So far this December, we’ve seen a variety of Christmas Tree themed ads from my collection of mid-century Woman’s magazines. There was a hosiery tree, a silverware tree, and a cookie tree. Here’s one more. The man you see stacking mid-century goods in the shape of a Christmas tree is showing some of the free items you can get from a trading stamp company named Top Value Stamps.
Here’s a description of the items shown and the number of filled trading stamp books needed to get the item. For example, you can get a free Baby Debbie tear doll for 2 1/5 books, or a RCA portable TV for 48 books.
Trading stamps are similar to the frequent-flyer type of loyalty programs that we have today. In the mid-century, stores would give you stamps based on how much you bought. You would then lick the stamps and put them in a trading stamp book. Here’s an example of a Top Value Stamp book (from JJournalinspirations on eBay)
As a kid growing up in the sixties, I remember the thrill of collecting stamps and filling the books. Our area had something similar called Green Stamps who would publish catalogs to show the many things you can get with completed books. It was fun browsing the catalogs and dreaming about what I could get if I only had enough stamps.
Trading stamp write-up on Wikipedia