Coupon Conquest

In Competition, Coupons, Crosse & Blackwell, Fropax frozen foods, Griffin’s, H. H. Brandon mail order, Kiwi Bacon Company, Linella Delight, Linnell & Co Ltd, Lushus Jelly, N W Stevens Ltd, NZ Big Swap, Rattray & Sons Ltd, Roma tea, Steelo, Sunshine, Sunshine Jelly, Taniwha laundry soap, Tiger Tea, Trinidad fruit juice, Tucker, Velvet laundry soap, Woppa Swappa on June 23, 2012 at 10.46

I previously wrote about “Big Swap” coupons here in September 2011. Finally I was able to purchase my own set a couple of weeks ago, after missing out numerous times over the past five years – and get a really good look at them. I didn’t realize that the Lushus Jelly coupon was missing from the set when I bought them until I was about to post – so I had to quickly recreate the artwork for it to match the rest of them.

North Island mail order catalogue from company H H Brandon, advertising the N Z Big Swap, 1954. Courtesy of the Turnbull Library collection, Reference Number: Eph-B-RETAIL-1954-01-16/17


There’s some products that have become classics in the time that has lapsed over the decades (such as Griffin’s biscuits) and also some I have never seen before . Trinidad Juice was a new one for me. It appears that it’s still going – a Trinidad and Tobago-based brand that was launched in 1930. I can’t find any information on Linella at all – perhaps it was their one and only product and disappeared off the market after a few years. Linnell & Co Ltd were a Hawera-based company and the product, containing butter and eggs – was essentially that Antipodean classic lemon cheese, except Linella came in Orange and Banana flavours as well as Lemon Delight. That’s all I know.

It’s possible the “Big Swap” competition was the promotional brainchild of mail order company H H Brandon, but not entirely – as squinting I can make out that the endeavour was sponsored by “The Auckland Public Relations Office” (office of what it doesn’t specify). Previously I stated that these were “Big Swap” coupons from 1954, but in fact when I take a closer look at these and compare them to what’s in the Alexander Turnbull manuscript and pictorial and collection – they may not be.

Some of mine are the same (Steelo, Sellotape, Lushus, Taniwha) as the “Big Swap” set, and some are different (Berger, Kiwi, Gilbey’s). So I am afraid that what I wrote previously may be incorrect – it seems upon closer examination the ones I have purchased may not be the same, they were possibly called “Woppa Swappa”, and were issued for a similar competition. Linnell states on the back of their advertising coupon, a competition for their company closing on the date January 14, 1955 – so that pretty much solves the mystery about any dates – they must have been issued later the same year as the “Big Swap” competition. It will be interesting to see if any other versions turn up. Still, it’s a nice little snapshot of some of the household products of the time.



Addendum early Sept 2012: After having an on-going “maybe I’m wrong again. No, actually, I think I AM right…no, maybe not, after all…” conversation with myself for some time, I actually discovered that my theorizing is in fact RIGHT. Since I wrote this article I have turned up at least two more competitions that issued some, or all, as well as additional coupons during  that decade. There was a  promotion in 1957 that was called “The Big Y Swopper” and was sponsored by the Optimists Club of the YMCA in Christchurch. Also, again in 1954 – was a competition named  “Jaycee Swap’em”, under the auspices of the  Wellington Junior Chamber of Commerce. I have never seen another example of these yet. The full sheet set of the latter, totalling 44 coupons, is in the Turnbull manuscript and pictorial collection in Wellington:

“Jaycee Swap’em” competition, by Wellington Junior Chamber of Commerce, 1954. Alexander Turnbull Library. Ref: Eph-D-RETAIL-1954-01


Addendum mid Jan 2014: A Dunedin collector and reader of this blog kindly sent these images to me as a contribution the article. These arrived some months ago and I haven’t had time for quite a while to do all the updates I need to get around to. This is a set of coupons from the “Swoppers” competition, published in Christchurch in 1957 (Possibly this is “The Big Y Swopper” mentioned earlier). This set again has some repeat designs of others, proving that all the competitions were somehow linked, but what exactly the common factor associating them was, apart for the obvious fundraising/charity aspect- I am not sure. However this set is more focussed on local business but does showcase a few household products.

The only exception is the Forestry Service “Keep New Zealand Green” coupon which is yet another missing one from my “Big Swap” set at the top of the article. I just placed it in the middle of the “Swoppers” set to keep things kind of tidy.  I wonder how many others there are that I don’t know about? And how many other competitions there were around the country during that period? Like the “Jaycee Swap’em” coupons, I’ve never seen another example of the “Swoppers.” Whereas, more regularly Big Swap” coupons come up for auction, and by “regularly” I actually mean about once a year or so (but rarely a full set).  All following images are courtesy of Owain Morris collection.

Swoppers coupons - Christchurch 1957  2 copy Swoppers coupons - Christchurch 1957  3 copy Swoppers coupons - Christchurch 1957 1 copy


Addendum mid June 2015: Evidence that people were actively swapping in an organised manner, to complete collections. This clipping from the Otago Dunedin Times, December 1 1973. Image courtesy of Owain Morris collection.

Whopper Swappers ODT Otago Dunedin Times December 1 1973



All content of Longwhitekid copyright Darian Zam © 2014. All rights reserved.

All content of Longwhitekid copyright Darian Zam © 2014. All rights reserved.

  1. I remember a similar promotion in the early sixties. I wish I had kept the coupons, but presumably they were all sent away. Talk about ephemera!

  2. Thanks for the comment, IV. There are a few different versions and they turn up occasionally. The only reason they have survived is that of course they never got sent away. The reason they were never sent away is because the set was never completed….so it has it’s pros and cons. I guess people probably forgot they had them and I imagine they probably turn up in deceased estates where they’ve been put in an envelope and tucked away, or popped in a tin and eventually forgotten about. Finding a full set of any would be extremely rare. As far as I know there was always a focus on fundraising for charity organisations and I remember when I was a kid there was a couple of these “Swappa” coupon competitions in the late 1970s-early 1980s. Of course those ones aren’t as visually appealing as the earlier ones and tended not to have any pictures. Cheers

    • Hi,
      In ‘This is what to do’ on the Jaycee Swap’em image it says you choose one coupon and collect as many of that type as possible, rather than collecting a full set.

  3. Hi, I recently bought a older house that was built in 1952. While remodeling, We pulled up the old countertops and I found a Post cereal Coupon from 1954. It’s in color, in pretty good condition. I guess it had fallen between the countertop and wall, and it had stayed there all these years. I was wondering if you might could tell me where and how to find out if it has any worth. I have it framed in a picture frame in my home now.

    • Hi Kylie. Post was made by the Postum Cereal Company and likely imported to New Zealand. I know that from the 1900s-1930s various products made an appearance on the market – Grape-Nuts, Bran Flakes and Toasties amongst them. Which one was your coupon for, or something different? I have no knowledge of the product in the marketplace in the 1940s-1960s but from what you’re telling me it was definitely around. I don’t know if they ever got much of a foothold here with all the home-grown competition like Sanitarium, Cereal Foods (NZ) Ltd, Fleming & Co and the plethora of smaller brands as well. Anyway I would love to see the coupon, it must be nice looking if you went to the trouble of getting it framed. What a great bit of ephemera history to go with your home! In the meantime you may want to try looking at Flickr collections like the online ones of JasonLiebig, mankatt (Pete Sorbi), Waffle Whiffer, and grickily (Dan Goodsell) who are some of the top U.S. collectors of that era of stuff (ones who make their stash public, anyway), and do a search through their photostreams, and I reckon you will find it or something similar. Thanks for reading!

  4. Hi,

    I was carrying out a search on my family name “Linnell” and this website popped up. I Believe I am a relative to the family “Linnell & Co”.

    • Yes, you would be related being from Taranaki also. The Linnells were based in Hawera, then New Plymouth. The full company name was E.H. Linnell and Co. Ernest Hawkes Linnell was born in Rugby, Warwickshire, England in 1888. Probably your great-grandfather, I’m guessing.

  5. Hi, I collected ‘swaps’ in the early 1950’s when I lived in Rothesay Bay, Auckland. Sets were delivered to each household by post and we spend much time going around to the houses who didn’t want them.The competition at school was quite fierce. I cannot recognise any that you have shown. I do remember PB Wools and Choysa Tea. Would be great to see a copy of this particular sheet.

  6. […] Coupon Conquest An advert for a swap club advert from a newspaper changes the way I’ve been looking at these fundraisers thus far. Many more versions of these swap sets have also turned up lately in the Hocken collection and at auction, yet some particular swaps from more common competition sets remain totally elusive to date. […]

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