Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Thank you, come again!

Note from Mel:  This week I'll be running some of my favorite posts from the past two years.  Consider it a "retrospective".  Maybe you'll discover some posts you never got to see the first time around!  :D

No, this isn't a post about Apu Nahasapeemapetilon (but seriously, no one says it better than he does!).  Today I'm talking about the lowly receipt.

Man, these can be annoying, can't they?  In fact, in some places, like fast food restaurants, they ask if you even want it at all.  I always say no.

But maybe I shouldn't!  I'm always shocked when I come across an old store receipt that wasn't thrown out.  Here's a Kohl's receipt from 1984 - my friend Lea found it at her grandma's house and thought of me (is that awesome, or what?). 

I have found old store receipts used as bookmarks, stuck to the backs of things, sandwiched between two items in the house and other odd places you wouldn't normally find tiny pieces of paper. These poor little guys are so forgotten and so mistreated!

Which is why I love collecting them!  It's hard to find them on their own for sale, because really - why would anyone want to buy a receipt unless it's incredibly old or from someone famous?  I count finding a receipt in a pile of ephemera a major score (Manto Fev and Paper Flea Market have both served me well in this arena!).

Every now and then, however, one comes across a find that is so amazing and so unusual, you can scarcely believe it exists.  And here it is.

I nearly plotzed when I saw this little book staring back at me.  It started innocently enough - I typed the words "vintage" and "receipt" in the search box on Etsy.  Lo and behold, this item popped up. I felt like the ephemera gods had placed it there for me and me alone.  I couldn't believe my good fortune and when I saw the price I purchased it on the spot.  It came in the mail last Friday and I've been geeking out about it ever since!

Isn't it AMAZING???  I love everything about it - that it's 75 years old; it's intact; it's foreign; they're receipts; and it's a little book to boot.  I'm going to bet that it's one of the most comprehensive unused receipt collections that exists outside of a museum (there are about 40 full pages of receipts!).  The poor sellers must think I'm insane because I left a rather crazed feedback comment for them (but in their feedback for me, they called me a "lovely customer", so I guess we're good).  :D  To give you a little history about it, let me quote from the placard that's still in the inside front pocket:

Receipts from now-defunct
(or different) department stores
 Through the co-operation of the Domestic Sales Department at Dayton and the Overseas Sales Department at London, England, this pocket-wallet is sent to you as a souvenir of the International Sales Contest, May-June, 1936.  NCR men from all over the world have contributed to the making of this wallet.  In it, you will find sample receipts of some of our most prominent users in the principal countries of the globe.  We trust you will find it interesting and useful in your selling (note from Mel: this is from NCR, or National Cash Register.  Interesting indeed!!!).  The material was assembled and the wallet prepared by the headquarters' staff of our Overseas Sales Department at London. - London, England, May-June, 1936

I don't know if I can use them just yet; these may have to stay in my "we'll see" collection.  But I have used receipts all the time in my artwork!  They are sooo versatile!


  1. thank you.

    I needed an inspiration, and I think receipts may be it!

  2. don't you love it when something that was truly meant for you just falls into your lap!

  3. Omgosh...I would have popped a blood vessel getting this! What a treasure!
    I loathe *new* receipts, basically because they do not retain their printing and are all alike, but love-love-love old ones.
    You have hit the paper-hoarders jackpot!!!


  4. Very cool -- you really scored. And I have an old receipt I'd like to send to you.

  5. Sorry I'm responding to all of you so very late (I don't know HOW I could've missed all of these comments the first time around!), but thank you all! I'm still in shock, 15 months later, that this little booklet is in my possession. I'm a lucky lady. :D