Years ago, one of my favourite comics was called ‘Victor’. At this time, during the 1960s, there were lots and lots of comics, which were read by lots and lots of boys.
And of course, with so many publications which reached so many boys, there were bound to be lots and lots of advertisements. Some were for games to pass the infinite time of childhood. This is one of the best known:
But that wasn’t the only one:
The majority of adverts were for hobbies:
One hobby which I always found quite bizarre involved miniature metal steam engines. One of the more familiar names was ‘Mamod’ although other types were also available:
The biggest money earner was surely philately. It was as if every boy in the country was a keen collector of postage stamps. First of all though, you had to buy an album:
Stamp collecting taught you a lot though. Where all the countries were. What language they used, and quite often a word or two of that language. You learnt if the language had a different alphabet. I could tell Chinese from Korean and so could a lot of other 10 year old boys. It was easy to be familiar with the different states of India or Malaysia and all those exotic sounding islands of the West Indies. And stamps were so easily obtainable:
They sold stamps by the Approvals method. This involved your being a member of, say, the Wulfruna Club, to quote the advert above. You were sent a little booklet full of stamps, usually in sets, all of which were priced at sums below five shillings (two weeks’ pocket money approximately). You could buy some stamps yourself or see if your friends wanted to buy any. You sent the money back to the Wulfruna Club by postal order. There were bonus stamps available if you sold more than a certain amount’s worth of stamps, or if you recruited your friends to the club. On one occasion, I received bonus stamps from Bahawalpur, one of the states of Pakistan, for recruiting two other boys to the club.
Here is a final three part advert which mentions not just postage stamp approvals but also matchbox covers. A lot of boys collected either matchboxes or cigarette packets but I wasn’t allowed to pick them up off the pavement because there might be germs involved. Anyway, here’s the advert:
Keen eyed detectives of the future or past will note that their advert also offers tuition in conjuring. There are few things in life more boring than a Member of the Magic Circle but, more worryingly perhaps, how would a stupendous world beating conjurer still be living in Stoke-on-Trent?
Unless, of course, you investigate with that Google thing whereby you walk down the street and discover that Whitfield Road is really the Las Vegas of the North Midlands.
23 responses to “The adverts in Victor Comic (1)”
I tried stamp collecting but it never really came to much. I did collect the football cards and cigarette cards, albums were packed to the rafters with those illusive ones always being the last to swap or buy from friends (if they would sell of course!). Perhaps it was the start of the business man! Fabulous memories!
They are fabulous memories and as far as I am concerned, they don’t seem more than 50 years ago. How I wish I still had my collections of stamps, cards and most of all, football programmes.
Indeed John. They’ll be collectors items now no doubt, but the memories worth far more.
Great memories here John. I used to like the adverts in the American comics, I really wanted a pair of X-Ray specs but I had no idea how to fill in the order form or how to pay for it. Much easier these days with Amazon.
I have a collection of old newspapers that my dad left behind and although some of the articles are interesting it is the adverts which I find quite bewildering. I wrote a post about some of them…
All those ads in the back of magazines and comic books sounded like “must have” items. How many kids spent their allowances on that stuff?!!
I always wanted the thousand piece American Civil War armies!
In Civil War style, I wanted the cast iron chess set. Just a bit out of range for my allowance budget! 🙂
Yes, I can remember the adverts in “Famous Monsters of Filmland” which was the only magazine that the newsagent would let me buy at the time. Binoculars with a range of 15 miles. I used to think I could sit at home and watch the football at Derby. How innocent we were in those days!
Now doesn’t that take us back John! I remember eagerly awaiting the arrival of approvals
Usually to be disappointed. I recall getting quite a lot of Polish stamps in my package!
I had better luck 🙂
But did you ever get the penny black? The advert seemed to suggest that this was entirely possible!
Approvals were an amazing concept. Apparently hardly any of them were ever lost or stolen by collectors, and most were sent back with no problems. I can’t remember who I used to deal with. but I have vague memories that I was always sending approvals back to Northallerton in Yorkshire.
I think I used several sources. Also no problems
It is great to look back on those days, Derrick. I did save stamps and I did send for a lot of other things advertised!
Ah, the stamp albums. They were always in the magazines of my youth. I never had one, but my father did. He kept it going for a few years, but then I suspect he discovered girls which are infinitely more interesting and mysterious to a young man than stamps. Enough about stamps. I found the advertisement for miniature steam engines fascinating. Do you know in what years those were available?
Yes, it was probably from 1960-1970. The most famous British company was called Mamod. My friend had one of their steam tractors and I thought it was absolutely useless. We had a bet and if he could persuade his machine to travel ten yards down his garden path I would pay him five shillings, probably round a dollar in those days. Needless to say, I lost !
This website may whet your appetite…
My Dad passed his stamp collection on to me and I added a few bits but moved on to various other collecting spheres. I always think of stamps as entry-level obsession.
You may well be right. I was reading the other day about King George V and his obsessive stamp collecting. I suppose nobody could refuse him when he started swapping, but he certainly seems to have been a fanatical collector, working away every single evening.
I didn’t know that – but nice to know Kings are human.
Precious memories 😊 we used to collect stamps and match box covers. My son used to collect cards with photos of sports persons. My grandson is collecting shells and pebbles 😊
That is lovely to hear. The next stage might be to start looking at the birds with a children’s book about what they are called. You can never tire of the wonders of Creation.