1917 25¢ War Savings Stamp
“An idle Quarter is a slacker Quarter.” That was just one of the ads for War Saving Stamps (WSS). The cost of fighting World War I was growing rapidly and the government needed a way to pay for the war. The War Savings Stamp program began in December 1917. The low 25¢ cost allowed almost anyone to “Help Lick the Kaiser.” Not only were these stamps sold at banks and post offices, but they were available at the train station or they could be purchased from the milkman on his delivery route. In 1918, these stamps were available in 45,000 different places in Texas alone.
WSS, also called “thrift stamps,” were affixed to a thrift card, a cardboard folder that was provided to hold the stamps. When the card was filled, it could be exchanged at the post office for a War Savings Certificate Stamp. These stamps would earn 4% interest until they matured five years later.
Citizens were encouraged to think of inventive ways to use the thrift stamps. Businesses gave them as bonuses and Christmas presents. They were handed out as tips in restaurants and hotels. At a café in Dallas, Texas, the menu offered “pie and thrift stamp” for 30¢.
The program was successful in raising money for the war effort. By September of 1919, over $1.1 billion worth of stamps had been sold.