Back in January I covered the Heide confectionery classic Mexican Hats, and today I’d like to share a similar look back at another Heide favorite, and one that can still be found today; Red Hot Dollars!
Red Hot Dollars were introduced to the marketplace nearly a century ago, in 1925 or 1926 by the Henry Heide company. Though the original company was sold long ago (first to Hershey, then to Farley’s and Sathers, which is now a part of Ferrara Pan) all Heide products still retain their original distinctive red-diamond branding.
It might be unexpected to learn that Red Hot Dollars are not, in fact, a cinnamon or hot-flavored candy — at least they didn’t start out that way. For most of their 90-year history, Red Hot Dollars have been a raspberry flavored gummi-type confection. The name came from the term “red hot”, which in the 1920’s was a slang for something that was new and popular. So the name was not associated with the raspberry flavor and in recent decades that may have caused a little consumer confusion.
I was able to find a few early examples of Red Hot Dollars packaging in the archives of the U. S. Trademark Office.
This first one is stamped “1925” so this would have been found on the very first Red Hot Dollars display boxes (it would appear that these were sold in bulk at 2 for 1-cent):
The next two pieces from the USTO Archives come from the 1950’s and 1960’s [Note that in 30 years, the price had not changed]:
That last 1-pound cello package shows the earliest example of a Red Hot Dollars individual logo that I could find, and the bouncing letters from that logo can be also found on the earliest example from my own collection. This next Red Hot Dollars box dates back to the early 1970’s, and is the one I remember most from my own childhood:
As you may have noticed, by the 1970’s and for the first time Heide chose to indicate the raspberry flavor right on the front of the box. This flavor-clarification would become a feature of all of the package design evolutions that would follow.
Next up I have a trio of fascinating images from my pal and creator of Mr. Toast and Friends, Dan Goodsell.
In the following pics is not only a full mid-70’s Red Hot Dollars display box, but an unusual Tops-n-Ten shipper box that contained an assortment of five different Heide product display boxes as well as a bonus of 10 boxes of Jujyfruits.
Next up are the Red Hot Dollars display box images. [Note: The display box features the new logo style that Red Hot Dollars individual boxes would soon have, while the contents were still the old-logo style of box. This was not uncommon during transitional phrases of package design. Rather than trash the already-produced old look boxes, Heide would use up the remaining print run of the old style while the new display boxes were already in use.]
The smiling-face graphics seen on this display box were something that I believe was used on individual theater-sized boxes for the entire Heide line. Even though I’ve never found any of these smiling-face style of individual theater-sized Heide boxes, I know they’re out there, and I will continue my hunt.
By 1978, Red Hot Dollar boxes would feature this dramatically different and striking updated look (it’s notable that even in 1978, this box still lacked a UPC code):
The type style seen on that 1978 box would be a recurring feature on Red Hot Dollars boxes for the next thirty years.
By 1980, the box design would change yet again, and for the first time Red Hot Dollars boxes would get a mascot. It’s important to note that this was a unifying look and design across the Heide line at the time – nearly all of the boxes had similar mascots and rolling logo shapes:
Here are a pair of other Heide boxes featuring similar mascots and logos from this period:
I’d estimate that the mascot style of box for Red Hot Dollars lasted well into the 1980’s, so the next style of box I have to show likely dates to the late 1980’s or early 1990’s:
From here I’m going to jump forward to the 2000’s, and what I consider the “modern age” of Red Hot Dollars. By the time the 2000’s came along, Heide was a brand owned by Farley’s and Sathers, and once again the boxes had a new look (though they would bring back the logo type style first used on mid-1970’s boxes).
But the most dramatic thing to happen to Red Hot Dollars in the modern era was not the look of the packaging, but the product itself. You see, after what was likely a few decades of bouts of consumer confusion over a “red hot” product that was raspberry-flavored, Red Hot Dollars would be split into two different products. “Red Hot Dollars” would now be a hot cinnamon flavored candy, while the original product would be sold under the name “Red Raspberry Dollars”.
Farley’s and Sathers even introduced a third product as spinoff of the original called Black Licorice Dollars. These were discontinued around 2009, and while I don’t have a box for these in my collection (if anyone finds one, let me know) I do have a box photo in my files to share:
This brings us up to today. I believe that Red Hot Dollars are still being sold, though I have to admit that I haven’t seen any boxes of them (or Red Raspberry Dollars for that matter) around lately. In 2012 there was a huge merger that resulted in Farley’s and Sathers becoming a part of the now-much-larger Ferrara Pan candy company – so perhaps we’ll be seeing Red Hot Dollars again soon. I’ll certainly be keeping my eyes peeled for them.
And that’s everything for today. I hope you enjoyed my look back at this near-century-old confectionery classic with the sometimes-misleading name.
See you next time!