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As It Was-Trading Stamps Draw Customers to Participating Stores

From the 1930s through the 1980s, Rogue Valley families and others across the nation received trading stamps when purchasing products from participating stores.  Among the popular versions were S&H Green Stamps, founded by Thomas Sperry and Shelley Byron Hutchinson in 1896.

Merchants bought the stamps from S&H in denominations of one, 10, and 50 points.  When customers purchased items, primarily at participating supermarkets, gasoline filling stations and retail stores, they received stamps based on the value of their purchases.  The customers took the stamps home and pasted them in stamp books provided free by Sperry and Hutchinson, and redeemed them later for items from a catalog.  Each page held 50 one-point stamps in a 24-page book worth 1,200 points. 

As an additional enticement to their customers, stores included in their newspaper advertisements an endorsement that stated, “We give S&H Green Stamps.” 

Families would participate together, with children helping mom or grandma paste the stamps in booklets.  They were redeemed in Medford, Ore., at a stamp redemption store on South Grape Street containing rewards ranging from household goods to toys and games that sometimes served as wedding, graduation, or birthday gifts.


Sources: “Remember S&H Green Stamps." Talent Historacle, 20 Apr. 2012, pp. 6-7, www.talenthistory.org › forms; "Ads." Rogue News (Ashland, Oregon), 9 Oct. 1967, p. 3+, oregonnews.uoregon.edu › lccn › seq-2; "Medford Timeline." Southern Oregon History, Revised, edited by Ben Truwe, Southern Oregon History, truwe.sohs.org › files › timeline.

Luana (Loffer) Corbin graduated from Southern Oregon College, majoring in Elementary Education.  The summer after graduation she was hired to teach at Ruch Elementary, where she taught for 32 years. After retiring, Corbin worked for Lifetouch School Photography and then returned to Ruch as an aide helping with reading instruction and at the library.  More recently, she has volunteered at South Medford High.