It is a miracle that my tongue is not permanently coated with the gummy glue from licking these S & H Green Stamps to stick in a book for my Mom, Mama Gen or my Aunt. As a youngster I never remember a time when there were not S & H Green Stamp books next to a pile of stamps ready to be licked and stuck in the books. We actually thought it was fun.
I am certainly not complaining about all the licking, because I did my share of dog earring the pages of the S & H Green Stamp catalog. A trip to the Green Stamp store was even more exciting, because you could actually touch the real items you were longing to redeem for the books of stamps. Family members would also help other family members save up for something really special they wanted from the catalog. We looked for these S & H Green Stamp signs to decide where to shop. They were like a thank you for shopping with us gift.
S&H Green Stamps (also called Green Shield Stamps) were popular in the United States from the 1930s until the late 1980s. They were distributed as part of a rewards program operated by the Sperry and Hutchinson company. During the 1960s, the rewards catalog printed by the company was the largest publication in the United States and the company issued three times as many stamps as the U.S. Postal Service!
The stores or service stations that distributed the stamps bought the stamps from S&H and gave them as bonuses to shoppers based on the dollar amount of a purchase. The stamps issued in denominations of one, ten, and fifty points were perforated with a gummed backside, and as shoppers accumulated the stamps they moistened them and mounted the stamps in collectors books, which were provided free by S&H. The books contained 24 pages and to fill a page required 50 points, so each book contained 1200 points. Shoppers could then exchange filled books for premiums, including housewares and other items, from the local Green Stamps store or from the catalog.
The program had its greatest popularity during the mid 1960s, but a series of recessions during the 1970s decreased sales of green stamps and the stamp programs of their competitors.
Sperry and Hutchinson was sold in 1981, and was purchased from a holding firm by a member of the founding Sperry family in 1999. At that time, only about 100 U.S. stores were offering Green Stamps. Eventually, the company modified its practices with the advent of the Internet and now offers greenpoints as rewards for online purchases.