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The Automotive Chronicles

Monthly newsletter published by McLellan's Automotive History. Dedicated to literature collectors, restorers, museums, publishers, manufacturers and investors who collect and preserve automotive literature
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October 2003 Issue
 
ARTICLE
 
Dealer Stamps — Treasure or Trash?
By Sharon McLellan
 

"Do you have a sales brochure that doesn't have a dealer stamp on it?" is probably one of the most frequent questions that we get. Some collectors simply refuse to buy any brochure that has a dealer stamp.

For those of you who are new to collecting brochures, dealer stamps are rubber stamps that salesmen in dealerships use to identify a brochure as having come from their dealership (so that you'll come back and buy your new car from them).

Some dealer stamps, in fact, actually increase the value of the brochure. For example, The J. S. Inskip, Inc., dealership in New York was the most famous showcase for Rolls-Royce automobiles in the U. S. and Fergus Motors, Inc., in New York was a well known importer of exotic cars. Brochures with stamps by these companies are highly sought after by collectors.

While we can understand someone not wanting a "messy" stamp (ink does tend to smear if not nearly applied), a well done dealer stamp can be very much a part of the history of the brochure. From a personal standpoint, we prefer dealer stamps on the brochures that we collect for our personal collection. They are a form of authentication which validate that the brochure is an original and they impart a mental image of the area in which the brochure was being used to promote the cars (i.e. California, Boston, Germany).

This was vividly illustrated last month when we received the following information from a customer and received permission to use it in this article:

 

"I must tell you an interesting "bonus" I got in your literature. I recently ordered '65 Ford Fairlane and '48 Plymouth literature. As far as the '48 Plymouth goes, I am interested because I still have my grandfather's '48 Plymouth Special Deluxe.

"I might have mentioned in a previous email that it brought my mother to the hospital when she was giving birth to me. While I live in Connecticut, my grandparents lived on North Main Street in Randolph, Massachusetts. As a matter of fact, my grandfather sold the land to the dealership he bought the car from (Hawkin's Brothers).

"I was shocked to see a dealer's stamp on the back of the Plymouth literature from a dealership called "Cahill" from North Main Street in Brockton, Massachusetts. Brockton is next-door to Randolph, and North Main street is the EXACT same street. That was probably only 5 miles or so from where my grandparent's lived and purchased their car!

"With all the dealers in the U.S., what do you think are the odds of that happening?! Here I sit 55 years later and this piece of literature arrives in the mail. Amazing.

Charlie"

 

The customer is Charles Hurst and here is a photograph of the 1948 Plymouth Special Deluxe (still being driven occasionally) that he shared with us:

Charlie goes on to say in a subsequent e-mail that, "The thing sticking out of the trunk is a Christmas tree. It was an unusually warm winter a few years back and the roads had not been salted yet, so we used the '48 when we got our tree. And the little boy you see in the car is my younger son (great-grandson of the original owner)."

This is just about as nostalgic as you can get! And the dealer stamp is a real "treasure" for Charlie.

 
 

 

The Automotive Chronicles, October 2003
 
 
 
 
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