History

History of S&H Green Stamps

S&H Green Stamp History

Thomas Sperry of Cranford NJ and Shelley Byron Hutchinson of Ypsilanti MI, founded the Sperry and Hutchison Co. in 1896. They made money by selling the stamps to retailers who would then give them to their customers. 10 stamps for every dollar spent. Consumers would save up their stamps and then exchange them for products from the S&H Catalog (IdeaBook)  at S&H redemption centers, which numbered 600 nationwide by the mid-1960s.

By the 1960s, collecting stamps was so popular that S&H issued three times more stamps than the U.S. Postal Service and its reward catalog was the largest publication in the country.  It is estimated that 80 percent of American households collected Green Stamps during their heyday.

The variety of products that Green Stamps could be redeemed for was amazing. By the 1960s, the S&H "Ideabook" catalog contained 178 pages of items from dish towels and ash trays to fishing poles, bicycles, furniture and appliances.  In 1966, Pennsylvania school children even collected 5.4 million stamps to buy a pair of gorillas: one went to the Pittsburgh Zoo in Highland Park, while the other one, a female named Samantha, went to Glenwood Park Zoo in Erie to serve as a mate for their male gorilla, Lonesome George.

By the late 70's the programs popularity diminished as consumer shopping habits changed, but the program did not. The company all but disappeared until 1999 when the company was reintroduced as S&H greenpoints. Ironically, that effort was unsuccessful for the same reason! However, on a positive note consumer adoption was not the problem. Over 8 million passionate S&H Green Stampers enrolled in the program. 

S&H Green Stamps Fun Facts

S&H Green Stamps™ were so popular that they were mentioned in songs, movies and tv shows. The Beatles and Pat Boone are just two of the many who mention S&H Green Stamps™ in a song or movie. As late as 2001 they were mentioned in the moving, Riding in Cars with Boys.

Courteney Cox of Friends fame was on the The Howard Stern Show and while talking about her piano playing talent, Courteney asked Howard if he remembered S&H Green Stamps and of course, he said absolutely. She went on to explain that she learned how to play the piano on a piano that her mother got with S&H Green Stamps. Cool.... right? 

Andy Warhol’s, S&H Green Stamps™ was used by the artist in 1965 for the artist’s first retrospective held at the Institute of Contemporary Art, in Philadelphia. 

S&H Green Stamps™ rewarded Americans with more than $10 billion dollars in merchandise.

S&H Green Stamps™ earned the trust of more than 30 million households and over 85,000 merchants.

The S&H catalog was the largest publication in the U.S. 

S&H produced three times more stamps than the U.S. Post Office.