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:
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:
It’s a design that would last until 1973, when the package design was completely overhauled.
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
The 100 Grand joined all other confectionery packaging here in the USA in 1994 with the addition of the modern Nutrition Facts panel:
I don’t have any modern-era fun-size wrappers for 100 Grand, but I do have a large fun-size ploybag:
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:
I have another of the mid-2000′s flavor experiments in my own collection:
Finally, here is the current version of 100 Grand:
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.]