While I was paying homage to and celebrating the birthday of the greatest entertainer of all time, the Godfather of Soul James Brown, my facebook friend Jon Daniels asked if I had a set of Black and Brown Trading Stamps in the Museum Of UnCut Funk collection. At that time I didn’t. But I am now happy to report that I do. I just had to get my hands on this!
The Black and Brown Trading Stamp Corporation was established in 1969 in Oakland, California by former Oakland Raiders football player Art Powell, who saw an opportunity to create and reward loyalty within the Black community through trading stamps featuring Black American icons. The first and only icon featured on these stamps was James Brown, which reflects the fact that James Brown put up most of the money to start the company. The stamps were issued by Black merchants in Downtown Oakland to provide incentives to local patrons in the Black community. A full book of 50 pages of stamps was worth the equivalent of $3.00 in merchandise. During the first year the effort grew to include 1,000 merchants across California and generated over $1 million dollars in business.
Time Magazine Article
Retailing: Soul Stamps
Friday, July 11, 1969
Art Powell, all-star football end of the Oakland Raiders, was mulling over business prospects while recovering from a knee injury. What about trading stamps? Why, Powell asked himself, should a collector have to take the stamps to a redemption center and ex change them for gifts? Instead, Powell figured that a customer should be able to redeem the stamps where he gets them — for an extra loaf of bread at the grocery, or a tank of gas at the filling station. Powell thought that idea would appeal particularly to Negroes, many of whom could use the extra merchandise…