Lisa picked up hers on a recent trip when she stopped at a Russell Stover candy outlet store. Knowing that I wouldn't be traveling by one any time soon, I decided to look on-line. I ordered mine on Monday, and much to my delight they arrived today.
As you can see in the photo, the tins have slightly different graphics. Included in each tin is the little booklet shown in the lower left hand corner of my photo. The little booklet is also on-line here.
When I placed my order, I discovered that the tins were being offered at a 20% discount. Then after putting the two tins in my on-line shopping cart, I discovered that shipping would be free if you spent $25. My tins added up to $23.18 and shipping was an additional $7.95 (for a total of $31.13). It was actually cheaper for me to buy another of the smaller tins and get three tins (even if I only wanted two) than to buy the two and pay shipping. Guess that was a no-brainer as what I should do!
After taking the previous photos, I remembered that I have an old Whitman tin. I don't know the age, but I thought you would enjoy seeing it and comparing the graphics on it with those on the newer tins. On the left, next to the tin, is an old book published in 1971 on the Whitman needlework samplers that are now at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Looking at my old tin and the new ones, I was baffled by something I saw.
Do you see it? Yes, that's right--there are different dates on the two tins. The newer tin on the left says "started in 1912" and the older tin on the right says "started in 1842". That's a difference of 70 years. It turns out that 1842 is when 19-year old Stephen Whitman started his candy business in Philadelphia. It was in 1912 that the Whitman Sampler candy assortment came into being.
Walter Sharp, who became the company's president in 1911, had the idea of making candy sampler boxes rather than having all of the same kind of candy in each box. His box design was supposedly inspired by a sampler he saw hanging in a relative's home. Mr. Sharp had envisioned selling the sampler boxes for only one year. Wouldn't he be surprised to learn that 100 years later the sampler boxes are still selling well?
Years ago I read that employees of the Whitman Company were asked to find needlework samplers, and thus was born the famous Whitman Sampler Collection. (Unfortunately, I can't seem to find that source today.) According to the Whitman/Russell Stover website, 575 samplers were amassed by the candy company. They were given to the Philadelphia Museum of Art around 1969. What a generous gift! Some of the samplers are currently on display at the museum. I hope to get there to see them in person.