50 Years of Nestle’s 100 Grand Bar History!

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Today is the beginning of our week-long two-year anniversary celebration for CollectingCandy.com – where each day we hope to share an extra-special post – culminating on Thursday, February 6th – when the site turns two.

Kicking off our celebratory week is a retrospective of the $100,000 bar, or the 100 Grand as it is now known.   We first touched upon the history of the 100 Grand way back in June of 2012, but since then we’ve added a number of remarkable discoveries to what was previously known about the brand.  So please make the jump for our definitive coverage of Nestle’s 100 Grand – a classic chocolate bar which turns 50 this year!

Nestle filed the trademark for the $100,000 bar fifty years ago, in 1964.   Though it is unclear if the brand was offered nationwide right away, it at least found its way into one market – as this clipping from a Toledo, Ohio newspaper reveals:

Nestle's 100,000 newspaper ad - Toledo Ohio - October 14, 1964 - Courtesy Jason Kaphingst

Nestle’s $100,000 newspaper ad – Toledo Ohio – October 14, 1964 – Courtesy Jason Kaphingst

After hunting for one for several years, I was finally lucky enough to be able to add an example of this earliest version of a $100,000 wrapper to my collection – it’s the only one I’ve ever come across:

Nestle's - $100,000 bar wrapper - 1 3/4 oz - 10-cent chocolate candy bar wrapper - 1964

Nestle’s – $100,000 bar wrapper – 1 3/4 oz – 10-cent chocolate candy bar wrapper – 1964

Isn’t that a beauty?   As a collector, it’s always exciting to add a “rookie wrapper” to my collection, and this classic is no exception – it’s a brand I’ve long been a fan of.

I really dig how the “A Fortune in Flavor” tagline ties into the brand’s theme.  That tagline was utilized in Nestle’s cross-promotion of the then-fledgling bar on it’s well-known offerings, as you can see here:

Nestle - Nestle's Milk Chocolate and Crunch- 100,000 promo - 9_16 oz chocolate candy bar wrapper - 1960's

Nestle’s Milk Chocolate and Crunch- $100,000 promo – 9/16 oz chocolate candy bar wrappers – 1960′s

The initial version of $100,000 wrapper would stick around for at least a few years, as can be seen in the following trade ads:

Nestle - 100,000 bar trade ad - February 1967

Nestle – 100,000 bar trade ad – February 1967

Nestle's - 10-cent bars candy trade ad - March 1969

Nestle’s – 10-cent bars candy trade ad – March 1969

Nestle's - Vending trade magazine ad - 1969

Nestle’s – Vending trade magazine ad – 1969

The 1960′s would see the introduction of the first $100,000 fun-size or “miniature” bar, as shown by this wrapper:

Nestle $100,000 bar mini wrapper - 1960's

Nestle $100,000 bar mini wrapper – 1960′s

The original wrapper design would finally see an update right around 1970, when the bar would change to a 2-piece format:

Nestle's - $100,000 - New 2 Piece Bar - 10-cent chocolate candy bar wrapper - late 1960's

Nestle’s – $100,000 – New 2 Piece Bar – 10-cent chocolate candy bar wrapper – late 1960′s

At this point in the wrapper’s design evolution much of the original look remained including the 10-cent printed-on price, though the “A Fortune in Flavor” tagline was dropped.

But by 1972 even the 10-cent price was gone:

Nestle's - $100,000 Dollar Bar candy wrapper - early 1970's

Nestle’s – $100,000 Dollar Bar candy wrapper – early 1970′s

It is at this point in the history of the 100 Grand that I want to make my first of two important detours to foreign releases of the bar.  When I first began researching the $100,000 bar I assumed it was only ever sold in the United States, but I was wrong.

The earliest foreign release I have been able to track down was produced by Nestle for the South African market,  and due to currency differences, its name was given three extra zeros.  Take a look at Nestle South Africa’s $1,000,000 bar! [Note the "A Fortune in Flavor" tagline.]:

South Africa - Nestle - $1,000,000 bar wrapper - circa 1972

South Africa – Nestle – $1,000,000 bar wrapper – circa 1972

It’s so much fun to track down and uncover the unusual releases from a brand’s past – especially when they originate in another part of the world.

Traveling back to the United States, the year 1973 would see the first major overhaul of the wrapper design for Nestle’s $100,000 bar – a change described in the following trade clipping:

Nestle $100,000 bar trade clipping -  June 1973

Nestle $100,000 bar trade clipping – June 1973

I refer to the following versions of the $100,000 bar design as the “kid wrappers” and they are the ones I remember from my own childhood.  I am pleased to have an example of one of these first-run “kid wrappers” to share and here it is:

Nestle's - $100,000 bar wrapper - first "kid wrapper" - 1973

Nestle’s – $100,000 bar wrapper – first “kid wrapper” – 1973

These initial $100,000 bar kid wrappers differentiate themselves from later versions by a few traits:  no UPC code, use of the plural “Nestle’s” logo, and the phrase “now more chocolate” used in the yellow call-out.

I have one other early run kid wrapper – the only noticeable difference being the inclusion of a 15-cent printed on price:

Nestle's - $100,000 bar - 15-cent chocolate candy bar wrapper - second kid wrapper - 1973

Nestle’s – $100,000 bar – 15-cent chocolate candy bar wrapper – ?second? kid wrapper – 1973-74

[Note:  I've long been curious about the identity of the kid on these 1970's $100,000 bar wrappers.  I still don't know, but one reader offered up the following information after my 2012 post on the matter:  "I went to grade school with the kid on the wrapper
His name is Ricky Mcbrierty and at the time he lived in New Milford, CT."  Without corroboration I can't speak to the authenticity of my reader's claim, but I include it just in case Rick Mcbrierty is out there and would be willing to verify for us.  We'd love to hear from you!]

By 1976, wrappers would get an update to the singular Nestle company name, while also receiving the then-new touch of a UPC code – also note the 20-cent printed on price and that “Now More Chocolate” has become “Chewy Caramel” in the yellow call-out box:

Nestle - $100,000 Bar - 20-cent chocolate candy bar wrapper - 1976

Nestle – $100,000 Bar – 20-cent chocolate candy bar wrapper – 1976

Here’s an example of a fun-size version from that same year, 1976:

Nestle - $100,000 bar - fun size - candy bar wrapper - 1976

Nestle – $100,000 bar – fun size – candy bar wrapper – 1976

Yet another fun-size variation from a year or two later:

Nestle - $100,000 Bar - Fun Size miniature candy bar wrapper - 1977

Nestle – $100,000 Bar – Fun Size miniature candy bar wrapper – 1977

The next three kid wrapper variations I have to show are quite similar, but I include them as there are subtle differences that I’d like to document.  By 1977, the standard $100,000 kid wrapper was in place without any printed-on price:

Nestle - $100,000 Bar -chocolate candy bar wrapper - 1977

Nestle – $100,000 Bar -chocolate candy bar wrapper – 1977

This next version appears near-identical to the last, except that it inexplicably sports a UPC code different from the rest of the 1970′s full-sized $100,000 bar wrappers I have. [Note: My best guess is that this was a vending bar wrapper.]

Nestle - $100,000 bar wrapper - chewy caramel - 1 1/4 oz - chocolate candy bar wrapper - late 1970's

Nestle – $100,000 bar wrapper – chewy caramel – 1 1/4 oz – chocolate candy bar wrapper – late 1970′s

Another major variation from this period is one that is notable as it is the only non-folded kid wrapper I’ve ever come across.  This wrapper sports a pinch-seal style packaging that would become the norm after 1980:

Nestle - $100,000 Dollar 100 Grand - candy bar wrapper - late 1970's

Nestle – $100,000 Dollar 100 Grand – candy bar wrapper – late 1970′s

Before I get to the final two USA kid wrappers in my collection, I want to make my second detour to foreign $100,000 bar editions.  As was the case with the South African version from the early 70′s, this next wrapper came as a big surprise to me – but one that was delightful to discover.

It turns out that Nestle released the $100,000 bar to the Canadian market using the kid wrapper design, but with with a different (and I’m assuming Canadian) kid on the wrapper!  Having previously been so familiar with the USA edition and kid, seeing this wrapper was akin to glimpsing a candy bar wrapper from a parallel universe – it was the same, but different.  Here it is:

Canada - Nestle - 100,000 - 1 1/4 oz chocolate candy bar wrapper - 1976-77

Canada – Nestle – 100,000 – 1 1/4 oz chocolate candy bar wrapper – 1976-77

Isn’t that a crazy one?   This Canadian $100,000 bar wrapper example is the only one I’ve ever seen, making it especially remarkable I think.

The last two kid wrappers I have to share both come from 1979 – the last year that the design was used.  The first sports an offer that ran across a number of Nestle bars at the time – a mail-away offer I covered previously, for a Superman ring:

Nestle - $100,000 bar wrapper superman offer - 1979

Nestle – $100,000 bar wrapper superman offer – 1979

Finally, here’s the latest-run kid wrapper I have to show – it sports a number of subtle changes from the earlier versions.  For instance, the typeface used in the call out is thin rather than the bold used earlier, and the description of the bar uses two lines rather than just a single line:

Nestle - $100,000 Bar - chocolate candy bar wrapper - 1979

Nestle – $100,000 Bar – chocolate candy bar wrapper – 1979

Final note on the $100,000 kid wrapper design – though it took over 30 years, it would eventually get parodied in Topps’ Wacky Packages Old School series 3.

1980 would mean the retirement of the $100,000 bar “kid wrapper”, replaced with a more streamlined look.  The new wrapper featured a $100,000 logo made more bold with a bit of wood-cut styling to the edges and giving the stage light frame a drop shadow.  Here’s a look at what the first kid-less wrapper from 1980 looked like:

Nestle - $100,000 bar - chocolate candy bar wrapper - 1980

Nestle – $100,000 bar – chocolate candy bar wrapper – 1980

With the new style came a new fun size/trial size wrapper to match:

_Nestle - $100,000 Bar - 10-cent trial size candy bar wrapper - 1981

Nestle – $100,000 Bar – 10-cent trial size candy bar wrapper – 1981

Along with the smaller trial-size, this period is the earliest where I’ve found evidence of a larger 4-piece (later called king-size) version of $100,000 bar:

Nestle - $100,000 - New 4-Piece Bar - 2.5 oz chocolate candy bar wrapper - 1982

Nestle – $100,000 – New 4-Piece Bar – 2.5 oz chocolate candy bar wrapper – 1982

1982 would be the year of a pretty cool marketing promotion for the $100,000 bar brand – and one I am fortunate to be able to showcase all of the elements of.  The next few images are all part of Nestle’s 1982 $100,000 bar “Rock Mini-Album” promotion:

Nestle - $100,000 bar - Free Rock Album - 1.5 oz chocolate candy bar wrapper - 1982

Nestle – $100,000 bar – Free Rock Album – 1.5 oz chocolate candy bar wrapper – 1982

Nestle - $100,000 bar - rock mini album - mail-away coupon - 1982

Nestle – $100,000 bar – rock mini album – mail-away coupon – 1982

The actual mini-album would arrive from Young America, Minnesota – the location origin of so many mail-away premiums in the 1970′s and 1980′s:

Nestle - $100,000 bar - rock mini album - mailer envelope - 1982

Nestle – $100,000 bar – rock mini album – mailer envelope – 1982

With tracks by Cheap Trick, Journey, Molly Hatchet and REO Speedwagon, it really was a nicely loaded little record that consumers would get.

$100,000 bar wrapper graphics were featured prominently on the album sleeve and even printed on the record itself:

Nestle - $100,000 bar - rock mini album sleeve - 1982

Nestle – $100,000 bar – rock mini album sleeve – 1982

Nestle - $100,000 bar - rock mini album - vinyls - 1982

Nestle – $100,000 bar – rock mini album – vinyl – 1982

The mid-1980′s would see a major change for the $100,000 bar – as it received a name change from “$100,000″ to “100 Grand”, the brand name it retains today.  My earliest 100 Grand wrapper example comes from 1986:

Nestle - 100 Grand - chocolate candy bar wrapper - 1986

Nestle – 100 Grand – chocolate candy bar wrapper – 1986

I’ve read speculation that states the name change was related to the difficulty in Nestle trademarking the term “$100,000″ while “100 Grand” was easier to lock down.  It makes sense, but I can’t say for certain if that’s a fact.

Here are a pair of wrappers from a few years after the name change:

Nestle - 100 Grand - chocolate candy bar wrapper - late 1980's to early 1990'

Nestle – 100 Grand – chocolate candy bar wrapper – late 1980′s to early 1990′s

Nestle - 100 Grand - King Size - 2.8 oz chocolate candy bar wrapper - early 1990's

Nestle – 100 Grand – King Size – 2.8 oz chocolate candy bar wrapper – early 1990′s

In 1992, 100 Grand would get the holiday edition wrapper treatment – at least the fun-size version would.  The holiday fun-size 100 Grand wrappers were found as part of a holiday triple-pack that featured the return of Nestle’s classic 1950′s mascot, Farfel the Dog:

Nestle - Assorted Fun Size Bars - Farfel the Dog - 12 oz Christmas candy package - December 1992

Nestle – Assorted Fun Size Bars – Farfel the Dog – 12 oz Christmas candy package – December 1992

Nestle - 100 Grand Fun Size - Farfel the Dog - Christmas candy wrapper - December 1992

Nestle – 100 Grand Fun Size – Farfel the Dog – Christmas candy wrapper – December 1992

After 1993, 100 Grand wrappers, like all food product packaging, received mandatory nutrition labeling:

Nestle - 100 Grand - chocolate candy bar wrapper - 1990's

Nestle – 100 Grand – chocolate candy bar wrapper – 1990′s

Nestle - 100 Grand - King Size - 2.8 oz chocolate candy bar wrapper - late 1990's

Nestle – 100 Grand – King Size – 2.8 oz chocolate candy bar wrapper – late 1990′s

The end of the 1990′s would see 100 Grand wrappers reflect Nestle’s promotional partnership with Disney-Pixar and Mattel toys:

Nestle - 100 Grand - Disney-Pixar A Bug's Life - Free Mattel Toys - chocolate candy wrapper - 1998

Nestle – 100 Grand – Disney-Pixar A Bug’s Life – Free Mattel Toys – chocolate candy wrapper – 1998

Nestle - 100 Grand - Disney-Pixar Toy Story 2 Free Mattel Toys - chocolate candy wrapper - 1999

Nestle – 100 Grand – Disney-Pixar Toy Story 2 Free Mattel Toys – chocolate candy wrapper – 1999

The 2000′s would bring about a notable fun-size bar outer package.  It’s notable in that it is the first time since the 1980′s name change where I’ve encountered a 100 Grand package invoking significant dollar sign imagery, outside of the small $’s found in the description line (this package also sports a tag line of “That’s Rich!” I’ve never found elsewhere):

Nestle - 100 Grand - Fun Size bars dollar sign polybag - 2000's

Nestle – 100 Grand – Fun Size bars dollar sign polybag – 2000′s

The mid-2000′s saw a trio of limited edition flavor extension 100 Grand bars, another first for the brand:

Nestle - 100 Grand with Peanuts - 2005 - CandyWrapperArchive.com

Nestle – 100 Grand with Peanuts – 2005 – Image courtesy CandyWrapperArchive.com

Nestle - 100 Grand Dark - 2006 -CandyWrapperArchive.com

Nestle – 100 Grand Dark – 2006 – Image courtesy CandyWrapperArchive.com

Nestle - 100 Grand with Coconut - chocolate candy wrapper - 2006

Nestle – 100 Grand with Coconut – chocolate candy wrapper – 2006

This all brings us just about up-to-date on the 100 Grand bar.  Here is what a standard-sized bar looked like in 2012 (and still looks like now):

Nestle - 100 Grand - chocolate candy bar wrapper - 2012

Nestle – 100 Grand – chocolate candy bar wrapper – 2012

And a fun-size:

Nestle - 100 Grand - Fun Size chocolate candy bar wrapper - 2013

Nestle – 100 Grand – Fun Size chocolate candy bar wrapper – 2013

While the standard wrapper has been the same for a few years, I noticed just last week that the King Size 100 Grand package received a little bit of a tweak recently.  Here are both versions:

Nestle - 100 Grand - 2 Piece King Size - 2.8 oz chocolate candy bar wrapper - 2012

Nestle – 100 Grand – 2 Piece King Size – 2.8 oz chocolate candy bar wrapper – 2012

With the new version, the 2-Piece King Size package becomes a 2-Piece Share Pack with a twist-to-close wrapper:

Nestle - 100 Grand - 2 Piece Share Pack - twist to close - 2.8 oz chocolate candy bar wrapper - January 2014

Nestle – 100 Grand – 2 Piece Share Pack – twist to close – 2.8 oz chocolate candy bar wrapper – January 2014

And that brings us all the way up to 2014, and concludes our look back at the 50-year history of Nestle’s classic $100,000 (and later 100 Grand) candy bar.   It’s taken years to track down all of the pieces found in today’s post, so I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing them as much as I’ve enjoying sharing them with you.

That’s everything for today’s post – the first of four this week to mark CollectingCandy.com’s second anniversary.  Check back every day for more exciting posts.

See you next time!

$100,000 Bar retro holiday tin December 2012

$100,000 Bar retro holiday tin December 2012

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+
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8 Responses to 50 Years of Nestle’s 100 Grand Bar History!

  1. Odd thing: Once knew a guy who thought the candy bar was a $100,000 Pyramid tie-in. I guess the “circle of lights” logo does sort of look like the board on the game show! — http://www.floridawhammy.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/100000-pyramid.jpg

    I suppose the kid on the label would’ve been a young Dick Clark, in his world!

  2. Reggie says:

    It’s one thing to have a wrapper from the mini-album giveaway in 1982 or maybe even the promotion’s advertisement… but to have the vinyl itself – in that incredible album sleeve – and then the original mini album envelope from Nestle… WOW!

    That article was really enjoyable – I can’t believe how comprehensive the collection of wrappers & bonus material is. I wonder if Nestle knows it’s own history as well as Jason!

    On another note, is it just me or does the $100,000 name and artwork have so much more pizzazz than 100 Grand? Maybe I’m just being nostalgic, but the 2012 retro holiday tin sure stands out. The original 1964 wrapper artwork is awesome too.

  3. mattysb says:

    What a terrific collection! In the UK Nestle’s Toffee Crisp also celebrated it’s 50th anniversary last year, the probable reason that Nestle has never launched 100 Grand in the UK is that it’s probably too similar to Toffee Crisp. I adore both bars by the way.

  4. Ross says:

    Amazing – Did not realize it was born in 1964. I remember the kid design only – so mid 70′s was when I was buying them. These and Choco’lite were my favorites for chocolate bars at the time – along with Marathon. The Caravelle by Peter Paul was very comparable in flavor – I remember thinking I liked Caravelle’s chocolate better – but the crispies in the $100,000 bar were best !

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