Idaho supermarket honors free turkey coupon 69 years later

When Ted Allegri started remodeling the final room of his farmhouse northeast of Moscow last year, he didn’t expect to find much in the walls or floors — except maybe some old newspapers.

Instead he found a piece of history and his ticket to a free turkey.

Allegri said about 30 cents and a curious coupon for a free “Christmas turkey” from Safeway were discovered during the project. The coupon was 69 years old, a prize in a raffle from Dec. 19, 1953, to be redeemed at a Safeway store, though he’s not sure which one.

“You find stuff like that in old houses,” Allegri said.

The coupon was printed on cardstock and looks good for its age, only missing a small piece of its corner.

Upon finding the coupon, Allegri showed it to his wife, who encouraged him to take it to the Moscow Safeway, to see if they would like to keep it. It took Allegri eight months to take it in.

Erich Hanisch, Safeway’s Moscow store director, did want the coupon and even offered to redeem it for a free turkey. The average cost of a turkey in 1953 was about 65 cents per pound. Now a turkey might cost about $1.98 per pound, depending on season and store.

Safeway store director Erich Hanisch holds a 69-year-old coupon for a free turkey Tuesday morning in Moscow. As a longtime Safeway employee, Hanisch said he has come across a variety of interesting and old items but believes this coupon deserves an encased spot in the Moscow store. Zach Wilkinson/Daily News

The coupon will be framed in Hanisch’s office with a photo of the original Moscow Safeway and a $25 gift certificate from the 1970s someone found when cleaning a drawer.

“The old nostalgic stuff you find,” Hanisch said. “For me it’s an item you’re never going to see again.”

Finding old pieces of the grocery store’s history is always fun for Hanisch. He said employees have found steel soda cans and old pricing stamps in corners of the stores he’s worked at before.

Hanisch has been the director of the Moscow Safeway for almost 20 years. Allegri said he appreciated the turkey and didn’t expect to get one when he brought the coupon in. He said he was always finding interesting things in his farmhouse, mainly old newspapers which were used as insulation in the walls.

Hanisch said it is also exciting to show the coupon to district managers when they visit Moscow. Finding these items is exciting, he said, because many of these items were either thrown away or lost and not always considered worth saving.

–Kali Nelson/Moscow-Pullman Daily News