For the longest time I assumed Camel Cash represented the first cynical attempt of a tobacco company to outright bribe smokers into sucking down pack after pack in exchange for cheap merchandise.
Turns out I was wrong. Years before Camel Cash appeared — decades in fact — the Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corporation sold every pack and carton of Raleigh cigarettes, among other brands, with coupons bearing the Raleigh name. These coupons were redeemable for a wide array of consumer goods listed in a free catalog. And to my surprise, much of the stuff contained therein looks to be of fairly good quality.
The merchandise catalog I present to you here is the 48th edition, from July 1968. As you can see on the cover, B&W also offered Raleigh coupons that year with packs of BelAir, a menthol brand launched in 1960.
It goes without saying that I’m not presenting this as any kind of endorsement of smoking. What I do endorse is the fact that this catalog, just as with cigarette advertising in general, offers a glimpse at fascinating time in America when the public’s attitude toward smoking was very different.
Oh yeah, and a lot of the stuff in this catalog is cool to look at. Mustn’t forget that. Happy shopping! Click on any catalog image for the full-size version.
Sports and Leisure
I had no idea that avocado green was so hot in ’68. I always thought that was more of a ’70s thing.
Bob only has a few minutes to spare before he heads off to his ABC Sports announcing gig, so he’s just going to help himself to an entire tray of chips and dip. His mistress Barbara (at least I assume she is, as there’s no wedding band present) looks nervous, and well she should. Such big hair, so many open flames.
Best buy: Probably the aqua-colored hooded Structo grill with the swing-out rotisserie and motor (1,775 coupons). How can you go wrong with a name like Structo? It screams durability and a total lack of excitement.
Total cost for all items: 17,000 coupons (340,000 cigarettes)
Do you have any idea how much that AMF Roadmaster Junior bicycle would fetch on the open market now? At least a hundred bucks I would think. The rest of this stuff looks like future garage sale material.
Wow, check out item Z, the Slim Master cycle exerciser. Just looking at poor Sal struggle on that contraption makes me feel as uncomfortable as he looks. Given the cost of that thing (3,525 coupons) I’m guessing this was the first and last time he used it before keeling over.
Best buy: I was tempted to go with the bike, but that shuffleboard set (1,275 coupons) looks too good to pass up.
Total cost for all items: 28,050 coupons (561,000 cigarettes)
Most of this equipment doesn’t look forty years old to me, although I’m sure golf nuts could go on and on about all the technological advancements in clubs since then. Still, I thinks to the timeless, eternally ugly nature of the game.
Best buy: Hmm, tough one. That mesh golf cap is bound to come back into style again, and I bet those Sam Snead/Patty Berg golf clubs really perform well. I guess I’ll take the Eaton Etonic golf shoes (2,050 coupons). After all, they’ve got weather-sealed leather, sewn-in kilties, air cushion heels, and removable spikes!
Total cost for all items: 17,275 coupons (345,500 cigarettes)
Except for some of the exercise equipment we saw earlier, it seems that most of the sports and games shown in this catalog are very smoking-friendly. Fishing is certainly on that list, although it seems to be more of a beer-centric activity.
I tried fishing a few times when I was a kid and found it painfully dull. Maybe what I needed were some cigarettes and beer?
Best buy: Oh, all this junk looks the same to me. I’ll go with the Zebco lure kit (300 coupons). At least it’s shiny and pretty.
Total cost for all items: 30,450 coupons (609,000 cigarettes)
I always liked the idea of camping more than the reality. I lasted all of one year as a Cub Scout, just long enough to earn a few badges and compete in the Pinewood Derby. My idea of roughing it at this point is basic cable and dial-up internet.
Just looking at some of the merchandise here makes me feel more manly. Still, if you threw me in the deep woods with nothing but my wits and all this equipment I’d be dead in about three days.
Best buy: It’s a tie between the totally retro set on the top left — cooler chest (1,525 coupons), Thermos bottles (1,050 total), and steel picnic jug (475) — and the True Temper belt axe and sheath (600 coupons). And yes, I want the axe just for the “Jet Rocket” branding.
Total cost for all items: 22,375 coupons (447,500 cigarettes)
Alright, now this is more my speed. I can spend all day at the beach, although swimming’s more my thing. I could be convinced to try some water skiing, just not with those ancient wooden planks.
Best buy: The telescope seems like the safe bet, but I want that Scotsman rechargeable flashlight (650 coupons). You can probably guess why.
Total cost for all items (not including garden equipment): 14,075 coupons (281,500 cigarettes)
Ah, the idle rich. So out of touch that they think they can just leave random garden equipment sitting around and someone will just spot it and get to work. No time to stop now, we’ve got croquet to play!
On the bottom — this is hardly the most practical tool collection I’ve ever seen. You’ve got about a dozen implements for cutting things yet nothing but a tiny spade to clean up all that dirt. Sal looks bushed on the right, and all he’s done is sweep the front stoop. That’s what a lifetime of Raleighs will get you.
Best buy: Lawn maintenance is not really my bag, but that Village Blacksmith Graswip (325 coupons) looks like it would come in handy should I decide to embark on a killing spree.
Total cost for all items: 14,650 coupons (293,000 cigarettes)
I don’t have much to say about the baubles shown here. I’m sure this was fashionable stuff back in the ’60s, although it’s probably been in countless garage and estate sales since then.
No, what I can’t stop looking at is the woman on these pages. Whose hand is that supposed to be? I ask because based on the thumb position it’s likely not hers.
Best buy: Meh. None of this does much for me, but the pendant necklace watch (850 coupons) looked like a pocket watch at first, so I’ll go with that one.
Total cost for all items: 15,450 coupons (309,000 cigarettes)
Yay, handbags. I believe the proper emoticon is :-|
Best buy: Like you need to ask. I’ll have that classy, aqua-colored Lady Buxton Petite Fleur cigarette case and lighter (550 coupons). For my BelAirs of course!
Total cost for all items: 13,000 coupons (260,000 cigarettes)
More stuff for the ladies that doesn’t really draw my attenWHOA! Check out those thunderpants! Those are some top of the line granny panties right there.
Sorry about that, some jokes you never outgrow. Speaking of ageless, just how long has Wendie Malick been around anyway?
Best buy: That Sun Valley sun lamp looks like a fire hazard and a half. Might as well just skip the middle man and light your drapes directly on fire. I’m gonna go with the Gotham Gold Stripe nylons (350 coupons), just so I can keep the packaging.
Total cost for all items: 19,400 coupons (388,000 cigarettes)
I’m sure there are camera buffs who still extol the virtues of old flash models over fancy-pants digital cameras. Just like vinyl record lovers, there’s always adherents to the “old is better just because” school of thinking. Having used modern film cameras and digital cameras, I’ll take digital every time. I’d still find a way to prominently display those old flash-bulb beauties, though. Aesthetically there’s just no comparison.
And man, that is some real fly personal hygiene equipment we’ve got here.
How much of this stuff do you imagine ended up repurposed as equipment in science fiction movies and TV shows?
Best buy: Too much to choose from! Now I understand the dilemma of a Wheel of Fortune winner (they still do that showcase thing, right?). I think I’ll take the Polaroid Land Camera (5,525 coupons). I don’t plan on taking pictures with it, but it will complete my 1940s seedy tabloid reporter outfit. I’ll schlep it around town whilst wearing my suit and fedora (with “PRESS” tag in the hat band), snapping photos of unsuspecting celebrities and politicians in compromising positions, and barking in my hokiest New York accent, “Hot damn, what a scoop! I’m just in time for the evening edition!”
Total cost for all items: 44,125 coupons (882,500 cigarettes)
Finally! I was beginning to wonder how many smokes a guy had to buy to get a few catalog pages of his own.
Hmm, now that I’ve had a chance to look Strictly His over, maybe I was wrong to get excited. Page 26 is a basically a gallery of crappy Father’s Day gifts. And I’m not really a watch guy, so page 27 holds little appeal for me.
Now I’m sad.
Best buy: I must own a pair of those J.S.I. vinyl slipper socks (275 coupons). They have to be the most uncomfortable, sweat-inducing footwear invented, and yet I am drawn to them. Bob was so overcome with their comfort and vinyl-ness that he had to lean on his seat valet to catch his breath.
Total cost for all items: 28,150 coupons (563,000 cigarettes)
We’re almost halfway through this catalog, and something strange occurs to me. It’s page after page of merchandise you can acquire only by smoking, and yet no one in the catalog (front cover excepted) is actually smoking. In fact, not one of the models is so much as holding a cigarette. Odd.
And really, if there was ever an occasion for a butt break it’s here. These people just spent at least an hour or so crammed on that flying death trap. They miraculously made it to their destination without recreating the dream sequence from La Bamba, and not one of them is puffing away? Not a chance.
Best buy: The lone item that holds any appeal for me is the Van Heusen cardigan (1,725 coupons). Looks like something Sinatra or Sammy Davis, Jr. would wear.
Total cost for all items: 46,500 coupons (930,000 cigarettes)
[groan of ecstasy]
I’m going to have an extension put on my house just so I can build a room to house all of this stuff. Except for the guitar and ukulele. There’s so much transistor and hi-fi goodness here I don’t even know where to begin.
I can just hear “Good Vibrations” and “Daydream Believer” echoing from those radios, can’t you?
Best buy: I simply can’t choose, and you can’t make me. I’m taking the whole damn lot and I don’t care how many cigarettes I have to smoke to do it.
Total cost for all items: 60,250 coupons (1,205,000 cigarettes)
Raleigh couldn’t even be bothered to come up with a title for this section, so let’s call it The Junk Drawer. Not that there isn’t some nice swag here, but I’m missing the connection between poker chips, cookbooks, and a cat bed.
Best buy: I dig the Family Game Chest (450 coupons). Parents, this Christmas give the gift of a gambling addiction!
Total cost for all items: 33,300 coupons (666,000 cigarettes)
I’m on record as objecting to using children to sell cigarettes, but I suppose this isn’t technically the same thing. But still, it’s close enough to be a little creepy. OK, now that that’s out of the way, let’s check this stuff out.
The odd thing about baby gear is how quickly it looks dated. There’s a scene from A Few Good Men where Kevin Pollak’s character is taking his baby daughter for a stroll. The movie isn’t that old (1992) and the stroller looks like some kind of Victorian-era contraption. All I could think about was how horrified the neighborhood moms would be if I took my son out in that thing now.
Best buy: Has to be the creepy clown nite light by Allen (125 coupons). All I’d have to do is threaten to plug that thing in my kid’s room and he’d fall into line.
Total cost for all items: 12,725 coupons (254,500 cigarettes)
Gender roles? What gender roles?! OK Suzy, when you’re done ironing your brother’s shirts get into the kitchen. That floor isn’t going to clean itself!
Best buy: You probably think I want the vintage Radio wagon or AMF tricycle/wee wheeler. You’d be wrong. I want that classic children’s book collection (825 coupons). You just know there will be at least one or two completely non-PC stories in there.
Total cost for all items: 17,325 coupons (346,500 cigarettes)
Holy crap, is that a real saw in the lower-right corner? Like with sharp teeth and everything? And how much do you want to bet that the average kid who got their hands on that chemistry set immediately set to finding the right mix of chemicals needed to blow up the other toys on this page?
Best buy: I really can’t choose just one toy here. I want to get them all. Not so I can play with them of course. That’s crazy talk. No, I want to put them in a glass case and yell at any kid who dares try something as foolish as “play” with them. Those things would fetch a ton on eBay after all.
Total cost for all items: 13,050 coupons (261,000 cigarettes)
Get it? Light up? Because it’s a cigarette product catalog, but these are lamps and they also light up. Hi-larious!
Looks like dear old dad needs more nicotine in his system. He’s nodded off in the chair again while underlining meaningful passages in his King James Bible.
Best buy: Even as someone who appreciates tacky stuff as much as the next guy, this is a pretty grim selection of lamps. The Tiffany-style Thomas chain lamp (3,100 coupons) is alright I guess.
Total cost for all items: 20,100 coupons (402,000 cigarettes)
I was unclear why this was the only section to be listed with quotation marks in the table of contents, but now it’s clear. These are “speedy savers” because you speed right on by to the next page when you see the crap on this one.
Best buy: Hell yes I’ll have one of those oriental dinner gongs (350 coupons). What’s the over/under on how many seconds it would take to get tossed out of the local Chinese restaurant on my ass after hitting one of these bad boys?
Total cost for all items: 4,400 coupons (88,000 cigarettes)
Hey Raleigh, stop screaming at me already!
Man, is that ever a lot of brass. I guess the in thing to do in the late ’60s was to make your living area look like an 18th century parlor or sitting room?
Best buy: Yikes, this is all fairly tacky. Let’s just grab the Kingwood cascade ash tray set (425 coupons) and call it a day. And then stage a duel.
Total cost for all items: 17,425 coupons (348,500 cigarettes)
Now this is the type of stuff I’d expect to see in the average smoker’s home in the late ’60s all the way through to the ’80s. You can probably snag quite a few of these items at a local estate sale if you really want a blast from the past.
Best buy: Sadly, the telephone table does not come with that beautiful red rotary number. So my consolation prize is the set of Lu-Van Stack-n-Stools (875 coupons for one stool, 2300 for all three).
Total cost for all items: 44,800 coupons (896,000 cigarettes)
Oooh, very nice! There are definitely some nifty timepieces here. Enough to make choosing my favorite a slightly difficult task. I can tell you now that despite the cheesy novelty of the oil painting with the cordless clock in it, I won’t be picking that one.
Best buy: I’m taking two, dammit. The Honeywell Westchester weather station (425 coupons) for functionality, and the Spartus tea kettle clock (625 coupons) for sheer kitsch value.
Total cost for all items: 24,075 coupons (481,500 cigarettes)
What better way to class up an elegant dinner party than some potato chips, Ritz crackers, and a shell-shaped serving tray full of Necco Wafers!
Wait, let me just check the big server on the top page to make sure there are no unfortunate reflections… OK, we’re good.
Best buy: I’m really more of a paper plate guy, truth be told. But I guess if I absolutely had to show how so-fisticated I can be, I’d go with Anchor Hocking monogrammed ashtray (250 coupons). It’s perfect for catching ashes and bludgeoning annoying party guests!
Total cost for all items: 19,250 coupons (385,000 cigarettes)
Plates and silverware. Sorry, I got nothing here. Although the brown Pfaltzgraff stoneware looks an awful lot like the dishes we had in my house when I was a kid, so that’s kind of cool.
Best buy: The Royal China Santa Fe Ironstone (800 coupons for a 16-piece set) reminds me of View-Master reels so let’s go with that. It’s also the type of design that retro fans go ape for.
Total cost for all items: 16,650 coupons (333,000 cigarettes)
Yes! Avocado green at last! I don’t even see anything else on these pages. I must have the avocado in my life. Now.
Best buy: Umm, did you not see what I just wrote? I’m taking all that Acca Ware. The salad serving set (300 coupons), Genie server (600), salad/snack bowls (250), and thermal tumblers (350).
Total cost for all items: 14,400 coupons (288,000 cigarettes)
I’m probably showing my ignorance of the world of bedspreads, but the only ones here that would look out of place today are A, K, and maybe M. But what the hell do I know? If I were still single I’d be sleeping on a bare mattress or a cardboard flap.
Best buy: Just for the joy of watching people have to muster up a fake compliment, I’ll take the full-size Morgan-Jones Padua Spread (1,500 coupons).
Total cost for all items: 36,650 coupons (733,000 cigarettes)
Avocado green vanity set with little rose bath soaps!
Best buy: Avocado green vanity set with little rose bath soaps! (1,925 coupons)
Total cost for all items: 30,125 coupons (602,500 cigarettes)
Oh Suzy, you little imp you! You almost had mom convinced that she would have to up her Raleigh intake to drop a few more pounds.
Best buy: Man, that furry scale (E) reeks of class. And I was surprised to see that cordless toothbrushes were a thing in the ’60s. But what really piques my interest is the Oster infra-red heat massager. (1,025 coupons)
Total cost for all items: 18,825 coupons (376,500 cigarettes)
Hmmm, not a lot of variety here is there? That’s OK, all I need is front and center anyway.
Best buy: That big, beautiful Country Inn Skillet by West Bend is all mine! (1,125 coupons)
Total cost for all items: 6,050 coupons (121,000 cigarettes)
So shiny, so reflective. Walk into this kitchen on a sunny day and I hope you’re wearing your sunglasses, buddy, lest you be blinded.
I guess this is what it looks like when a diner goes out of business and has to sell off their equipment? Well I can tell you that all the stuff in the lower-right corner of the bottom page has caught my eye for sure.
Best buy: Just because I couldn’t even tell what it was at first, and because it’s one of the few items on these 2 pages that won’t require regular polishing, I’ll take the Silex ice cream freezer. And forget that hand-operated nonsense, give me the full electric model. (1,825 coupons)
Total cost for all items: 32,600 coupons (652,000 cigarettes)
So many electric wonders, so many fire hazards and opportunities to mangle your hands!
Best buy: At first I thought of taking the Rival Ice-O-Matic ice crusher, simply because anything with “O-Matic” in the name is awesome. But then there’s that Waring blender (2,550 coupons). Man, those things are absolutely indestructible, even if they’re not terribly sophisticated.
Total cost for all items: 42,375 coupons (847,500 cigarettes)
They’re pots, they’re pans. Not much else to say really.
Best buy: Ooh, can I get that water pump in the back? No? Well then I guess the funky colored Pyrex casserole dish (350 coupons) will have to do.
Total cost for all items: 36,450 coupons (729,000 cigarettes)
I’m willing to bet that there are kitchens in American homes, right now, that are full of this stuff. And it still gets used. I sometimes wish mine was one of them.
Best buy: Given my complete lack of organizational skills and my love of avocado green, the Lady Garner Binmaster (1,075 coupons) is the obvious choice.
Total cost for all items: 16,250 coupons (325,000 cigarettes)
I have little use for some of these things, and I would be scared to use some other of these things.
Best buy: A good pair of kitchen shears is worth its weight in gold (seriously, what kind of cheap crap is Bed, Bath & Beyond trying to sell?), so the Clauss set (300 coupons) it is. And it’s got a jar/bottle opened on the handle!
Total cost for all items: 16,300 coupons (326,000 cigarettes)
Those portable space heaters aren’t even plugged in and they’re about to burn the house down. Meanwhile, Judy will just sit on that stool and gaze lovingly as the whole thing goes down in flames.
Best buy: Those combination seat/step stools are worth their weight in gold. I’ve looked for one like that in Home Depot for years, to no avail. So that Durham model (1,025 coupons) is a no-brainer for me.
Total cost for all items: 35,100 coupons (702,000 cigarettes)
Blech. I’m sure there are tool guys who would love to get their hands on some of this stuff, but all it does for me is bring back bad memories of junior high shop class.
Best buy: I guess I could use a soldering iron, and that Wen model that looks like an old revolver (500 coupons) seems good enough.
Total cost for all items: 36,975 coupons (739,500 cigarettes)
Well this isn’t really any better, is it?
Best buy: I guess I could use that Bernzomatic propane torch (850 coupons) to do some bad plumbing.
Total cost for all items: 13,025 coupons (260,500 cigarettes)
At long last, we’ve reached the final product page in the catalog! And of course it’s another bunch of things I have no need for. I’m not really a car guy, so any job more complicated than applying Armor All to the dashboard means a trip to the mechanic.
Best buy: Ooh, I do like those fancy Superior vinyl floor mats (750 coupons). I can class up my Corolla with a fleur-de-lis design! I’ll even take them in red, even though my car is beige.
Total cost for all items: 10,075 coupons (201,500 cigarettes)
How to Order
And of course, I’d be doing you a disservice if I didn’t give you the info on how to order all these fine products. So here you go. Feel free to print out this form and mail it in. Let me know what happens, I’d love to document it.