Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – Gold Bell Gift Stamps

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Were it not for Gold Bell Gift Stamps I never would’ve had a new blanket or clock radio to go off to college with. I’m not sure where these stamps  were given out in Detroit, where I grew up,  but it had to have been an A&P or Kroger’s as that’s where my mom always did her shopping. I loved licking and pasting in all the stamps she brought home and I collected those books like they were diamonds knowing that I could cash them in on the items of my choice.

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It was definitely looking through the Gold Bell Gift Stamps catalog that my love of catalogs blossomed. It was absolutely mind boggling to me that you could actually get something for free and all it required was licking little stamps and gluing them onto the pages as the book got lumpy and lumpier, looking almost as if a pitcher of water had been poured on it the fuller it got. For someone who’s a paper freak like me it was just as thrilling to fill the book as it was to get the items the books were cashed in to get. In fact, sometimes I got so attached to the books as they warped as more and more stamps were pasted in that the book itself became more precious than the gift it could procure.

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I’m not sure if this hand-painted wooden counter sign was for Gold Bell Gift Stamps or whether there was an entirely different brand called, simply, Gold Stamps:

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Whatever the case, my tattered book of Gold Bell Gift Stamps, ready to be redeemed for a hood hairdryer, mohair argyle sweater or automatic hand mixer, looks very nice sitting next to it.

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I used to pour over this page making sure I had done everything right. I could smell the new pogo stick or 45 player as I filled in my name and address.

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I shall always love Gold Bell Gift Stamps for being a big part of my childhood. Past a certain point I just couldn’t give the books away anymore. I must’ve known somewhere in the back of my head I was going to have the world’s most gigantic memorabilia collection. So I have this book and a few spare stamps and that’s just as good as the portable TV I always wanted which took hundreds and hundreds of books that I never managed to amass before falling for a turtle bowl, dictionary or any of the other smaller gifts that made me feel rich as a Queen.

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Categories: Book, Brands, Detroit, Financial, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day

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8 Comments

  • Debra Girard says:

    I remember the S& H Green Stamps In Arizona,and the blue chip stamps in CA. Once I won about a thousand Green Stamps, being a waitress at a Dunkin’ Doughnuts. I cashed them in for a huge punch bowl for my mom. Licking that many stamps got really tiresome and yucky.

  • Ginger says:

    I wonder what ‘FAG” stands for.

  • Allee says:

    I know. I didn’t call specific attention to it but that’s so amazing. I’m pretty sure that the stamps were labeled like that to identify which store they came from.

  • denny says:

    These are fab but I don’t have to lick stamps to feel like a queen.

  • I don’t remember Gold Bell Gift Stamps. I do recall Green Stamps. I also remember Raleigh Cigarette coupons. The more cigarettes that you smoked, the quicker you could get free prizes. Now cigarettes just give you cancer. It’s not fair!

  • J.W. Swope says:

    I grew-up in Ypsilanti MI; still have some old Gold Bell Stamps here somewhere, and S & H Green Stamps. The “H” from S & H, Shelly Hutchinson, had a big mansion-on-the-hill on the near-east-side at 600 River St.; it’s down-the-street from Miller’s Auto Sales (the last surviving Hudson-Essex-Terraplane dealership), also just-north of where Preston Tucker lived and created his ill-fated auto. Hutchinson’s former home is now owned by a charitable foundation, High Scope. Beautiful, still.

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