1938 CHARLIE CHAN Radio Premiums from the Van Camp Company

December 18th, 2010 by Larry Zdeb

In 1938 the CHARLIE CHAN radio show offered at least three paper related premiums from it’s sponsor, the STOKELY / VAN CAMP Company, (makers of ketchup and other condiments.) These are so rare that you won’t find them in price guides.

All of the Charlie Chan pictures on the following premiums have a distinct resemblance to Warner Oland!

A (1.5 x 2”) FULL COLOR sticker on a grocery brokers envelope, the sticker reads, “Van Camp’s presents Charlie Chan On The Air, Free Magician Tricks.” The sticker has a beautiful painted portrait of Charlie Chan. The envelope is postmarked, “Peoria, Ill. Feb 2, 1938.”

“Van Camp’s Charlie Chan Magician Trick” (8.75 x 10.75”) letter and envelope postmarked, “Indianapolis, Ind. Mar 14, 38.” The letter has a beautiful red & white letterhead with a portrait of Charlie Chan. The letter mentions the product, the radio show and unnamed enclosed trick, which is missing. The trick had to be some sort of flat paper trick because of the lack of wrinkles on the envelope, perhaps the coin trick. The letter is printed on high quality textured paper. The envelope has the name of the parent company (Stokely Brothers) under a picture of Charlie Chan. It is surmised that this letter only came with the first premium because the subsequent premiums came in envelopes too small to contain a letter!

1938 Charlie Chan Magic Tricks with colorful sticker on mailer

1938 Charlie Chan Magic Tricks with full color sticker on envelope

Stokely Brothers (Van Camp’s) “Charlie Chan Magician Trick” of a coin on a card with instructions on the back and a (4 x 5.25”) envelope postmarked, “Indianapolis, Ind. Jun 25, 38.” The small size of this envelope indicates that no letter was included, only the trick. The envelope has a partial full color address sticker, almost as large as the envelope, very unusual for a premium! The sticker has the address & the name of the parent company (Stokely Brothers) under the painted portrait of Charlie Chan. The coin has no Charlie Chan markings and the image on both sides is identical. It features a devil performing magic tricks with both hands and the name “Adams” on the bottom rim. This coin separated from the paperwork would be nearly impossible to determine its origin.

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4 Responses to “1938 CHARLIE CHAN Radio Premiums from the Van Camp Company”

  1. Jeff says:


    I lost your contact info – can you drop me a line?



  2. Larry Zdeb says:

    My email is

  3. Robert A. Olson says:

    The coin is one from the S.S. Adams company, from Asbury Park, New Jersey. Adams and A. C. Gilbert of Mysto Magic did a lot of the magic related premiums. I am interested in any magic related premiums. Best regards, Robert A. Olson

  4. radio premiums says:

    Larry lost track of you please call or email me….Jack Melcher…1-847-986-4209

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