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Speculators hoard Necco Wafers before candymaker's possible closure

  • Last month, the New England Confectionery Co. announced it would have to shut down if it can't find a buyer by early May, the Boston Globe reported.
  • Candy speculators and fans of Necco Wafers are hoarding the 171-year-old sweet that's been likened to chalk.
  • They're listing on eBay for up to 10 times their normal retail price.
NECCO Wafers
Jon H. Prince | CandyFavorites.com
NECCO Wafers

Candy speculators and fans of Necco Wafers are hoarding the 171-year-old sweet that's been likened to chalk, in the event that Necco products are discontinued forever in the next month and a half.

The candy is listing on eBay for up to 10 times its normal retail price.

Last month, Massachusetts-based New England Confectionery Co. announced it would have to shut down if it can't find a buyer by early May, The Boston Globe reported. That's prompted a mad dash for the candy.

Candy wholesaler Candyfavorites.com sold more Necco Wafers on Wednesday than it would normally sell in six months, depleting 90 percent of its Necco Wafer inventory, said owner Jon Prince.

"We've had people offer to purchase our entire inventory," he said. "I had an older lady who offered to send me chocolate chip cookies for the entire year if I were willing to sell her beyond our limit. I was tempted because I love baked goods. But I didn't do it."

Prince said he has limited each order to just one box per type of Necco candy to make sure everybody who loves the candy gets their share. He wants to make sure people aren't buying the candy in bulk just to turn a profit. Candyfavorites.com sells a box of 24 rolls for $39.95.

"Something we've noticed is people are trying to buy them from us and sell them at a huge premium on the Internet," Prince said.

The frenzy for Necco Wafers is picking up in other Necco products as well, Prince said. That includes Clark Bars, Sky Bars, Candy Buttons, Squirrel Nut Zippers and Sweethearts, the heart-shaped Valentine's Day candy emblazoned with messages such as "Let's Kiss" and "True Love."

But by far the most popular are the Necco Wafers, said Mitchell Cohen, owner of Economy Candy on New York City's Lower East Side.

The candy shop sold more than 60 boxes of Necco Wafers in the last 24 hours, Cohen said. He's run out of inventory and is waiting for a shipment to arrive later in the day Thursday.

"All my normal suppliers are out of stock. I'm basically buying it for what I'm selling it now, because I don't want people to not have it," Cohen said. One box of 24 rolls at Economy Candy is going for $21.60.

John Philis runs Lexington Candy Shop, a diner that sells candy including Necco Wafers on New York City's Upper East Side.

Five customers came in on Thursday "who said they're going to hold onto them because they're worth a lot of money," Philis said. "They said they were going to put them on eBay."

Lexington Candy Shop sells one roll of wafers for $1.50. Boxes of 24 rolls are retailing on eBay for $35 to $300.

Beyond the candy speculators, people are trying to hold onto a piece of their youth, Candyfavorites.com's Prince said.

"What people are really trying to stockpile is a connection to their youth and their past," he said. "You're trying to hold onto a little piece of a time in life when things were cheaper and life was easier and sweeter."