I Wuz Just Thinking: How green were my stamps?


The S & H trading stamps were popular, I’m told, from the 1930s until the late 1980s, and they once saved my Christmas.

While continuing to clear out drawers of this spring cleaning, I came across several individual Green Stamps.

S & H Green Stamps, back during an earlier time in my life, were given at many of the stores and gas stations to entice customers to come to their businesses in order to receive the free green stamps.  The more one saved and glued into the provided books, the better and more products one could get free with only paying for the tax and handling fees.

My third-grade teacher at Eastview Elementary, Mrs. Carpenter (later she remarried and her name was Bass), approached me and asked if I would be interested in pasting her stamps into her books. She would pay me.

As a young third-grader, I was so excited to do this, not only for the positive attention of one of my favorite teachers but for the monies I was looking forward to earning. I would use it to purchase Christmas gifts for my own family

Betty Mahurin Baker

The trading stamps were popular, I’m told, from the 1930s until the late 1980s. It was founded in 1896 by Thomas Sperry and Shelley Hutchinson…Sperry & Hutchinson company (S&H).  The company promoted its rewards catalog as being the largest publication in the United States.

In the early 1970’s when my two sons were very young, we moved to Glen Burney, Maryland.  Most of our purchases for food and gasoline were made at stores and stations that carried S & H Green stamps or some other type of trading stamps.  Each state seemed to promote its own special type of trading stamps.

Soon after arriving in Glen Burney, Maryland, snow fell deeply.  The children and I were housebound.

It was nearing the holidays, and I was so homesick the only thing I could think of was trying to get gifts sent to each of our parents and siblings.  With no extra monies, I spent hours, while the children were down for their naps, using a sponge to moisten the stamps and sticking them in their appropriate books.  It was fun gazing thru each stamp catalog and seeing what gift and how many gifts I could choose.  I think I had only a $10 bill that I could use toward all of the gifts for our family.

Finally, I sent in my list of gift items.  Since I only had enough money for the taxes and a one-time mailing expense, I decided against having the items shipped to me in Maryland. I would have to re-pack and mail the gift at an even greater expense, I chose for the company to just forward the appropriate gift to each member of my family.  I wrote everyone and told them to be looking for their package to arrive.

I was very happy when I received word that each package had arrived and was appreciated.

I wuz just thinking about how S & H Green stamps had once saved Christmas.


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