I found this Blue Chip Stamps redemption catalog among my mothers things. What can you tell me about its history?
— H.R. , Walnut Creek, Calif.
While hundreds of U.S. companies issued trading stamps from the late 19th century on, Blue Chip Stamps founded in 1956 by a group of nine companies, including Chevron Oil, Thrifty Drugs and several grocery chains was one of the biggest. Typically, individuals received one stamp for each dime they spent. The stamps were pasted into saver books, which, once filled, could be redeemed for cash or merchandise at a stamp redemption center or through a catalog. Stamp redemption catalogs offer an excellent means of determining what appealed to the average American during a given period, as the stamp companies offered popular name-brand merchandise, including Bassett furniture, RCA televisions and Westinghouse appliances.
Today, Blue Chip Stamps is a wholly owned subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway. At paper ephemera shows, dealers ask between $15 and $25 for trading-stamp redemption catalogs that date beyond 1945, as yours does. On eBay, the vast majority sell for between $5 and $10.
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