing up in the 1970′s I could find them in most candy isles.   Into the 1990′s, they would become less and less common, and I’d only see them occasionally.  Sadly, they ceased production in 2005 or 2006, but I’m told they may be making a comeback soon.  That’s exciting news for fans of Reeds candy, and I’ll be sharing more about that as I learn it.

About two years ago, I was talking with an eBay seller who had offered some unusual candy pieces on eBay.   I was intrigued and asked how he came to be in possession of these items.   He obliged with a story:

“There was an old convenience store here in north east PA. It has been closed for decades. The place has been around forever. I passed by it a million times but no one was ever there, then one day I saw someone clearing it out and selling what they could.  They must have just watched an episode of American Pickers because their prices weren’t cheap. I found this candy and some others in an old store room that had not seen daylight in 30 years.”

That discussion led to his description of the Reeds case and asking if I’d be interested – I was.  Soon a deal was struck and a week later it arrived at my door.

1970's Reeds candy shipping box

The first thing I noticed when I opened the package and saw the Reeds shipper box was the smell – it was musty, and there appeared to be old mold stains or light water damage on the cardboard of the shipper.  So the outer box was not great, but it was still cool to see it.  Then, I cracked it open.

Cracking the case reveals a Reeds-rainbow of vintage candy goodness.

I was relieved when I discovered that each individual display box was sealed in a thick clear plastic, protecting it from whatever that odd aroma was that plagued the cardboard shipper.

I pulled the cinnamon display box out first, and put it up to my nose.  A big whiff revealed the faint odor of cinnamon – even through the plastic.  Weird, but cool.

Out came the rest, one by one.  It presented a great assortment of the flavors.

1970's Reeds display boxes lined up.

The only negative about these was the cardboard insert, a sales message explaining that each box had two free rolls.  Great for the retailer, who never sold them, but not so great since I only got to see one roll from each box.

Still – it was an amazing thing to see these – and looking no different than they might have thirty-five years earlier.

Reeds rolls close-up shots.

The condition of these was remarkable, considering they survived 35 winters and summers in that Pennsylvania store room.

Only one of them showed any kind of internal confectionery decomposition – the Butterscotch box.  Though the evidence was subtle, it was clear that some of those Butterscotch rolls had turned bad, and at some point leaked a bit – leaving light stains.  You can see them on this side-shot of the boxes.

1970's Reeds candy display boxes - side view scan

So, here I had 130 rolls of these wonderful old candies packed into six display boxes.  But what to do with them?  I wanted to get a better look at those inner rolls – perhaps open a few packs and see what was inside…

But I didn’t.  I felt that an assortment like this, in this pristine condition was too unusual and too special.  It was unlike anything I’d encountered before.  So I put them back in their shipper box and there they’ve remained until today, when I brought them out for these photos.

The moral here is:  If you see an old convenience store that’s been shuttered for two decades - e-mail me.

1970's Reeds box pile-up.

About Jason Liebig

A New York City based writer, editor and sometimes actor. After spending much of the 1990′s in the comic book business helping tell the stories of Marvel Comics’ X-Men as series editor, he has since split his time between developing his own entertainment properties while still consulting and working on others. Having been described as “the Indiana Jones of lost and forgotten candy”, Jason is one of the country’s premier candy collectors and historians with his discoveries appearing in countless blogs, magazines, newspaper articles, and books. Always happy to share his knowledge and unique perspectives on this colorful part of our popular culture, Jason has consulted with New York’s Museum of Food and Drink and has also been a featured guest on Food Network’s Heavyweights, France’s M6 Capital, and New York’s TheActionRoom.com. My Google Profile+
This entry was posted in 1970's, Hard Candy, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to From the time-machine – Reed’s candy boxes from the 1970′s.

  1. Kenny Wiesen says:

    Jason Liebig is a rare collector. His passion and energy is unrivaled. His collection has such depth and expanse that anyone can find something that will interest them and capture their attention. Jason’s collective, some of which was previously seen on flicker and now here in this wonderful new web site, is like a magical portal in time. Every label, wrapper, box, candy, cereal, and food item tells a fascinating story and captures a moment in time like a great history documentary with a fun and fascinating tale.

    Like music, fun retro food serves as a remarkable mechanism to relive moments from our past, and what’s better than reliving those moments. I applaud Jason for his remarkable ability to collect, sought and display such a diverse collection.

    At http://www.IconicCandy.com we are trying to revive some of these great gone but by no means forgotten Iconic Candies. Currently we are diligently working on the revival of both REEDS and REGAL CROWN SOURS, two of the greatest hard (high boil) candies. We will soon be releasing more information on the return of Reeds which was so timely covered by Jason here. Reeds candy company and its owners had a quite storied history which I am sure will be expanded here in CollectingCandy.com’s blog and at Iconiccandy.com.

  2. azog says:

    I remember Reed’s. I think my favorite was Butterscotch. This is like finding an old unassembled Erector Set or Heathkit computer kit. Unless you have more than one box of each flavor, I wouldn’t open them, altho I suspect the urge to do so is rather strong…

  3. I can only imagine how you feel when you find a piece of candy history like this. It would be similar to me finding an unopened case of Star Wars figures from 1978.

    I think I vaguely remember Reeds after seeing the rolls but don’t recall much else.

    • jasonliebig says:

      Dex – Yeah, I’d probably feel even better if I had an unopened case of Star Wars figures from 1978. That would be… awesome.

  4. Heather says:

    My aunt recently mentioned she missed these candies. I searched online and had to tell her they were discontinued. I did; however, find her second favorite candy, Butter Rum Lifesavers. I was so excited to find them that I bought 80 rolls! From one shopper to another – Congrats on your find!

  5. Aleathia says:

    I loved Reed’s cinnamon. Everytime I go to Cambridge, MA I always ask around about Reeds as if they will reappear. Seems they always discontinue the good stuff! I’d love to be able to get hold of these. They were one of my favorite childhood candies.

  6. Sharon B. says:

    I was recently telling my husband about Reed’s butterscotch, how clear and smooth and good! Decided to look online and surprise, great information about it. I remember my dad getting Reed’s square butterscotch wrapped in cellophane at the Sears candy counter. They were so goooood!!! Does anyone else remember them at Sears?

    Can’t wait for the rolls to reappear!!!

  7. Pingback: Reed’s Candy | My Website

  8. Alfred Reed says:

    Your discovery is wonderful. I’m just now reading about it. When I was a boy, my mom would buy Reed’s for me instead of the “other” brand, because she thought that having OUR last name on the candy was fun. I did too, and I wish I could find the delicious candy in these “modern times!” Thank you for the story. Missing them a lot!
    Sincerely,
    A. Reed

  9. Warren says:

    What a wonderful find. Thank you for sharing this. I read on another blog that the butterscotch used real butter in them. This would explain the staining on inside packaging.

    Root Beer was my favorite. I hated the individual wrappers because many times it would be stuck to the candy and you’d have to spend time picking it off. Invariably there were a few slivers that you couldn’t remove and just to eventually spit out.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

* Copy This Password *

* Type Or Paste Password Here *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>