Valentine’s day

Never mind saying it with flowers, say it with a record token! This is a screen printed banner advert issued by the National Record Token scheme to record shops in the Sixties to promote the giving of tokens on Valentine’s Day. I found it in a pile of unused catalogues and other bits and bobs from the time. I’d forgotten about record tokens, which were similar to book tokens; you purchased tokens to a certain value and these were added to a gift card, which could then be redeemed at any record shop in the UK. I did get some myself on birthdays many years ago when parents ran out of ideas.

Record token in store advert.jpg

Apparently EMI ran their own scheme for a time, which is recalled on the Tracklister blog, but I don’t recall seeing these myself. It’s possible these were different to the national scheme as otherwise I would expect to see the EMI name on the banner. EMI also provided stock adverts which local shops could use in regional magazines and papers. Singles on EMI also carried adverts for the scheme on their sleeves (see the bottom of this page). The lovely surviving set of tokens below is from the After You’ve Gone blog, and must be a rare survivor, after all very few kids would have not gone out at once to cash these in. The site has fun trying to think what they would have spent the money on in January 1969! (It’s a nice little blog which I would willingly follow but being run on Blogger it’s impossible to do so, or even post a comment).

record token EMI 1968.jpg

The scheme/s died out many years ago (although some shops continued to operate their own dedicated tokens), but was revived in 2018 by the firm which has been running the book token scheme since 1932.  Needless to say the scheme is operated today via a credit card like system which you can preload with a certain value at the firm’s website.

new record token.jpg

emi single sleeve 1960s.jpg

About simon robinson

Having worked as a graphic designer in the music industry, mainly in the reissue sector, I now concentrate on the design and publication of books about popular culture - and even write some of them.
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