Trading stamps and cigarette coupons were a big thing when I was a kid.

Supermarkets, gas stations, department stores and other locations handed out stamps for your purchases, and some tobacco companies put coupons in the cellophane on the back of your cigarette pack.

People collected the stamps in little booklets and redeemed them for products at a local redemption center or through the mail.

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My parents shopped for food, bought gas, and smoked cigarettes, so we collected plenty of stamps and coupons. Usually, it took a truckload of them to trade for anything with any real value.

The most popular type of trading stamps around these parts – at least in my recollection – was S&H Green Stamps. There was a Green Stamp Redemption Center, but I don't recall where it was. Perhaps it was on the New Bedford-Fairhaven Bridge?

When New Bedford Collected S&H Green Stamps
Courtesy Spinner Publications
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S&H, which stands for the Sperry & Hutchinson Company, was founded by Thomas Sperry and Shelley Byron Hutchinson of Michigan in 1886, according to a 2013 article by Greg Hatala for NJ Advance Media.

S&H Green Stamps were issued as late as the 1980s, though the height of their popularity was in the 1960s and 1970s. I hear you can still redeem S&H Green Stamps by emailing kkazk@al.com.

S&H Green Stamps were not the only trading stamps when I was growing up. I recall Gold Bond and Plaid Stamps, and many others were popular in other regions of the country.

Did you or your parents or grandparents collect S&H Green Stamps? Do you remember anything you traded your stamps for?

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