Special Bargain Offers

An interesting ebay purchase was a folder containing “Specimens of Die Stamping, Notepaper and Copperplate Printing” produced by the once-renowned London department store Harrods ahead of their 1940 January Sale. It contained the typewritten letter shown above, along with examples of stamped & printed personalised letterheadings, and samples of some of the various types of paper they stocked.

“Paper prices are literally soaring” begins the letter, getting straight to the point, before adding, realistically, that “even to-day’s prices will certainly go higher”. For some, it may have been a last chance to stock up before paper rationing took effect the following March, with, in its wake, measures such as the “Book Production War Economy Standard”. With the raw materials for paper-making (esparto, most notably) in ever shorter supply, British paper-makers were obliged in some cases to make do with rather less desirable stuff such as wheat-straw in its stead.

A Harrods catalogue of somewhat earlier vintage lists papers made by prestige manufacturers such as Joynson, Hollingworth, Towgood & Whatman, along with an extensive range of own-brand lines. I imagine their range wouldn’t have been too very different by 1940. Via separate ebay acquisitions I’ve had the chance to work my way through a cache of their ‘Hans Bank’ writing pads and to use a fine machine-made rag paper made by Hollingworth and sold by Harrods (I’m unsure when) under the ‘Stag of Kent’ brand: both were excellent.