Charge Cards


DEPARTMENT STORE CHARGE CARDS

The owner of one of the country's largest collections of vintage department store charge cards has generously shared images of them with the Department Store Museum. The cards are arranged by state, and more will be added in time.

If you were a customer of one of these stores, this is the item that you personally carried in your wallet or purse, identifying you as their customer.  Possessing a certain credit card was also a status symbol of the time as well.

Most of these cards did not have a magnetic strip across the back; mechanical embossers of several different types were used to imprint the raised information on the plastic card onto a duplicate sales slip.

The Department Store Museum is indebted to Scott Nimmo for making this colorful, beautiful, and nostalgic exhibit possible! James and Richard Hyde are also major contributors who are deserving of thanks for their generosity of spirit in sharing these unique items.

Before the Charge Card, there was the Charge Coin, an example of which has been most kindly donated by Dorothy Wahl:


Abraham & Straus
Brooklyn, New York, New York
Later, stores issued Charga-Plates, often in a leather pouch.  THe store notched the metal edge of the plate to indicate validity for a particular month. The rough edges of the notch were known to rip fabric and run nylons! (from the collection of Scott Nimmo)
The Lasalle & Koch Co.
Toledo, Ohio
By the 1960s, plastic charge cards were the norm in the largest stores.

ALABAMA
Loveman's
Birmingham, Alabama

(Contributed by James)

Pizitz
Birmingham, Alabama

(Contributed by Scott Nimmo)
Gayfers (1970s-1980s)
Mobile Alabama

(Contributed by Richard Hyde)


ALASKA
Northern Commercial
Anchorage

(Contributed by Scott Nimmo)

ARIZONA

Diamond's
Phoenix, Arizona
(Contributed by Scott Nimmo)
Goldwater's
Phoeniz, Arizona

(Contributed by Scott Nimmo)

CALIFORNIA

Buffums
Long Beach, California
(Contributed by Scott Nimmo)
Buffums (1970s)
Long Beach, California
(Contributed by Scott Nimmo)

The Broadway
Los Angeles, California
(Contributed by Scott Nimmo)
The Broadway
Los Angeles, California
(Contributed by James)

Bullock's
Los Angeles, California

Bullock's
Los Angeles, California
(Contributed by Scott Nimmo)

Bullock's
Los Angeles, California
(Contributed by James)
Bullocks Wilshire
Los Angeles, California
(Contributed by James)


May Co.
Los Angeles, California
(Contributed by Richard Hyde)
Robinson's
Los Angeles, California
(Contributed by James)

Robinson's
Los Angeles, California
(Contributed by James)

Capwell's
Oakland, California
(Contributed by Scott Nimmo)
Harris'
San Bernardino, California
(Contributed by James)

Harris' (1970s-1980s)
San Bernardino, California

(Contributed by Richard Hyde)
City of Paris
San Francisco, California

(Contributed by James)

The Emporium
San Francisco, California
(Contributed by Scott Nimmo)
Macys
San Francisco, California

(Contributed by Scott Nimmo)
I. Magnin
San Francisco, California

(Contributed by Scott Nimmo)
I. Magnin (1970s-1980s)
San Francisco, California
(Contributed by Richard Hyde)

COLORADO
The Denver
Denver, Colorado
(Contributed by Scott Nimmo)


The Denver
Denver, Colorado
(Contributed by James)
May - D&F
Denver, Colorado
(Contributed by James)


CONNECTICUT

Read's
Bridgeport, Connecticut
(Contributed by James)

Read's
Bridgeport, Connecticut
(Contributed by Scott Nimmo)
G. Fox & Co.
Hartford, Connecticut
(Contributed by James)

 DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
Garfinckel's
Washington, DC
(Contributed by Scott Nimmo)

The Hecht Co.
Washington, DC
(Contributed by James)

Washington Shopping Plate
Washington, D.C.

(Contributed by Scott Nimmo)
FLORIDA
Furchgott's
Jacksonville, Florida
(Contributed by Scott Nimmo)
Richards
Miami, Florida

(Contributed by Scott Nimmo)
Jordan Marsh
Miami, Florida
(Contributed by Scott Nimmo)

Jordan Marsh
Miami, Florida
(Contributed by James)



Maas Brothers
Tampa, Florida
(Contributed by Scott Nimmo)


Maas Brothers
Tampa, Florida
(Contributed by James)

GEORGIA

Davison's
Atlanta, Georgia

(Contributed by Scott Nimmo)
Davison's
Atlanta, Georgia
(Contributed by James)

Davison's
Atlanta, Georgia
(Contributed by James)
Rich's
Atlanta, Georgia
(Contributed by James)


Rich's
Atlanta, Georgia
(Contributed by James)

ILLINOIS
Carson Pirie Scott & Co.
Chicago, Illinois
(Contributed by James)

Carson Pirie Scott & Co.
Chicago, Illinois
(Contributed by James)

Marshall Field & Company
Chicago, Illinois

(Contributed by Scott Nimmo)


Wieboldt's
Chicago, Illinois
(Contributed by James)
INDIANA


Ayres
Indianapolis, Indiana
(Contributed by James)


Ayres
Indianapolis, Indiana
(Contributed by James)
Block's
Indianapolis, Indiana
(Contributed by James)


KENTUCKY


Bacon's
Louisville, Kentucky

(Contributed by Scott Nimmo)
Stewart's
Louisville, Kentucky
(Contributed by James)


LOUISIANA
D. H. Holmes
New Orleans, Loiusiana

(Contributed by James)

MAINE
Porteous
Portland, Maine

MARYLAND
Stewart & Co.
Baltimore, Maryland
MASSACHUSETTS
Jordan Marsh
Boston, Massachusetts

(Contributed by Scott Nimmo)
Jordan Marsh
Boston, Massachusetts

(Contributed by James)

Jordan Marsh
Boston, Massachusetts

(Contributed by James)
R.H. Stearns
Boston, Massachusetts

(Contributed by James)

Steiger's
Springfield, Massachusetts
(Contributed by James)


MICHIGAN
Hudson's
Detroit, Michigan
(Contributed by Scott Nimmo)

Hudson's
Detroit, Michigan
(Contributed by James)

Hudson's
Detroit, Michigan
(Contributed by James)

Herpolsheimer's
Grand Rapids, Michigan

(Contributed by Scott Nimmo)
Steketee's
Grand Rapids, Michigan

(Contributed by Scott Nimmo)
 
Jacobson's
Jackson, Michigan

(Contributed by Bill Garbe)

MINNESOTA
Dayton's
Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota
(Contributed by Scott Nimmo)
Donaldsons
Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota
(Contributed by James)

Donaldsons
Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota
(Contributed by Scott Nimmo)
Powers
Minneapolis, Minnesota

(Contributed by Scott Nimmo)

Powers
Minneapolis, Minnesota

(Contributed by James)

Herberger's
St. Cloud, Minnesota

(Contributed by Scott Nimmo)

MISSOURI
The Jones Store Co.
Kansas City, Missouri

(Contributed by Scott Nimmo)

Charga-Plate
St. Louis, Missouri

(Contributed by Kevin Nickel)

Famous-Barr
St. Louis, Missouri

(Contributed by Kevin Nickel)
Famous-Barr
St. Louis, Missouri

(Contributed by Kevin Nickel)
Stix, Baer & Fuller
St. Louis, Misouri
(Contributed by James)


NEBRASKA
Brandeis
Omaha, Nebraska
v
Kilpatick's
Omaha, Nebraska

(Contributed by Scott Nimmo)
NEW JERSEY


Hahne & Co.
Newark, New Jersey
(Contributed by James)

Hahne & Co.
Newark, New Jersey
(Contributed by James)

Bamberger's
Newark, New Jersey
(Contributed by Scott Nimmo)

Bamberger's
Newark, New Jersey
(Contributed by James)
NEW YORK
AM&A's
Buffalo, New York
(Contributed by Scott Nimmo)

B. Altman & Co.
New York City, New York
(Contributed by James)

Abraham & Straus
Brooklyn, New York City, New York
(Contributed by James)

Abraham & Straus
Brooklyn, New York City, New York
(Contributed by James)

Bergdorf Goodman
New York City, New York

(Contributed by Scott Nimmo)

Bonwit Teller
New York City, New York
(Contributed by Scott Nimmo)

Bonwit Teller
New York City, New York
(Contributed by Scott Nimmo)

Gimbels
New York City, New York
(Contributed by James)

Lord & Taylor
New York City, New York

(Contributed by Scott Nimmo)
Macy's
New York City, New York
(Contributed by James)

Saks Fifth Avenue
New York City, New York
(also submitted by Thomas Defeo)

Saks Fifth Avenue (1970s-1980s)
New York City, New York
(Contributed by Richard Hyde)
Stern Brothers
New York City, New York
(Contributed by James)

Dey Brothers
Syracuse, New York
(Contributed by Scott Nimmo)

NORTH CAROLINA

Belk Brothers
Charlotte, North Carolina
(Contributed by James)

Ivey's
Charlotte, North Carolina
(Contributed by James)

OHIO


Polsky's
Akron, Ohio
(Contributed by Scott Nimmo)
Pogue's
Cincinnati, Ohio

(Contributed by Scott Nimmo)

Pogue's
Cincinnati, Ohio

(Contributed by James)


Shillito's
Cincinnati, Ohio
(Contributed by James)


Shillito's
Cincinnati, Ohio
(Contributed by James)
Halle's
Cleveland, Ohio
(Contributed by James)


Halle's
Cleveland, Ohio
(Contributed by James)
Higbee's
Cleveland, Ohio
(Contributed by James)

Lazarus
Columbus, Ohio

(Contributed by Scott Nimmo)
The Union
Columbus, Ohio
(Contributed by James)
Rike's
Dayton, Ohio
(Contributed by James)

Lamson's
Toledo, Ohio
(Contributed by Scott Nimmo)

Lasalle's
Toledo, Ohio
(Contributed by James)
Lion Store
Toledo, Ohio
(Contributed by Scott Nimmo)

Strouss
Youngstown, Ohio
(Contributed by James)
OKLAHOMA
John A. Brown
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

(Contributed by Scott Nimmo)
PENNSYLVANIA


Hess Brothers
Allentown, Pennsylvania
(Contributed by James)

Gimbels
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
(Contributed by James)


Gimbels
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
(Contributed by James)

Lit Brothers
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

(Contributed by Scott Nimmo)
John Wanamaker
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

(Contributed by Scott Nimmo)
Strawbridge & Clotier
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
(Contributed by James)

Gimbel Brothers
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
(Contributed by Scott Nimmo)
Joseph Horne Co.
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

(Contributed by Scott Nimmo)
Joseph Horne Co.
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

(Contributed by James)

Pomeroy's
Reading/Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
(Contributed by Scott Nimmo)
Pomeroy's
Reading/Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
(Contributed by James)
RHODE ISLAND
The Outlet Co.
Providence, Rhode Island

(Contributed by Scott Nimmo)
TENNESSEE


Loveman's
Chattanooga, Tennessee

(Contributed by James)


Lowenstein's
Memphis, Tennessee

(Contributed by Scott Nimmo)
Cain-Sloan
Nashville, Tennessee
(Contributed by James)

Cain-Sloan
Nashville, Tennessee
(Contributed by Scott Nimmo)
Castner-Knott Co.
Nashville, Tennessee
(Contributed by Scott Nimmo)
Castner Knott Co. (1970s-1980s)
Nashville, Tennessee

(Contributed by Richard Hyde)

TEXAS
Neiman-Marcus
Dallas, Texas

(Contributed by Scott Nimmo)
Neiman-Marcus
Dallas, Texas
(Contributed by Richard Hyde)
Sanger-Harris
Dallas, Texas

(Contributed by Scott Nimmo)

Sakowitz (1970s-1980s)
Houston, Texas

(Contributed by Richard Hyde)

Titche-Goettinger
Dallas, Texas
(Contributed by Scott Nimmo)
Foley's (1980s)
Houston, Texas

(Contributed by Richard Hyde)
Foley's (1990s)
Houston, Texas

(Contributed by Richard Hyde)
Sakowitz
Houston, Texas
(Contributed by James)
Hemphill-Wells
Lubbock, Texas

(Contributed by Scott Nimmo)

Frost Bros.
(purchased Lichtenstein's of Corpus Christi)
San Antonio, Texas
(Contributed by James)
Joske's
San Antonio, Texas
(Contributed by Scott Nimmo)

Joske's
San Antonio, Texas
(Contributed by James)
WASHINGTON
The Bon Marche
Seattle/Spokane, Washington
(Contributed by Scott Nimmo)
Frederick & Nelson
Seattle, Washington
(Contributed by Scott Nimmo)

Frederick & Nelson
Seattle, Washington
(Contributed by James)

The Crescent
Spokane, Washington
(Contributed by Scott Nimmo)

VIRGINIA
Miller & Rhoads
Richmond, Virginia

(Contributed by James)

Thalhimers
Richmond, Virginia
(Contributed by James)
WEST VIRGINIA
The Diamond
Charleston, West Virginia
(Contributed by Scott Nimmo)
Stone & Thomas
Wheeling/Charleston, West Virginia
(Contributed by James)
WISCONSIN
Gimbels
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

(Contributed by Scott Nimmo)
Prange's
Sheboygan, Wisconsin
(Contributed by James)


CANADA
Eaton's
Toronto, Ontario

(Contributed by Scott Nimmo)



Simpsons
Toronto, Ontario

(Contributed by Scott Nimmo)














74 comments:

  1. Awesome collection Scott. You have been collecting for a long time and it has totally paid off. Linda Hughes

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  2. I still have my charge card from 1966 with my maiden name on it.

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  3. These are fabulous-and they're all that smaller size they used to use!

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  4. THIS IS GREAT! Notice all the cards (except one) were "charge plates" s they were called. Actually, prior to Garfinkels own card, as well as all the DC stores; they had what was named "The Washington Shopping Plate". Once you got an account at one store (be it Garf's, Woodies, Hecht's, Raleigh's or Landsburgh's) the same account number would be used for the other stores, should you decide to open an account with them. So you had the same account number for each store and one card. BTW, the card was ugly...light blue with a dark blue dome of the Capitol and all 5 stores listed.

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    Replies
    1. I have the "Washington Shopping Plate" in my collection. I will be sure to include it the next time I send some scans of additional cards for the exhibit. Thanks for your comment. Scott

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    2. OMG...that is a relic! Thanks so much

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    3. Kann's and Jelleff's also participated in the Washington Shopping Plate.

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    4. Thanks, I forgot about them

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  5. Wonderful time for charge cards in department stores. The salespeople would say your name, and actually thank you. I had several Allied cards,
    but all of them said, " (-) A UNIT OF ALLIED STORES " , no corporation or symbol at the end. I didn't understand why Garfinckels said ALLIED on the back of the card. Also, Ann Taylor & Brooks Brothers said it no where on the card.

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  6. I still have my brown/beige Bullocks/Bullocks Wilshire card, along with the I.Magnin card that was beige and brown when Federated owned both companies. The original Bonwit plate (as shape shown above) was actually purple with the pink bouquet. There was NO DOUBT they were going after the female customer just based on the card. Allied was the only one that stuck their name on all charge plates, no other retail corporation did that until May Company in the mid/late 80s. Garfinkels did say Allied on the back until they became independent (and eventually went out of business). They used the same card to the end. BAK, if yo wish, I have an old SFA card with the old logo, prior to 1976, it is a brown and beige (seems too be a theme with most retailers of the mid 70s) I could try and send you if you are interested. It is the free flowing script and not the "nicer script" with name and address on plate.

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  7. Thanks for this and all of your pertinent comments. I would love to publish the Saks Fifth Avenue card. If you can scan it (at a fairly high resolution) you can send it to bakgraphics@comcat.net.

    I am delighted that you enjoy my effort so much.

    Bruce

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  8. In the late 70's Allied Stores purchased the 'group' that included Brooks Brothers, Anne Taylor, Catherine's Stout Shoppes, Grafinkels, and Bonwit Tellers. I know this because I was a corporate buyer for Allied Stores from 1980-1985. In 1985 Robert Campeau purchased Allied Stores with the use of leveraged junk bonds (the first major use of this financial instrument on a large scale) just to get the real estate that Allied Stores owned. He proceded to sell off the department stores -- Joskes in Texas, Levys in North Carolina(?), Pomeroy's in Pennsylvania, stores in Indianapolis and the deep south which I cannot remember the names of. It was a sad time for many of us in the retail industry -- Campeau singlehandedly put over 10,000 people out of work in 2 or 3 short years...
    I have some credit cards at home and will scan them and send them to you....

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    Replies
    1. I have never seen a Catherine's card. What about Jerry Leonards
      or Plymouth shops, weren't those part of the "group" too?

      I remember all my Allied bills came from a place in Auburdale,MA....

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  9. Thank for your input . . . it was indeed a ad time and remains sofor those of us with memories of these fine stores.

    Bruce

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  10. It should be noted, that the time of the "charge plates" (all but Garfinkels)as they were called; Charge cards were considered to be Bank of Americard, Master Charge, American Express and Diners Club; most (not all, but most) store accounts were a 30 day cycle. Meaning, you had to pay your balance in FULL within 30 days, no revolving credit.

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  11. The Lord & Taylor green card was superior to the Lord & Taylor red rose card... simply because it identified a long time customer. Of course it was a charge plate....I am not sure credit cards were accepted back then

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  12. Nice collection. I love how the charge plates had distinct style back then. I still have my rare Filene's Boston Gold Card.

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  13. Surprised the older "script" version of Bloomingdale's logo isn't represented here by a charge card!

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  14. I am glad to see that several of you have enjoyed seeing these cards from my collection. I am attempting to assemble a collection from as many different stores of the past as possible. I am still looking for cards from stores like Wurzburg's, Knapp's, Harzfeld's, Auerbachs, Black's, Marston's, Kann's, Lamson's and Manchester's. If anybody knows where I can find any of these please let me know.

    Thanks
    Scott

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  15. People were still using Washington Shopping Plates when I worked for Hecht's in Annapolis in the mid-90's. There weren't many of them, and by that time Woodies and Hecht's were the only two left, but I have seen them. Now both of thme are gone too.

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  16. There was also a Baltimore Shopping Plate that was good at several department stores. Mine lists Hutzler's, Hochschild and Kohn, Hecht's. The stores are numbered but several are missing, probably for stores that had closed when the card was issued.

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  17. I remember when my Mom Mom had a Bambergers' credit card....and when I used to work at Kohl's old ladies would say Charge Plate instead of Credit Card. I think I have a The Bon Ton card somewhere....was there one for Korvettes? I know my grandma had one for Two Guys and Grants. That is how I got most of my infant clothing...born in 1978...my father's rich aunt's got me stuff from Bloomies and Bergdorf Goodman...and Bon wit Teller.

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  18. I remember the charge a plate. They were metal almost like army neck tags, they had to be tough because they were put in a machine and a inked roller would roll across the card to imprint the information on the sales receipt that went into clerk's sales book. And if one paid cash the sales slip along with the money given was stuck in a vacum tube and sent to the basement where the proper change would be put into the cylinder and in a few minutes it would come back up.

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  19. Bonwit Teller had a different card that they issued to men. It had no flowers on it, it said something like the 721 Club, I may not have the numbers quite right, but it was something like that.

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  20. In my previous post about the 721 Club Card for men issued by Bonwit Teller ( or whatever it was called) I believe with that card the man had available to him the use of a personal shopper.

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  21. I have a Sanger's charge plate. It is blue metal much like a dog tag with embossed letters. It is in a gold, velvet lined case with key ring attached. It must be very very old. It belonged to my great grandmother. Any idea what it might be worth to a collector today?
    Kat

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  22. Kat- It would be nice if you could upload a photo of it to this site, so that we could all see what a pre credit card charge a plate looked like, I remember they were very plain. Those were used almost sixty years ago. Now I am dating myself.

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  23. BAK - in the early sixties, five or six stores in Long Beach, California had one card that could be utilized at those stores. Believe the stores were Buffums' (don't know why they put the possessive apostrophe behind the "s" - and I knew Harry Buffum! Go figure.), Desmond's, Walker's (Walker-Scott) and perhaps one other store which I cannot remember. Wish I still had the card, but, alas, I tossed it years ago - along with many others.

    In 1950, I worked as a cosmetics stock boy at the Walker-Scott store in San Diego. The cosmetic ladies, in all modesty, loved me. I had a ton of fun. Mr. Walker (believe he was adopted) would be on the floor almost every morning giving all the "associates" a pep talk. Fun days and fun memories. Shortly after that, I went in the military......that was fun, too.

    I also worked for Foreman and Clark in San Diego after my military service. In San Diego, I worked for Jacobson's Clothiers (alas, no relation to the Jacobson's on your site), Bill Soloff's and the 101 Locker Club.....selling sailors custom made "blues". Fun days.

    Then I got married.

    Thanks for the memories.....this site brings back a lot of them.

    Bob King majskyking @ gmail dot com

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  24. Well, Bob, all I can say is, "Thanks for the memories!"

    I, and my wife, really enjoyed reading about your history. My dad was supposed to sail from Long Beach on the USS Indianapolis toward the end of the War. He developed acute appendicitis and never sailed, but spent time in a hospital in Long Beach before returning home after the war. Had he not gotten ill, he may not have returned, and I may not have ever been born.

    So I owe something to Long Beach, too!

    Bruce

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  25. I still have my old Strawbridge & Clothier charge card, final design before they switched to the "May Department Stores" designed card.

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  26. I have a brass oval J.L. Hudson charge coin.
    Can I send you a picture for your collection?
    ThomKay@aol.com

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  27. Thomas:

    Please do. You may send it to bakgraphics@comcast.net. I will include it as soon as I am able. Things are a bit backed up now, but I will get it on in due course.

    Thanks for your generous offer!

    Bruce

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  28. Re the comment that in the 1960's charge plates were issued that looked like dog tags. I worked in Bloomingdales, Hackensack, NJ (one of their early suburban branches) at that time when such plates were in use. That was before account numbers - when the bills were sent out by name only. I recall that there was a notch somewhere on the border of the plate that lined up with a nub on the Addressograph machine that you used to emboss the plate on the sales ticket. The placement of the notch was unique to each store. But, if you had for example a Sterns plate and wanted to open a Bdales charge, the credit department would put a second notch in your plate to line up with the Bloomingdales machines.

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  29. The "721 Club" referred to in connection with Bonwit plates issued to men was from their address: 721 Fifth Avenue. They had a very small mens department, on the 57th Street side of the store. The Fifth Avenue building was leveled (a beautiful deco building). The 57th street wing became a branch of either Printemps or Galleries Lafayette (Paris stores) for a short time and then a Nike store.

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  30. Goodness I wish I had saved some of my charge plates from back in the day, I am 85. We always tried to look our best on a budget, and often times, a revolving credit account at a swanky clothier meant the difference between looking festive and stylish on Christmas Eve and Easter Suday or repeating an outfit from last year.

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  31. I have, from one of my relatives, a small leather holder with a ' charga-plate stores of san francisco' metal card. It includes the following: Chas. Brown & Sons; H.C. Capwell Co.; The Emporium; Hale Bros.; O'Connor, Moffatt & Co. Sommer & Kaufmann Sterling Furniture Co. Where might I find information on this type card please? Thank you.

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  32. For over 25 years I have had in my possession a metal ring with nine metal charge plates on it.
    Jordan Marsh Co.,Filene's Boston,R. H. Whites, Conrads,Gilchrist,Horace Partridge 49 Franklin St. Boston and others. The numbers are all different on the charges. One has a beautiful symbol of a women with her hair up. No words just an account number is on it. (However the same beautiful symbol is carved over the doorway of an old building in downtown Boston. Can anyone tell me what years these were used and what these are worth? Thank you for your time

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  33. To anonymous above, what you have is a collection of "charge coins". The one with the woman with her hair up was from C.Crawford Hollidge. These coins were commonly used from the early 1900's (possibly very late 1800's) up until approx. the 1940's. However, I think Abraham and Straus used them up until the 1960's. These do show up on ebay fairly often and can go for an average of $10-$30 but sometimes more. Scott

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  34. I have a Charge-A-Plate, issued by a local bank in Dallas, TX. I had notches for Neiman Marcus, Sanger Brothers, Titche-Goettinger, Jas K Wilson and A. Harris. Sanger Brothers merged with A. Harris to become Sanger-Harris. They were bought out by Macy's. Tiche's became Dillard's. Each store sent out monthly statements, payable in full each month.

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  35. WOW! This has expanded greatly since last I viewed it! Well done

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  36. Yes the art-deco Bonwit Teller store on 5th Avenue was SO BEAUTIFUL --I have seen pictures -- Trump leveled the store for the trump tower and then Bonwit's was incorporated into the trump tower -- After Bonwit's closed (involved in the campeau disaster and closed by Hooker corporation) The location became a NYC branch of Gallaries Lafayette for a few years before that closed and it turned into a NIKE store. This Collection is GREAT. I have a collection of my own -- I may try to see if some odd examples I have will scan well and when I have time may forward them if they do ----THANK YOU very Much for this and for this site!!!

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  37. I have my parents Rich's charge plate issued from Atlanta Ga. They are both still in their original leather case.

    This was when Rich's first started a line of credit for their customers!

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  38. Your blog is amazing! Will you be adding images and info for Barney's anytime soon?
    Keep up the good work!!

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  39. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  40. The charge coin, as mentioned above from JL Hudson, was the forerunner to the charge plate and are extremely hard to find. I'd love to see a collection of them presented here as well.

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  41. There was also a Baltimore shopping plate similar to the Washington shopping plate. I always wondered why competitors like Hecht's and Woodies would collaborate like that and how it was sorted out logistically, but I guess they made some money doing it.

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  42. All designs are simple yet elegant, shades are supporting them and making them prominent than others...

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  43. We need to find you some vintage Nordstrom cards. I think my parents have theirs tucked away somewhere from the late 60's/early 70's. I'll see what I can find!

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  44. I would like some information on A Bloomingdales credit Card it belonged to my grandmother and I believe it's from the fifties. The vinyl case has "Bloomingdales" embossed on the front and on the back a Script Capital"B" The "CHARGA-PLATE(circled R )CREDIT TOKEN" on the top rim on front and the bottom rim "A -ARRINGTON PRODUCT" in the middle is a paper with Bloomingdale's printed and a small NEW YORK under Dale's then a line for her to sign her name under that it says "please sign name here in ink" on the back side it simulates a service dog tag with Acct. # next line Name then next line address and the final line LONG ISLAND CITY L I 1. I would just like any info that could date this for me and a staus qoue it may have . thank you so much . I can reached VIA e-mail "pataquilino@gmail.com"

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  45. that is hysterical. (and very nostalgic) worked at bamberger's in the lehigh valley mall. and i thought my sanitary napkin collection was weird.

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  46. What a wonderful site! I have an oval shaped metal "charge coin" from Abraham & Straus in Brooklyn that belonged to my mother. I would like to donate the "charge coin" to your museum. Please let me know where I can mail the "charge coin."

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  47. I have many old department store cards I am happy to donate to your museum if you can advise how.

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  48. Hello

    Thank you for the kind offer. I would be delighted to be able to display them. If you can scan them at high resolution (300 dpi)you may email them to bakgraphics@comcast.net. If you want to mail them, please send me an email to the above address, and I will provide you with a mailing address. I can publish them so that all can enjoy seeing them.

    Thank you for your generous offer.

    Bruce

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  49. The Bullock's card with the brown script logo and light yellow background is from the Northern California offshoot division.

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  50. I love how some of the cards were issued in a man's name but the signature on them is a female's.

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  51. Bruce,

    I have an old Jones & Jones Credit card from McAllen, Texas which I feel must be up with some of these department stores displayed already. Jones & Jones was rather upscale and very comparable to Neiman Marcus and was in existence from 1926 to 1996 when it closed its doors. Foley's then bought out its space, but the years it furnished the Rio Grande Valley with premier goods not found south of Houston or Dallas are what made it memorable, as well as the service. Please let me know if you are interested.

    Xavier O. Sanchez

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  52. Hello, Xavier!

    Thank you - If you can scan it and send to me at bakgraphics@comcast.net, I will put it up for everyone to see, when I get to an update.

    I had never heard of Jones & Jones, so you have educated me a little.

    Bruce

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  53. I have a ZCMI charge Card if you would like to add that to the collection

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  54. Thank you, Greg! I will be happy to add it (when time permits) if you scan it and send it to bakgraphics@comcast.net. Make sure it is of decent (300 dpi) resolution. As always, I appreciate the contributions of visitors to this site, and yours is no exception!

    Bruce

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  55. Thank you for this very enjoyable piece of history! "Back then" credit was not given out in the nameless "let's run your information through a credit aggregator" but there was that personal touch. I'll have to dig around to see what other cards I may have for you.

    My very first Credit Card was from a store called, "Kroch's and Brentanos." I used to be a voracious reader and so while other high school kids were spending money on music and clothes, I was buying books. Okay nerdy but that was me.

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  56. I used to work for Bullocks Wilshire in the late 80s. The butter yellow Bullock's card with Bullock's written in brown script were the cards used for Bullock's Northern California stores. They were already closed when I worked for BW but the cards were still usable in all of the Bullock's and Bullocks Wilshire stores.

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  57. Hi there,
    I wonder if someone could help me...as collectors I thought someone might be able to explain what I have found and who or where the owner was from...

    I have a CHARGA-PLATE it is simple aluminum and reads as follows:

    (in small print) CHARGA-PLATE
    (Then below punched like a dog tag)
    A-18-628
    WHITTAKER
    WILLIAM C
    260X130
    (in small print) PATENTED 1931

    If someone knows something please email me at:
    appin@shaw.ca Thanks Randy

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  58. My first card was a Neiman Marcus like the brown one, I still have it! they were much thinner, and much less bulky. Funny how the cards are so big and thick and cumbersome now, while everything else is getting smaller! Also, I remember before Macy's was bought out by Federated (which owns everything now, boo!) they had their own credit dept on the 8th floor. This was in San Francisco. What a store it was then! Sigh. Also, there was a store called H. Liebes, I don't know if you know of them, but they were in San Francisco, and very very good. Thanks for the site! Oh, the good old days! Before the glutton of goods from China and the break down of our retail industry, and apparel manufacturing that we had here in the USA!! We produced quality textiles, and beautiful clothing... sigh. All gone now..

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  59. Thank you for this blog/website! It helped me figure out what I found in my mother's old belongings was in fact a credit card of my great-grandmother's from Montgomery Fair dept store. Cool!

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  60. 12/23/13 I just posted a Grodins Charge Card on eBay if anyone interested.

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  61. Fantastic collection of information and images. May I ask where you found the building concept illustrations? Specifically the Fashion Valley (San Diego) one. I'm even more impressed if you created them yourself. In either case, I'd be glad to pay for a full-resolution electronic copy of it. Please let me know if this is possible! :-)

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  62. Hi David - email me at bakgraphics@comcast.net - I don't know which Fashion Valley illustration you'd like - Robinson's, Buffums', or the Broadway? Since most of them came from newspaper ads, I have acceptable resolution versions but not great ones.
    Bruce

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  63. Several cards here appear to be narrower vertically and wider horizontally than the ISO-7810 style. I would imagine that this was to enable a customer to differentiate by touch against a travel or bank card. What did their dimensions measure? Thanks.

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  64. I am truely impressed with your site . The only charge plates.that I have that you have not posted is a Sage Allen and a Hecht's both from about 1990. I would be happy to share. For people from N.J. a funny story my mom would not give up her Bambergers plate. I was out shopping one day armed with my parents charge plates and a note. I was checking out the sales man called my mom to see if the .sales was ok. My mom said sure, the sales man ended the converation with you must be kind grandmotnd to let your grand son to use your charge plate. That was the last day that plate ever left the house .

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  65. Amazing. This brings back so many memories of shopping with my mom at What she called the 3 b's bonwitts bambergers and bloomies

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  66. This is an awesome site! I long to go back in time and shop in these wonderful department stores that I have only seen in movies. I had wondered if anyone admired charge cards as much as I do. I found a 'chargea plate' from Sr Louis in some stuff I got at an auction and you would think it was a stack of $100.00 bills because I was so thrilled with it!! Such a neat thing to collect!

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  67. Geno Washington16 June, 2014 01:45

    Hey wait a minute... why is the May Company logo on that card from Los Angeles in the same style as the Macy's logo? I thought May and Macy's had no affiliation until the big merger in 2005.

    Also, it's ironic that the lady from Bala Cynwyd, PA had a Gimbels card, because there never was a Gimbels in Bala Cynwyd. However, there has been a Lord & Taylor in the town since 1955, and a Saks Fifth Avenue since around the same time. Also both John Wanamaker and Bonwit Teller opened stores in the same shopping center in nearby Wynnewood in 1954. On top of that, a Strawbridge & Clothier opened in nearby Ardmore in 1933, which continues today as a rare Macy's without escalators. There also was a Sears down the street in Radnor that opened in 1947 and closed sometime in the 80's.

    Anyway as for Gimbels, all five of their primary Philadelphia-region stores (in Center City, Cheltenham, Huntingdon Valley, Upper Darby, and Media) were in neighborhoods that have gone down the toilet at some point. This is reflected in the fact that the Center City store was later a Clover and then a Kmart, and now is empty, the Cheltenham store is now split between a Burlington Coat Factory and a ShopRite, the Huntingdon Valley store is now a Sears, the Upper Darby store was a Sears but has now been empty for two years, and the Media store is now a Boscov's.

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  68. I still have several of these credit cards that I kept as souvenirs. I feel old but with fond memories.

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