Puce Stamps

Puce Stamps by Walt Kelly, 1962

In 1962, Pogo cartoonist Walt Kelly made fun of the practice popularised by US supermarket chain Sperry & Hutchinson of giving out bonus stamps with each purchase. These green stamps could later be traded for household goods of all kind, giving customers the (false) idea of getting something for nothing, while at the same time making them spend more.

Kelly’s Puce Stamps were an obvious scam, promoted by token baddie Mr. Pig (a barely disguised caricature of Nikita Kruschev) and aimed at abusing the naivity of the denizens of the Okefenokee Swamp.

In real life, a set of nine Puce Stamps, featuring the main characters of the Pogo strip, was created in 1963, and included by publishers Simon & Schuster with the first edition of the Pogo compilation, The Puce Stamp Catalog. Even though the book is quite readily available, the stamps have become quite rare. And sadly, also rather pricey, for something that’s “absolutely guaranteed worthless”.

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