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Choose from this dazzling array of clunky prizes, Christmas-card-selling child of the 1940s

July 31, 2013


What dates this 1942 listing of prizes more? A Yale football set being something desirable? A flashlight from back in the days when design hadn’t quite escaped the device’s lantern antecedents? A live canary available through mail order? (Live canary or live monkey — YOU DECIDE. Also, fyi, you could get live canaries from selling seeds — live canaries of the exact same graphic design.) Gene Autry? Guns, guns, guns?

I often wonder what the profit margins were for the old Christmas card scams, where ads like the one above recruited a young selling force with nothing more than promises of prizes upon the completion of sales. Are there warehouses out there full of unclaimed, once-live canary corpses?

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