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What’s Your First Memory of PCH?

Memorabilia Shows America’s Love for Publishers Clearing House

When you saw the bright red-and-yellow Publishers Clearing House stampsheet atop this blog entry, did you immediately flash back to the time (early 1980s) when you would pull the same item from the latest PCH mailer? I did, especially since those were my “wonder” years and certain things leave a lasting impact.

PCH has been doing what it does best since the 1953, and there are pieces of PCH memorabilia that definitely remind people of a different time. As a child, I remember the hurried excitement of opening the big PCH envelope that just came in the mail. And the nostalgia of it all hasn’t dimmed the memory these many years later.

Where It All Began – the 1950s

With the famous Publishers Clearing House sweepstakes commanding the majority of attention for more than 50 years, it’s amazing to pause and remember when PCH was a small family business specializing in magazine subscriptions – and only magazine subscriptions! In fact, check out this original PCH stampsheet from 1957 – a full 10 years before the first PCH sweepstakes!

Publishers Clearing House Stampsheet, 1957

Introducing the PCH Sweepstakes – the 1960s

All in favor of doing this sweepstakes and ruining my business, raise your hand.

– PCH Founder Harold Mertz, 1967

Any apprehension about a sweepstakes back in 1967 quickly disappeared and giveaways became a mainstay for Publishers Clearing House. And the grand prize for that very first 1967 sweeps? Not $10 million, not even $10,000 – just $10. Times sure have changed!

Building the Brand – the 1970s & 1980s

This era produced my first memories of PCH. Not long after PCH touted the sweepstakes through its mailers, the Company also took to the airwaves. Check out this PCH classic commercial from 1979:

Anyone remember entering the Triple Sweepstakes?

Party with The Prize Patrol – the 1990s & Beyond

By this point, Americas was agog with sweepstakes fever and the PCH Prize Patrol quickly became one of the Company’s most iconic inventions. In fact, the Prize Patrol van developed such a cult of personality that it’s become a hot collectible.

A 1996 Prize Patrol van bank adorns a coworker’s desk.

What Are Your PCH Memories?

When did you first become a PCH fan? What are your earliest and/or most favorite memories of PCH? Do you have any PCH collectibles? How long have you been entering the PCH sweepstakes? Leave your comments and share what you love best about PCH!

Russell S.
PCH Creative

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  1. I was in grade school so around the 60’s I remember my mom getting big envelopes in the mail. They were from PCH. I always wanted them to visit me and my mom.

  2. What a promotion and still going strong.
    Gives us hope and confidence that there are still plenty of good people out there. Who work hard for a big company and themselves.
    You could have never picked better representatives for Publishers Clearing House. Good luck to all and may publishers have a prosperous year ahead.