Vintage Scratch and Sniff Stickers

It seems so long ago but I can still remember it as if it was yesterday! Over 25 years ago when I was an elementary student at Seven Valleys Elementary School in Pennsylvania collecting scratch and sniff stickers was all the rage among all the girls in my class. In fourth and fifth grade me and all my friends would spend all of our playground time looking through each other’s albums, eagerly searching for an odd sticker that we wanted to add to our collections. Scratch and sniff stickers were like a monetary commodity back in the early to mid 1980s. The rarer the scent, the more valuable the sticker was. And you hit the jackpot when you scored a scent new to the market that no one else yet had.

My girlfriends and I would do extra chores just to earn more money to spend on “scratch n sniffs” or “sniffs” as we called them. We also bought photo albums in which to display our prized stickers. We carefully placed full sheets of unscratched stickers minus one sticker under the vellum protector sheets so they wouldn’t get scratched. Then we would place the sacrificial sticker that we removed from the sheet on top of the vellum over its missing space on the sheet so that anyone who wanted to scratch and sniff could sniff their brains out. The sacrificial sticker saved the others from being scratched. Scratch and sniff stickers eventually lose their smell after being scratched a number of times.

The vintage scratch and sniff stickers that I remember came in many, many different scents with unique names. I remember scents like goober grape, skunk spray and pickle juice. The stickers themselves were illustrated with a character that symbolized the scent that it was to represent, the illustrations drawn and colored in a way that was somewhat reminiscent of 1970’s cartoon characters that were found on Schoolhouse Rock or Fat Albert. If you look at a vintage scratch and sniff you will understand exactly what I mean. Vintage scratch and sniffs have a very different look than scratch and sniffs of today.

I never realized that scratch and sniffs were still around until I had my sons and was looking for reward stickers. I bought some scratch and sniffs thinking that they would think they were cool. My sons could care less about scratch and sniffs; they would much rather pick out a dragon sticker or a pirate or monster truck. Perhaps if the scratch and sniffs of today were more like vintage sniffs they would have more of an appeal. The scratch and sniffs today have modern, vivid illustrations designed to look cool rather than to smell good. They also lose their smell way too soon if they even have a smell at all. You can smell vintage scratch and sniffs before they are even opened.

I really hope that vintage scratch and sniffs make a comeback. If they start marketing them again I have no doubt that my girlfriends from Seven Valleys Elementary, whom I am in close contact with on Facebook, and I will start collecting them once again. I can envision Facebook groups dedicated to scratch and sniffs and scratch and sniff parties, scratch and sniff gifts. . .