Tuesday, May 19, 2009

WW2 Ration Stamp Books

-click to enlarge-


Top photo is a poster I found while visiting the Naval Aviation Museum at Pensacola (FL) NAS on May 28th. It is an authentic one and shows how to use stamps and tokens.

A trading fad some years ago was to reward your purchases with stamps that could be redeemed for merchandise. There was the Quality Stamp, S&H Green Stamp, and Raleigh coupons to name a few. The merchants that were in the program gave you a certain number of the stamps for the amount of purchase.

There was a time in our lifetime that required you to give the merchant some stamps in order to be able to purchase items such as flour, meal, coffee, sugar, tea and even gas, oil, tires and batteries for your car. The ration stamps were issued to family individuals, as illustrated above. Shown is the front page and inside were pages of tear-out stamps (center photo) for all the different items that were rationed.

All during WW2, I had no knowledge of the program, but was issued the stamps as a consumer. I was only six when the war ended, and somehow have hung onto the books as a conversation piece. Thought I would share them here to remind us of those tough times.

I feel that many of you readers will recall them. In our town the issuing agent was Mrs. Milton Bludworth. On another book I have is her signature and agent number.

I remember my dad telling me once that he had to ride the bus back and forth to his job at Booneville because he had some bad tires on his car. He had the money to buy the tires, but no stamps to get them.

Sure hope the country doesn't get in that predicament again.....


  1. Cars had stickers on the windshield -A, B, or C. A's could only get 4 gallons of gas a week, B's were essential to the war effort and could get 8 gallons a week. C's were taxi and emergency (doctors) or mail carriers and could get some more, I don't recall how much.

    There were also plastic ration coins that merchants gave you in change if you didn't buy the stamp amount. You could also spend them later.

    Bob B

  2. One of my first collections in the early fifties was those war ration coins/tokens, most with holes in the middle. I kept them in one of those flat Prince Albert Tobacco tins that would fit in the shirt pocket.
    My favorite place to find them was on drawer pulls and cabinet door knobs. Anyone remember when folks used empty thread spools as knobs? They would put a nail through the hole in a token then through the hole in the spool and drive it into the wood. The token helped keep the nail head from wearing through the soft wood of the spool over time.

  3. Those tokens were not plastic, I think they were cardboard. Red and blue was the only two colors. You could ride the Memphis trolleys with one or two.

  4. A list of what you could get and how much is at:


  5. You're right anon, those WW II tokens were probably hard cardboard (without holes).
    Evidently the tokens I had in my collection as a kid were mostly sales tax tokens. I remember some were light weight metal and others were plastic. Some had round holes but most had square holes. Wish I could locate them.

  6. Milton, I recall another tongue-in-cheek story of a Baldwyn family during the war that were lucky enough to have a ham bone with a lot of meat on it. They had used it for their cooking for quite a long time. A neighbor wanted to borrow it, so they let her use it for one meal and she cooked turnip greens and poke salad with it and dern near ruined it.

  7. Obviously got a lot of miles out of a good ham bone, with the favorite hound finishing it off.
    One lady told me she wouldn't ruin good well water with poke salad.

  8. Poke Salad is vastly overrated, made popular by Tom Jones, the singer.

  9. Jerry Clower said that his poor family ate so much poke salad one summer they had to tie coal oil soaked rags around their ankles to keep the cutworms from eating them.


  10. Poke Salad Annie was recorded by Tony Joe White.

  11. Great poem, Henry! However there were two artesian wells on the route to bluemars. One was on the Pratts road just before you turned left on the field road to Prather Bottoms. The other was right there At bluemars.

    I wish I could jump in 20-mile canal again!!!

  12. Loved your poem Henry. Having spent a few years of my young life on that Prather farm along the banks of Twenty Mile, and working fields adjacent to Blue Mars, you really bring back good memories. I still have some fossils from that bed of blue clay.
    Shoot, you probably ate some of our watermelons. We thought we had them hid amongst the high corn but you guys found them anyway. Not that we didn't have more than we could eat.
    I remember a sadness when visiting the artesian well years later and found it dried up. That was the best water I ever drank.

  13. I lived directly across the "Pratts Road" from the aforementioned artesian and it, in fact, supplied the water for mine and Mr Edgar Putts household. He and his wife lived just up the hill to the west of it. It had a pump on it, but it ran freely most of the time.

    Mr Putt was a sharecropper and farmed several plots of land in the Prather Bottom including that directly across that narrow, winding farm road from Blue Marr. Since my own father died when I was four months old, he was the closest thing to one I ever had. He was the hardest working man I have ever known and the things he taught me would fill a book.

    If memory serves, there were two large trees across that farm road from "the" artesian, and I believe Mr Putt told me they were Beechnut trees. They provided a shady escape from the suns heat during our lunch break or while we weighed and emptied our cotton sacks. But the thing I remember most about those trees were the vast number of initials that had been carved into their smooth bark. So many that new entries would have to be place higher and higher up the tree to find enough space to make your mark.

    I remember that someone built a fire too close to one of the trees and it was destroyed. It has been more than forty years since I was anywhere near Blue Marr so I'm sure the second one is long gone also. Great memories though.

    Phil C

  14. I lived on the Prather farm too. When the veterans returned from WWII, they had the money to buy up the houses. Someone bought the duplex we were renting across the street from the Methodist Church. Janet Gentry's family lived on one side. I don't know where her family moved, but my family moved in with my Ricks grandparents on the Prather farm. Our next house was an apartment in the big old Lollar house on the curve south of downtown.

  15. Memory tells me the Lollar house was huge but it must not have been that big.