Many vintage collectors are familiar with the 1949 Eureka Sportstamps issue of 1949. The set featured 200 color photo stamps, about 1-1/2" x 2" picturing 198 National League players along with Commissioner Happy Chandler and N.L. President Ford Frick. An album to house the stamps was also issued.
In the package of material sent for cataloging purposes by Maryland collector Al Moore, we found a scarce collectible that shows how these stamps were used as a promotion by a chain of Philadelphia gas stations.
Fifteen of the stamps were found folded up in a 3" x 5" red-printed, white paper envelope indicating they were distributed with a purchase at one of the nearly two dozen Calso (Standard Oil of California) gas stations operated by Kirschner Brothers.
There's nothing on the envelope that specifies the number of stamps it contained, so it's unknown whether the 10 New York Giants and five Boston Braves stamps in Al's envelope represent the usual contents. A penciled "10" on the back flap of the envelope raises speculation that the original complement of give-away stamps might have been 10. That would have allowed the set of 200 stamps to be evenly distributed within 20 envelopes.
The front of the envelope indicates that the Sportstamp album could be purchased at the gas station.
We'd never previous heard of the Eureka stamps being used by a third party for promotional purposes, but it represents just one of the many baseball card/collectible giveaways that were used as traffic builders by gas stations all over the country from the 1940s through the 1970s.
Now, the big question . . . why was there no corresponding American League Sportstamps issue?