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Postal Savings Certificates

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Posted 01/01/2015   9:06 pm  Show Profile Check paperhistory's eBay Listings Bookmark this topic Add paperhistory to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
Here's one far enough in the back of the book that it isn't in any catalog that I know of.

Between 1911 and the mid 1960s, the Post Office Department offered a banking function via the Postal Savings System. Customers could deposit funds (in amounts as low as $1); those funds could then be withdrawn, with interest at a later time. The Postal Savings System operated as an alternative to banks for customers who couldn't get to or use a bank (rural customers, small depositors, children) or who didn't trust banks (notably, postal savings deposits were always backed by the full faith and credit of the US government).

Depositors were given certificates as evidence of their deposits. There are six different series(1911, 1913, 1917, 1918, 1939, 1954), plus a distinct variety of the 1917 series that includes a state name at lower right, two types of the 1939 series depending on the printing on the back, and at least the 1917, 1939 and 1954 series exist with the printed signatures of multiple postmasters general.

The one shown here is a particular gem for two reasons. The 1939 series with the signature of Arthur Summerfield as PMG is quite scarce (out of hundreds of postal savings certificates in a census I maintain, I have about 5 examples recorded). This one also shows the payment of an early redemption fee (note that the issue date and the redemption date is only 17 days apart); there was a 10-cent fee for redemption within the 30 days. The fee later went to 20 cents; 1954 series certificates exist with a 20-cent Liberty paying the fee.

One of these days I'll get around to writing an article on these (perhaps for the Congress Book). Anyone else collect these or have any?

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Posted 01/01/2015   9:21 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Glenn Estus to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
You should contact Matthew Liebson of Ohio. He's very interested in this type of material. Try putting this information on http://www.philamercury.com/board.php so that he can see it.
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Posted 01/01/2015   9:45 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add stampcrow to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
This is the first time I've seen one. Thanks!
I notice the left side is perforated.
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Posted 01/02/2015   01:37 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add redwoodrandy to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Great subject paperhistory. Do folds detract greatly or are these scarce enough not to be overly concerned? Are there any odd denominations?
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Edited by redwoodrandy - 01/02/2015 03:25 am
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Posted 01/02/2015   06:07 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rohumpy to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
It paid 2% per annum. That is more than passbook savings accounts are being paid today.
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Posted 01/02/2015   08:41 am  Show Profile Check paperhistory's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add paperhistory to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Glenn: thanks for remembering. That would be me (it didn't occur to me when I registered for this forum not so long ago to just put my name in the ID box...)

redwoodrandy: no folds on this one, and folds are uncommon on the certificates because the post office department also issued an envelope to store certificates in. Most of the ones I've seen are in pretty good shape, but I wouldn't view a fold as a terrible fault given the general scarcity of the material.

Denominations are $1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $50, $100, $200, $500, $1000, and $2500. The $2 was dropped for the 1954 series, and the $1000 and $2500 denominations only exist with the 1954 series. I don't think denominations over $100 exist for the 1911 and 1913 series but I am not positive about that.
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Posted 01/02/2015   11:28 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add wt1 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Anyone notice the interesting wording around the eagle in the center logo?

It states: "THE FAITH OF THE UNITED STATES IS SOLEMNLY PLEDGED TO THE PAYMENT OF DEPOSITS WITH ACCRUED INTEREST. ACT OF JUNE 25, 1910."

What I don't quite understand is why the certificate is printed "NOT NEGOTIABLE" and why the 10-cent stamp was affixed to the center (was it required)?

This may also be of interest:

http://about.usps.com/publications/...b100_025.htm

Note the part that reads:


Quote:
On April 27, 1966, the Post Office Department...cut off interest payments as the annual anniversary date of existing accounts came up.

AND

...under the Postal Savings System Statute of Limitations Act of July 13, 1984 (Public Law 98-359), no claims could be brought more than one year after enactment. Thus, no claims made after July 13, 1985, have been honored.
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Edited by wt1 - 01/02/2015 11:31 am
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Posted 01/02/2015   4:58 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add redwoodrandy to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Why would Arthur Summerfield be so scarce? He was PMG for eight years.
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Posted 01/02/2015   5:50 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add redwoodrandy to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Scarce & worth buying?
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Edited by redwoodrandy - 01/02/2015 6:32 pm
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Posted 01/02/2015   5:57 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add redwoodrandy to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Scarce & worth purchasing?
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Edited by redwoodrandy - 01/02/2015 6:33 pm
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Posted 01/02/2015   6:11 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add redwoodrandy to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
This was purchased for $750 on one site and is now for sale at $3874.
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Edited by redwoodrandy - 01/02/2015 6:20 pm
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Posted 01/02/2015   9:09 pm  Show Profile Check paperhistory's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add paperhistory to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
The 1954 certificates with the 20 cent Liberties (the early redemption fee) came from a hoard that reached the market through Richard Friedberg. $750 has been Richard's asking price. I haven't seen any come up anywhere else - they are part of a hoard of 1954 certificates from NY and Puerto Rico. The other ones are part of a big hoard of redeemed certificates from Boston that frequently come up on eBay but based on what I've seen previously any 1939 series with Summmerfield is difficult; this may even out over time. Summerfield took office on January 21, 1953 and the 1939 series was replaced on September 1, 1954, so there was not a long period of time for the certificates with his signature to be used (particularly since existing stocks of earlier signatures seem to be used up rather than withdrawn).
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Posted 01/02/2015   9:51 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add redwoodrandy to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Thank you paperhistory. That explains a lot.
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Edited by redwoodrandy - 01/03/2015 02:19 am
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Posted 01/03/2015   02:27 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add redwoodrandy to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
My example

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Posted 01/03/2015   02:36 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add redwoodrandy to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
The $200 & $500 certificates were first issued in July 1917. So you are correct paperhistory, nothing over $100 in 1911 & 1913.
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Posted 01/05/2015   12:42 pm  Show Profile Check paperhistory's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add paperhistory to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Since there is a bit of interest in the area, here's another one.

The earliest series of Postal Savings Certificates is the 1911 Series - these were used when the system first started up. Denominations were $1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100. The few issued examples that I've seen all have handstamp office names rather than pre-printed. There is at least one set of specimens of these certificates in the marketplace (I have a $100 specimen).

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