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We have a look inside the 1960 Gold Bond trading stamp catalog
The 1960 Gold Bond trading stamp catalog is a valuable time capsule for collectors of vintage mid-century items and it’s filled with mid-century design inspirations for retro decorators. This one is from my personal catalog collection. I hope you enjoy it.
For those readers who may be too young to know, trading stamps were once a big deal. Born in 1896, trading stamps grew in popularity during the mid-century era. There were around 200 trading stamp companies by 1957.
How trading stamps worked:
When you shopped at grocery stores and gas stations you were frequently rewarded with trading stamps, sometimes a few, sometimes whole sheets. The amount you were given was determined by how much you spent. You would collect the trading stamps and place them in stamp booklets. It took approximately $120 in purchases to collect enough stamps to fill a book. That doesn’t sound like much today, but in 1957 the price of a loaf of bread was $.19 and the average yearly income was just $4,494. They were the kind of stamps you had to lick or dampen with a sponge which made the process time-consuming and messy. Pages would stick together frequently. When you collected enough books of stamps you would redeem them for items. They could be redeemed through the mail or at redemption centers. The trading stamp catalogs were very slim compared with department store catalogs, but they did offer a pleasant assortment of items. It could take years to collect enough books of stamps for something large, like furniture or appliances, and many months for smaller items.
Mid Century Trading Stamp Companies (the bigger ones):
Blue Chip Stamps
S&H Green Stamps
Gold Bond Stamps
Gold Strike Stamps
Texas Gold Stamps
Triple‐S Blue Stamps
The Gold Bond Stamp Company:
The Gold Bond Stamp Company got it’s start in 1938 with a $55 loan to it’s founder Curt Carlson. It eventually diversified, became known as Carlson Companies, bought the Radisson Hotel chain and is now worth billions of dollars. I think it’s safe to say Curt Carlson was a man who was unafraid to dream big!
The 1960 Gold Bond Catalog:
I’m not including every page here because that would make this a very long post, but I have selected a sample of the most interesting pages for your enjoyment. Staring with these two fun and slightly kitschy pages which feature a special travel promotion. Just imagine the awesome leg room on that 1960 flight. The woman with the beach ball still looks fashionable!
A Man And His Lamps:
The man with the buzz-cut seems to be taking his den of lamps for granted, but these lamps certainly are worthy of appreciation. They show the subdued look that was popular in 1960. If I could choose just one, it would be that scenic cylinder motion lamp.
Look at those amazing wall clocks. The black Spartus “Satellite” starburst is a real prize and the gold “Sabre” starburst is an absolute classic. The large wall clock surrounded with metalwork (leaves?) is a Sessions “Glimpse”. The red trimmed wall clock is a GE “Decorator”, the copper trimmed wall clock is a Westclox “Spice” and the white wall clock with the beige center is Lux brand. The alarm clocks include Sunbeam, Westclox, GE and Bradley brands. I don’t want to get too spammy, but you can buy some lovely retro starburst wall clocks today, like this one:
Infinity Instruments Utopia 30W x 30H in. Wall Clock
30 diam. x 2D in.
Metal and wood construction
Mid-century starburst design
What a classic. Rustic wood walls, floor to ceiling floor lamp, cobblestone fireplace, flying duck wall decor, wood framed chairs … this room would be as fresh today as it was in 1960. The red cushions and orange and teal throw pillows offer lively contrast to the sedate colorization of the mauve carpet, brick cobblestone and warm cream walls.
Magazine Racks And Foot Stools
How many people have magazine racks now? How many people have paper magazine subscriptions? How things have changed! The tall rack-looking thing next to the magazine racks is a tall ashtray.Those are tiny framed prints of antique autos next to the gold framed mirror.
It’s remarkable how little metal plant stands have changed very little since 1960! However, the gold plate plaques and windmill planter do say mid-century.
Rocket Coffee Carafe
My Lord, this is high mid-century! I’m pining for that incredible Inland brand “Golden Triangle”, glass atomic coffee carafe. It looks like it’s getting ready to blast off. The folding cherry wood fruit tray is splendid. And look at the atomic, copper and chrome ice bucket! It’s actually listed as a Mirro Hot And Cold Server. That’s an Anchor Hocking brand casserole with warmer, the cake musical plate is an unlisted brand. That’s an Eveready “Crystal Ball” lazy Susan chrome server. I think lazy Susans were a mandatory staple in the 1960s home. And what a beautiful peacock-blue those candlesticks are. peacock colors were very popular. One of our previous blog posts features an authentic 1961 peacock paint palette matched to currently available paint, in case you’re interested.
These shiny percolators are (clockwise starting at the top): Presto Automatic, Cory “Buffet Queen”, Douglas Percolator-Carafe and Enterprise Drip-O-lator.
Pots And Pans And Pyrex
Fellow Pyrex lovers will recognize the wonderful Cinderella pattern. Then there’s the white (with blue flowers) Corning Ware skillet, sauce and percolator. Corning Ware was a staple in many homes. The image on the right is not from the Gold Bond catalog, it’s from a vintage advertisement for Pyrex Cinderella. I include it here to show the details of this lovely pattern.
Weird Toaster Oven
This GE Automatic Toast-R-Oven is basically a popup toaster sitting on top of a broiler. I guess it was supposed to be a space-saver, but it looks very cumbersome. That white appliance in the back is a Westinghouse roaster oven sitting on a Westinghouse roaster oven cabinet. The white goblet is ANCORGLASS hobnail.
Delicate pinks and yellows, butterflies and florals, subdued and calming bathroom decor, so typical of the very early 1960s. The chenille toilet seat covers and matching rugs are ultra typical of the time My grandmother’s bathroom was decorated in 1959 and stayed that way until she died in the 1980s. It felt like a trip back in time every time you entered it. She had a yellow chenille toilet seat cover that may have been the same one pictured in the center. It dressed up the toilet in the most charming way.
Every item on this page is Westinghouse brand. The refrigerator came in white, aqua, pink or yellow. That Westinghouse “Ambassador” range is very nice! That’s a portable “Imperial Rollabout” model dishwasher standing next to it. The interesting floor tile color choices add a fascinating contrast.
The TV is an RCA “Sportabout”. The transistor radio is a Philco. Dig those clock radios! The top two are both RCA Victors, while the lower lefthand radio is a Westinghouse. The portable record players and tape recorder are listed as V-M brand. That small red and white case is made to hold 45s. Isn’t that a nice wooden phonograph stand?
Top: The classic red “Deluxe Fire Chief” pedal car is Murray brand, The cement mixer and truck hauling the boat are both Tonka and the power shovel is Structo brand. That’s a Buddy-L semi in the middle and of course, we have the mid century childhood staple, Tinker Toys.
Bottom left: The obviously evil, pistol toting clown seems to be taming the stuffed tiger. I wonder how many children had nightmares after looking at the Gold Bond catalog? On the other hand, the elephant is a big cutie-pie.
Bottom right: The evil clown is riding a Radio “Super Scooter”. None of the dolls have names and no makers are listed. If I were to venture a guess, I say they were probably made by Uneeda, Eegee and/or Horseman.
The best dressed man on the patio is serving up tiny hotdogs from the cool hotdog cart. Looks like the good life to me! See those colored metal tumblers on the cart’s tailgate? Everybody had them. You can get authentic retro versions of the tumblers today and you can also get a reasonably authentic hotdog cart (below).
Yes, you could get shotguns and rifles in exchange for trading stamps. It took quite a few, though.
I hope you enjoyed this look inside the 1960 Gold Bond catalog. I’ll be posting tours of other vintage catalogs from my collection, so be sure to check back if you’re interested in vintage mid century research.
How I Got My Start As A Catalog Collector:
When I was a small child l loved looking through the Sears Christmas catalog as I marked toys I wanted for Christmas. The only toy store in town was a tiny mom and pop so it was almost unbearably thrilling to see so many dolls and games in on place. When Christmas was over, I begged my mother to allow me to keep the catalog. That was 1968 and just the beginning . Unfortunately, I marked all my favorites in pen and I marked nearly everything in the “Girls” section and quite a few things in the “Boys” section so the value of those first catalogs in my collection was forever compromised. Just as well, since I could probably never part with them anyway.After that I kept every Sears Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter and Christmas catalog that came to our house. Then my grandmother started saving her Wards and Spiegel’s catalogs for me to add to my collection when the season was over. Then I added trading stamp catalogs to my collection. I lost a few to mice when I stored them in an attic, but I still have many of them, some in good condition, some in tatters. I have fond memories of rainy afternoons spent looking at fashion, decor, jewelry, appliances and toys. I daydreamed about one day being able to decorate my own home with the best Sears had to offer, which to my young mind meant pink shag carpeting, bean bag chairs and lava lamps. My tastes have certainly changed over the years, though I do still like lava lamps and catalogs.