In the 1890s pioneering firms inserted nearly weightless coupons offering free merchandise attainable by amassing huge piles of them.

    For 50 years billions of Coupons were distributed by countless companies, large and small. Coupons could be exchanged for merchandise costing from fifty (50) to one-hundred thousand (100,000) coupons.

    No one gave away more than the seven Billion (7,000,000,000) coupons given by United Cigar Stores Company, it’s predecessors and descendants.


    In 1904 the small United Cigar Store chain, began offering simple non-illustrated catalogs of household items obtainable for coupons.

    One Coupon for every 5¢ spent; one Certificate for every 25¢.

    More expensive items earned higher value Coupons & Certificates. At its height United operated 2,000+ Cigar Stores, most on street corners, a trademark. Redemption Centers dazzled in 160 locations nationwide.

    During United’s second decade of operation, Wrigley gum, Happiness Candy, and Swift’s Soaps were among 50 or so companies that offered United’s “profit sharing coupon” system run by United Cigar Stores.

    Mergers and buy-outs and name changes - the history of the chain - is not the purpose of this exhibit. It’s goal is more modest. 

    Show you as many different coupons in that history as I can.

   United Cigar Stores Catalogs Here.



United & Schulte Cigar Stores, United & Mutual Profit Sharing

Cigar Museum Exclusive 

© Tony Hyman, All rights reserved

Exhibit almost Doubled in size June 2018

    “No packages of manufactured tobacco, snuff, cigars or cigarettes...shall be permitted to have packed in, or attached to, or connected with them, nor affixed to, branded, stamped, marked, written or printed upon them, any paper certificate or instrument purporting to be or represent a ticket, chance, share or interest in, or dependent upon, the event of a lottery, nor any indecent or immoral picture, representation, print, or words; and any violation of the provisions of this paragraph shall subject the offender to the penalties and punishments proved by section 3456 of the Revised Statutes.”


United or Schulte Cigar stores, or

Mutual or United Profit Sharing?


            HERE’S HOW TO FIND OUT ...

    Look at the top center of your coupon. The Coupons in this book were issued by 30± companies between 1904 and 1940.     

    7,000,000,000 (7 billion) “United Cigar Stores Company,” “United Cigar Stores Company of America,” “Schulte Cigar Stores”, “Mutual Profit”  “United Profit Sharing” (UPSC).  

    Coupons were issued in denominations as low as “1/5 Coupon” and high as “50 Certificates.” In this exhibit they are in numerical order

from lowest value within each company.


    “United Cigar Stores Company.”  (UCSC)

    “United Cigar Stores Company of America.” (UCSCA)

    “Mutual Profit Coupon Corp.”  (MPCC)

     “Schulte Cigar Stores.”  (SCS)

    “United Profit Sharing” (UPSC).

    Partner Companies over-printing MPS or UPS coupons.

    Partner Companies issuing MPS or UPS coupons.

Coupons listed by value within each company.

Two coupons stacked are usually front & back of the issue.

On occasion, a stack will have 2 fronts or 2 backs to facilitate comparisons. 

Side-by-side coupons are front and back of a single coupon.


Main Museum Directory          Premiums Directory

    One of the more unusual, and one of the smallest, coupons came in a pack of Wrigley’s gum. To get credit for the coupon the entire wrapper had to be submitted intact. Only one piece of gum in each package had the coupon on it.

            [17407]  [17408]

7,000,000,000 ”United” coupons were issued.

Here are some of the variations

I’ve been able to photograph so far.