During the 1960s, Sperry & Hutchinson issued three times as many stamps as the U.S. Postal Service. Did you know the stamps were printed in Sand Springs, Oklahoma by Allied Stamp Corporation? It's an interesting story!
During the time from the 1930s to the 1960s, there was a company that printed stamps for S&H. But as volumes grew Sperry & Hutchinson was concerned about having enough stamps and sought additional suppliers. They approached Allied Graphic Arts, the company that printed Sperry & Hutchinson’s IdeaBook catalog. Allied Graphic Arts searched the US for the best place to build a plant and found Sand Springs Oklahoma. It was centrally located, easily reaching either coast. S&H even loaned them the money to build the plant.
The plant was non-descript and was never publicized since printing S&H Green Stamps was like printing money. There was a lot of security with fenced in areas and 24/7 security guards.
Printing the stamp was no easy feat!
It started with white paper bought in rolls about 3000 lbs. each. The paper would be run through a tint bath. Then it would be run through a watermark process then another tint bath and then through an oven to bring it to about 750 degrees to dry the paper out. Finally, an applicator roll would put glue on it. The glue was liquid, so it had to be run through another oven to dry it out. 60,000 lbs. of glue was purchased every 11 days. That equated to about 850 million stamps per week!
Have you wondered about the mysterious letters and numbers on the stamps? In addition to the logo the stamp had a number at the top starting with AAA and a number 1-1000 then AAA1, AAA2, AAB1 etc. For security reasons there special features built into the stamp. Each stamp was numbered with a watermark and a special number was printed with ink that would glow under a black light.
Today, of course the stamps are digital, but security is still important. There are a number of behind the scenes checks to ensure that the program is not abused and as the program expands stamp security will be a top priority.