Once I grew up, I was delighted to discover that private citizens can buy their own gumball machines, and I now have 5 vintage venders full of fantastic treasures in my dining room. Still, I'm always on the lookout for cool gumball prizes when I'm antiquing (and actually, still at the grocery store too.) I found this lot at a show this summer, and it had some really great pieces, mostly from the 1960s-70s.
This may look like a pile of cheap plastic, and it is,
but it's also full of tiny treasures.
My favorite piece was this little pink guy with a really big nose.
Barney Google charm:
Monster charms are always a good find; these are from the '60s.
Oh joy of joys: a bunch of Funny Froot rings! I lusted after these as a child, but sadly, only ever got the Avocado Man (second from right).
An itty bitty parachute toy, barely an inch long, and never opened:
And last but not least: tiny fish and clamshell charms. I can remember seeing these as a kid, too, and being profoundly disappointed when, several dollars worth of dimes later, all I had gotten were lame stickers.