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Rewarding customers in the mid-1900s


Today, we have rewards cards and online point-systems when we shop, but in the late-19th and early-20th centuries, stores used trading stamps as an incentive to become a repeat customer.

These small, colorful coupons were distributed to customers upon making a cash payment for a purchase, and customers would paste the trading stamps into booklets. It was estimated that a customer received one stamp for every 10 cents spent. Once several booklets were filled, they could be redeemed for today’s equivalent of a “free gift,” such as jewelry or toys.

The Sperry and Hutchinson Company became the first independent trading stamp company in 1896, eventually expanding into the only nation-wide stamp distributor. Shown above is a booklet of stamps given out to customers of Henry Doyle’s general store in Long Eddy during the mid-1900s.

As the years progressed, however, trading stamps became obsolete, eventually being replaced by modern forms of digital rewards systems.

The Basket Historical Society preserves and presents the history of the Upper Delaware area. If you are interested in becoming a member or finding out more contact us at baskethistsociety@gmail.com.


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