Recognize this?

Especially those of you who grew up during the late Fifties through the Seventies may have heard of Blue Chip Stamps.

Blue Chip Stamps started as a trading stamps company called “Blue Chip Stamp Co.” They were a competitor to S&H Green Stamps. Blue Chip stamps was a loyalty program for customers, similar to discount cards issued by pharmacies and grocery stores in the digital era. A customer making a purchase at a participating store (typically grocery stores, gasoline stations, and pharmacy chains) would be given stamps in proportion to the size of the purchase.

1973 Blue Chip Stamp catalog

Here is the cover and inside page of the 1973 catalog, which I came across while looking for something else in a box. I have no idea whatsoever why I saved it.

The stamps would be issued by machines next to the cash register. The customer would paste the stamps (which could be licked or moistened with a sponge, like postage stamps) into books. Pasting a large number of stamps into books could be time consuming. The books could then be taken to a special redemption store and redeemed for merchandise, such as lawn furniture, dining tables, table ware, and many other items. The redemption stores did not keep a full inventory of items, but would order from a catalog on behalf of the customer.

I remember both Green Stamps and Blue Chip Stamps in the house at various times, and using a small sponge to wet the stamps and glue them to the pages. The resulting books of stamps were bulky and my Mom would keep them in a zippered bag until we had enough to go get whatever item she had her eye on.

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16 Responses to Recognize this?

  1. Bill Crider says:

    This is cool. We had Green Stamps and Gold Stamps in the areas where I lived. Judy and are still using a couple of things we got with Green Stamps in the first year of our marriage long ago.

  2. We had the Green Stamps and Mother saved those righteously. Don’t remember the Blue Chip or Gold that bill mentions though. May not have had them in our area.

  3. Cap'n Bob says:

    I remember Green Stamps and Plaid Stamps. When I was in my 20’s I saved enough of one of them to get a bathroom scale. They stopped issuing them before I ordered anything else. Or maybe I just quit saving them. It wasn’t that great a scale.

  4. We only had Green Stamps in our neck of the woods. It’s amazing that these stamps and catalogue centers have completely disappeared.

  5. Green stamps yes. I don’t remember hearing of these. Interesting.

  6. Richard says:

    The Blue Chip Stamps may have only been in California and Arizona, but I’m not sure. Not familiar with Gold or Plain stamps. The stamps were quite popular at one time, though.

  7. John says:

    My Mom saved books and books of S&H Green Stamps. My younger brother and I used to be kept busy pasting them all into the books on rainy afternoons. She had some orange ones as well. There were plaid and had a little Scottish guy on them. Those must be the Plaid stamps Bob mentioned. Recently I found some of S&H green stamps in an old book I bought used as a bookmark and a tiny ripple of nostalgia washed over me. I remember going to the S&H store and buying a toaster oven, a radio, and a small portable B&W TV over the years before that premium service finally went out of business. Wasn’t it taken over by Value House?

  8. Art Scott says:

    In Cleveland we had Eagle Stamps – issued mainly by the big department stores (Higbee’s, Halle’s, May Company) – and later S&H. Most of the action in our household was with Eagle Stamps, and I have a vague memory that we got them once or twice when we bought a car – a real bonanza! I did a lot of licking on those occasions. You could redeem them for merchandise value at the big stores, any item (I suppose not liquor, cigarettes etc.) – a much better deal than the limited selection of geegaws from a catalog.

  9. Evan Lewis says:

    Did you have to mention the licking, Art? After all these years, I can still taste those suckers.

  10. Richard says:

    Yep, me, too. That’s why we went to the damp sponge method.

  11. Jeff Meyerson says:

    I’m with the Cap’n – Green Stamp and Plaid Stamps. Never heard of these.

  12. Patti Abbott says:

    Only remember Green Stamps and we never used them. Don’t know why. We certainly were poor.

  13. Stan Burns says:

    In southern California we had S&H Green Stamps first, and then the Blue Chip Stamps came along. If I remember correctly they gave you more of them than the Green stamps, and most of the markets switched to them. My mom redeemed stamps to get me a Yashica rangefinder 35mm camera when I went to Europe in ’69 – took good pictures too, till it was stolen off a train in Germany.

  14. Richard says:

    That’s a darn nice premium she got for you, Stan. She must have had a lot of stamps.

  15. Stefanie says:

    Seeing your image, it brought back a flood of memories. Not just of Blue Chip Stamps, which we collected avidly! But of the fabulous illustrator Mark English, who did the beautiful artwork on your catalog cover. Mark English was probably the greatest influence on my own art, and I subconsciously emulated many of his techniques in my illustrations. I’ve never seen this before, and I love it! I hope you don’t mind if I ‘borrow’ your image to show off on my own blog. I’ll leave a credit!

  16. Richard says:

    Help yourself, Stephanie. Thanks for dropping by.

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