click to enlarge

United States War Savings Certificate Stamp.
Series of 1918.
$5 payable January 1, 1923
6.1 cm H x 4.4 cm W

War Savings Stamps

During the United States involvement in World War I (1917–1918), large-scale posters such as Haskell Coffin's Joan of Arc Saved France constituted just one form of advertising used to sell Liberty Loan bonds and War Savings Stamps. Because the first World War cost the federal government more than 30 billion dollars (by way of comparison, total federal expenditures in 1913 were only $970 million), these programs became vital as a way to raise funds through the bond drives—a precursor of modern savings bonds. The government had to point out in posters and elsewhere that bonds paid interest, so unfamiliar were ordinary people with the concept. Nonetheless, even selling stamps in denominations as small as 25 cents, the government sold a billion dollars worth of the stamps. The Liberty Loan and War Savings Stamp drives, which drew heavily on English and European models, serve today as powerful symbols of the extraordinary mass mobilization during the war—the attempt to recruit the entire population into the war effort.

Click here to see a United States Government Thrift Card designed to help citizens save their stamps.


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