Did your family collect trading stamps?


Mine did. I spent many youthful hours filling collector books for both my mother and my grandmother. I’d eagerly lick the stamps until my tongue would get dry and my mouth had an awful taste. When finished licking, I’d spend countless hours looking at rewards catalogs to see what we could get right now. Then, I’d review what might be available if we only had more stamps. Just when I had it figured out, a new catalogue would arrive in the mail. Somehow, the merchandise we could get with the stamps was much more interesting and appealing than getting it in a store. I never considered that the store-bought items were probably less expensive in the long run.

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Sperry and Hutchison a/k/a S&H was the largest trading stamp company and started its practice in the late 1800s, becoming one of the first such companies. During the 1960s, S&H printed its own rewards catalog that became America’s largest publication. At the same time, S&H allegedly issued three times more stamps than the U.S. Post Office.

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S&H had competitors, including, Plaid Stamps, Gold Bell Gift Stamps, Gold Bond Stamps, Blue Chip Stamps, and a few others. The stamps were distributed when customers bought products, primarily at grocery stores, gasoline stations and department and other retail stores. I’m going to speak about the S&H stamps since I licked more of them than other brands.

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S&H’s stamps came in one, ten and fifty point denominations and were awarded in ten-cent increments … a one denomination stamp was equal to ten-cents and so forth. Their collector books were free; twenty-four pages long; and needed fifty stamps to fill a page. That meant each book held twelve hundred stamps, equivalent to spending $120. The completed books were exchangeable for merchandise at an S&H redemption center or via mail.

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The retailer that planned to offer trading stamps would purchase their stamps from whichever company it chose, and then award the stamps at a rate determined by the merchant. Customers would frequently choose one store over another because that store gave out more stamps than another for each dollar spent.

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Trading stamps were most popular during the mid-‘60s. In 1965, supermarkets stopped issuing stamps and started lowering prices instead. They also started to use “preferred customer” programs. Later, the recessions of the ‘70s diminished the value of trading stamps, and consumers began to stop collecting them.

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If you still have any trading stamps, they might have some “value.” The Internet is your best source to find out what you need to do to redeem them for something.

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18 thoughts on “Did your family collect trading stamps?

  1. S&H were handy to get Christmas presents. I can still find a few things around my house purchased with the stamps. Thanks Fred.

    Sent from my iPad


    Liked by 1 person

    • Anyone remember the Pat Boone song SPEEDY GONZALES? One line in the song has a little Mexican sounding guy say “Hey, Rosita! Come Quick! At the Cantina they’re giving Green Stamps with Tequila!”


  2. I loved them. I had a lot of fun shopping days at the Green Stamp Store in Bloom. I think a lot of my shower and wedding gifts came from there.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh, the absolute JOY of collecting Green Stamps, counting and recounting the number of completed books we had, pouring over the catalog and then—off to the Green Stamp store in Sunbury. Many wedding or birthday or special household items were found and purchased by handing over—however reluctantly—our valuable books—always hoping we would still have part of a book of stamps left for the next purchase.

    I confess that I still have one stamp in a special hiding place—just in case—


  4. We collected the Green stamps too, I remember going with my Mother to the Green Stamp store to cash them in,


  5. I used to LOVE it when my dad bought a new car. He would come home with a pile of Green stamps and the fun of filling the stamp books would commence. And then the shopping . . .


  6. Oh, my goodness, we collected S&H Green stamps for years and had more games, picnic baskets and all sorts of summer stuff from them!   My mother lived for them!  If her stamps were missing from our weekly food “order,” there was trouble!  Don’t lose the stamps or you lose your allowance!  The first time I ever saw Gold Bond stamps was when I moved to Tennessee and Texas.  Quite a memory!  


    • From what I have read, the value is $1.20 for each 1200 stamps you send in. You have to mail them to Fl. and if you Google how to spend S&H Green stamps you can find out all the info.


  7. Strangest thing, I was taking a nap this afternoon and had a dream that included ‘Green Stamps’ which I remembered when I woke up, Hadn’t heard or thought of them in decades. I spent time this evening reading up again about the stamps (and Plaid Stamps, which my grandmother collected), I remember Mom collecting the Green Stamps in an big envelope and my sister and I would paste them in the books. It was something to look forward to, browsing the redemption catalogues and going to the local redemption center (we had two within 30 miles of my hometown). This was really a blast from the past!


  8. We got many baseballs with Top Value Stamps—one book—back in the ’60s and early ’70s. Those stamps were a boon to kids like us who didn’t have $5 cash for our summer supply of baseballs. Thanks, Top Value—and Kroger’s the local grocery store that offerd them.


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