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!

Art Powell circa 1962

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.

The Black and Brown Trading Stamp Corporation

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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…

14 Comments

  • August 10, 2013

    Many thanks for the great background research to this item, Pam. I’m thrilled to have this item in my collection. Deepest respect and admiration to you for all you are doing to preserve our culture and history.

    Jon Daniel

    • cecilio mendoza
      August 28, 2014

      would like to know how much is the vajue of James brown black and brown stamp worth?

  • cecilio mendoza
    August 28, 2014

    yes I have a set of ten!

  • December 16, 2014

    Did anyone find out a value on the stamp?

  • Ed
    December 18, 2014

    How did people get these stamps in the first place? Where they given out when a certain amount of cash was spent in a store, like some supermarkets do today?

  • April 25, 2015

    is james brown stamp worth anything today I have 12

  • Dennis Liam
    January 8, 2016

    How much would 2 stamps in good condition worth today?

  • Cecile
    January 31, 2016

    I don’t know if they have any monetary value but I have 20 pages of them in excellent condition in my old Black and Brown stamp album. Any collector is welcome to them

    • Conor J Barron
      June 14, 2017

      Cecile,

      Do you still have these? Please email me at baronrok@yahoo.com Thanks! Conor

  • April 4, 2018

    I remember them, c. Summer ’70, in Berkeley. I may have a few somewhere, and in my place, a search is a search..

  • wes
    April 12, 2018

    please sell me album

    • Ada
      October 24, 2019

      I have a book of 42 pages plus three single stamps. No cover page. What would be the worth? Thank you.

  • Linda Lee, Esq.
    June 13, 2019

    You left out the Black female that was also an owner of this company, Jeannette Tucker. CPA, Fashion Designer, and co-owner.

  • Victoria Savage
    August 25, 2019

    I have regaled friends with stories of collecting these stamps as a kid. Finally with the help of the internet and the enthusiasm of collectors, I get to see a piece of my personal history.

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