Do you remember collecting Green Shield stamps?
They were first issued in 1958 and became very popular in the ’60s and ’70s, but did you browse through the glossy catalogue and save up for any of the gifts?
In the ’60s, the Green Shield Stamp Company catalogue was full of glamorous items that were the stuff of dreams for most households. The 1965 catalogue included a Silver Cloud motor boat that could be yours for 170 books of stamps, although the outboard motor was not included; a Regentone 19-inch TV set for 88 books; a Longines 9ct gold watch for 39½ books; a Kenwood Chef for 33¼ books, or a Kodak Brownie 8 Movie Camera for just 13¼ books.
It took 1280 stamps to fill a book and 1 stamp was given for every 6d spent in participating shops, mainly grocery stores and petrol stations.
This meant saving up 217 600 stamps to get the Silver Cloud, equating to a spend of £5440 – an amount that would have bought you a very nice detached family home back in the day.
A spend of £2816 would get you enough stamps for the TV set, and then another £1064 would get you the Kenwood Chef – giving it the same value as a large family car in 1965!
Most people settled for something a little less luxurious than a motorboat, and many in the Spring Chicken Community remember picking out items for their bottom drawer:
My mum and dad had lots of things from the catalogue and I remember being given my choice of things for the bottom drawer (as we called it back then) – I got Pyrex dishes.
“My mum gave me 2 Green Shield stamp books for my engagement present, and then another 3 as a wedding present. I still have the Pyrex I got to this day!”
In 1965, saving up 1 book of stamps gave you a wide choice of items, including a set of 6 pastel-coloured mugs; a set of 6 gold-rimmed lager glasses; a set of 3 pictures; an 8-piece set of Finlandia (imported) stainless steel tableware; a record rack; a paisley-patterned cigarette box; a gent’s brush and comb set; a set of stainless steel salad servers… or a mouth organ!
“We were given a shoebox-full and a catalogue for a wedding present in 1965. It was great sorting out what we needed.”
In the ’70s, each 2½ new pence got you a Green Shield stamp, so there was a lot of licking and sticking to be done to fill a book. Larger stamps with the same value as 10 and then 40 standard stamps eventually came along, but Spring Chicken Facebook followers can remember the taste of them to this day:
I had to lick loads of them when my mum was too busy to do them herself… YUK!
In the 1976 catalogue, a Philips colour TV could be had for 375 books, or a Hotpoint automatic washing machine for 185 books, but it was even possible to exchange Green Shield stamps for any British make or model of car… although the number of books required is unspecified!
By the late ’70s, the days of licking and sticking were coming to an end, but for those who remember them, the last word goes to this Facebook comment:
“When my niece was born, I asked my little nephew if I could have her. He told me to use my Green Shield stamps to get my own!”