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Do you remember Green Shield Stamps?

By Black Country Bugle  |  Posted: February 16, 2014

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DO you remember the good old Green Shield Stamp, that was introduced in 1958? Surprisingly it didn't become defunct until 1991, and we would like to know if you have any memories of the GSS and the excitement of cashing them in for something splendid?

The idea of the Green Shield Stamp was a promotion designed and deployed in the Black Country and beyond to encourage or reward shopping, and was founded by entrepreneur Richard Tompkins. Trading stamps had been popular in the US since 1896 and Tompkins could see the potential of launching the same idea here in Britain.

The stamps were simply given away, after a certain amount had been spent, at petrol stations, corner shops and supermarkets, and was most successful in the '60s and '70s. The majority of the gifts available to purchase with Green Shield Stamp books were everyday items. In 1965 £32 had to be spent to fill just one book, and that would give you a set of six mugs in pastel colours, a set of six lager glasses with gold rims, a cigarette box with a paisley pattern lid, or even a gent's brush and comb set, etc.

With a clutch of Green Shield Stamp books in your hand you could always dream; perhaps buy a Regentone 19 inch television (88 books), or how about a Silver Cloud motor boat (170) books. Each book contained 1,280 stamps and you received 1 stamp for every 6d spent, so the 19 inch television would in effect have cost £2,816. Not surprisingly most ordinary working men and women chose the more modest items which could be obtained after cashing in full books at the Green Shield Stamp showrooms. There was a showroom in New Street, Birmingham. Can Bugle readers remember any others?

In the 1970s the Green Shield Stamp catalogue sold a dream of a more relaxed, informal life style, leaving the glitz and glamour of the previous decade behind, and in 1976 the top gifts were; Phillips colour TV (375 books), Lec chest freezer (140 books), Creda Starlight cooker (115 books), and a Hotpoint automatic washing machine (185 books).

If you have any memories of Green Shield Stamps, ring 01384567678 or email editor@blackcountrybugle.co.uk

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