The $100,000 Bar – A 100 Grand History.

100,000 bar trade ad – February 1967

[Note:  For an updated look back at Nestle's 100 Grand history, check out "50 Years of Nestle's 100 Grand Bar History!"]

According to my research, Nestle filed the trademark for the $100,000 bar way back in 1964, though some accounts report its nationwide launch as 1966.  Whatever the exact date of its introduction was, the bar has been around nearly half a century, and that’s pretty impressive.

Early $100,000 bar packaging looked quite different than the wrappers most readers will know.  I have an example in my collection that dates back to that early style.  This one likely dates back to the late 1960′s, though it could be a very early 70′s example:

Nestle’s – 100,000 Dollar Bar candy wrapper – late 1960′s early 1970′s

Though it’s not the wrapper I recall from my own youth, I quite dig the look of these early $100,000 bars – with the woodcut-looking logo, and diagonal color-bands.  It’s pretty cool.

From my pal Dan Goodsell’s collection, here is a miniature fun-size wrapper version of this early design:

Nestle’s – $100,000 Bar miniature wrapper – 1960′s early 1970′s – Courtesy Dan Goodsell

It’s a design that would last until 1973, when the package design was completely overhauled.

Nestle’s $100,000 bar – clipping – June 1973

That wrapper with the kid is the one I most clearly associate with my early recollections of the $100,000 bar – which is why it remains one of my all-time favorites.   Here’s a great example of one of these early versions, from 1976:

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

Though that wrapper dates to 1976, there are changes already evident from the 1973 version:  the yellow call-out box has changed from “now more chocolate” to simply indicating “chewy caramel”, and the Nestle’s brand name changed to the singular Nestle.  Though we can’t see the back side of that 1973 wrapper, it’s safe to assume it lacked a UPC code as well.

Fun-size wrappers didn’t get the kid image as you can see here on this 1976 wrapper:

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

As the 1970′s went on, the wrapper didn’t change much from the 1976 version.  Though the printed-on price was dropped the very next year:

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

In 1977, the fun-size $100,000 bar wrappers lost some of the elements they had previously shared with the full-sizers.  Here’s one from my collection – actually the first vintage $100,000 wrapper of any kind I acquired for my collection:

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

One of the last wrappers of the 1970′s featured a great promotion, one likely meant to tie into the success of the Superman motion picture:

Nestle – $100,000 bar wrapper – Superman ring offer – 1979

Before moving on from the 1970′s, I would like to note that it appears that $100,000 bar wrappers featuring the kid were all of the folded variety.  Yet I have one example that is of the crimped-end variety here:

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

Looking at the progression, my guess is that the crimped version came at the very end of the kid-wrapper timeline, as the first wrappers without the kid were crimped-end wrappers.   I wonder just who that $100,000 bar kid was?  Anyone out there know that kid?

In 1980, the $100,000 wrapper received another refresh and redesign.  This is one of those first wrappers:

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

So the kid was dropped, and there were a few graphical flourishes added in 1980.  The logo itself received a taste of that woodcut look from the 1960′s, and the yellow spots received drop-shadows.   This look carried on throughout the 1980′s.

Here’s a fun-size or trial-size wrapper from this period:

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

The next overhaul came with the $100,000 name itself, likely in 1985 or 1986, when it took on the slang for one-hundred-thousand dollars, and became 100 Grand.

Here’s my earliest example of a wrapper sporting the new name.  This one was still made of paper with a Glassine coating:

Nestle – 100 Grand – chocolate candy bar wrapper – 1986

In the later 1980′s or early 1990′s, 100 Grand wrappers would change from Glassine paper to mylar – and here’s an example of one of those that I have:

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

The 100 Grand joined all other confectionery packaging here in the USA in 1994 with the addition of the modern Nutrition Facts panel:

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

I don’t have any modern-era fun-size wrappers for 100 Grand, but I do have a large fun-size ploybag:

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

During the mid-2000′s, Nestle tried out some flavor variations with the 100 Grand.   Here are a pair of wrappers, courtesy my friends over at CandyWrapperArchive.com:

Nestle – 100 Grand with Peanuts – 2005 – Courtesy CandyWrapperArchive.com

Nestle – 100 Grand Dark – 2006 – Courtesy CandyWrapperArchive.com

I have another of the mid-2000′s flavor experiments in my own collection:

Nestle – 100 Grand with Coconut – chocolate candy wrapper – 2007

Finally, here is the current version of 100 Grand:

Nestle – 100 Grand – chocolate candy bar wrapper – 2012

When looking for an example of a current wrapper to share for today’s article, I was surprised that this bar was not available as widely as I’d have expected.  I fear that it might be experiencing a waning distribution.  It’s too delicious to go away, so let’s hope that this confectionery classic sticks around for another five decades.

And that’s all for today’s 100 Grand History – I hope you enjoyed it. See you next time!

[Note:  For those that might have suspected - Yes! I chose the $100,000 Bar thematic this week due to CollectingCandy.com getting its 100,000th page view on Monday.  Figured it was the right kind of fun tie-in to do.]

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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11 Responses to The $100,000 Bar – A 100 Grand History.

  1. Tom says:

    I loved the $100,000 bar, but it angered me when they went to 100 Grand. I don’t take change well…

  2. Scott says:

    Huh. And I thought 100 Grand and $100,000 bar were competitors. Shows what I know. One of my favs as a kid, right after the Marathon bar. Thanks for the lesson.

  3. I still call them $100,000 bar,can’t change the name in my head!!

  4. Jack says:

    I lived for $100,000 bars when I was a kid, and I would still do backflips to get one now. They’re the absolute best, and I appreciate the level of obsession that made this page documenting the evolution of the bar’s packaging.

    Perfect candy bars deserve this.

  5. Kevin Bohm says:

    I am sure this is all part of the same conspiracy that IHOP pulled when they put the International House of Pancakes out of business.
    Signed.
    $100,000 Bar

  6. Harry Lewis says:

    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

    • Judy Flayderman says:

      Yes you are right he is Ricky McBriarty he was a classmate if mine too in New Milford. No one that I remember made a big deal out of it so he got fame without being plagued by that fame.

  7. John Perry says:

    This was my favorite as a kid. But I wonder, does anybody know why they took a perfect name, $100,000 Bar, a bar you would trade any other bar for, and change it to 100 Grand? Seems stupid to me.

    • Jason Liebig says:

      John,

      Thanks for your comment. I can’t say with 100% certainty if this is true, but I’ve been lead to understand that changing the name had to do with strengthening the trademark for the bar and brand. “100 Grand” is easier to secure a trademark over than a pure numeral like $100,000.

      It makes sense in that scenario at least.

      -Jason

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