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Encyclopedia Dubuque


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Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.


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Glued into booklets, these stamps offered customers the opportunity to shop for prizes.

S & H GREEN STAMPS. S&H Green Stamps, a line of trading 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 & Hutchinson company (S&H), founded in 1896 by Thomas Sperry and Shelley Byron Hutchinson. (1)

During the 1960s, the company promoted its rewards catalog as being the largest publication in the United States and boasted that it issued three times as many stamps as the U.S. Postal Service. Customers received stamps at the checkout counter of supermarkets, department stores, and gasoline stations among other retailers, which could be redeemed for products in the catalog. (2)

S&H Green Stamps had several competitors, including Greenbax Stamps offered by Piggly Wiggly, Gold Bell Gift Stamps (in the Midwest), Triple S Stamps (offered by Grand Union Supermarkets), Gold Bond Stamps, Blue Chip Stamps, Plaid Stamps (a project of A&P Supermarkets), Top Value Stamps, Quality Stamps, Gunn Brothers given by Safeway, Buccaneer, and Eagle Stamps (a project of several divisions of the May Department Stores Co. of St. Louis, Missouri). (3)

The once popular sales incentive was first offered in Dubuque at DORAN BROTHERS with all cash purchases. (4)

An attempt by Green Stamps to make a comeback in Dubuque failed in 1979. The previous owner of STAMPFER'S DEPARTMENT STORE stopped giving stamps to customers on January 25, 1979. The new owner of the building, Thomas GRAHAM informed the public that he had no intention of resuming the business. Records of the store beginning in December, 1977 indicated that trading stamp use was not very large and was simply another cost of doing business. (5)

The second business to announce its discontinued use of Green Stamps was A & P FOODS at 3333 Asbury Road. All stamp business was ended on February 24, 1979 because officials at the chain's corporate headquarters had decided to discontinue the program in its Milwaukee division. The local manager explained that the program had increased sales in December, 198 by ten percent, but this did not meet the company goal of twenty percent. (6)



1. "S & H Green Stamps," Wikipedia. Online: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S%26H_Green_Stamps

2. Ibid.

3. Ibid.

4. S. & H's Dubuque Comeback Fails," Telegraph Herald, February 11, 1979, p. 21

5. Ibid.

6. Ibid.