Series E bond

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$50 Series E bond (1941–1945)

Series E U.S. Savings Bonds were marketed by the United States government as war bonds from 1941 to 1980. Those issued from 1941 to November 1965 accrued interest for 40 years; those issued from December 1965 to June 1980, for 30 years. They were generally issued at 75 cents per dollar face value, maturing at par in a specified number of years that fluctuated with the rate of interest. Denominations available were $25, $50, $75, $100, $200, $500, $1,000, $5,000 and $10,000. Series E bonds were issued only in registered, physical form and are not transferable. The guaranteed minimum investment yield for the bonds was 4 percent, compounded semiannually.[1] Interest from the Series E bonds is exempt from state and local taxes, but is subject to federal taxes.[2]

The U.S. Savings Bond programs[edit]

The first modern U.S. Savings Bonds were issued in 1935, to replace United States Postal Service Bonds. They were marketed as a safe investment that was accessible to everyone. The first bonds, series A, were followed by series B, C, D, E, EE, F, G, H, HH, and I.

Financing World War II[edit]

On June 4, 1943, students of the south-central district of the Chicago Public Schools purchased $263,148.83 in war bonds—enough to finance 125 jeeps, two pursuit planes and a motorcycle.

In December 1941, the US declared war on Japan; Germany declared war on the US shortly thereafter. This was the starting point for a large scale – and thus expensive — defense program. The problem of the financing of World War II was greater than that of World War I, as the struggle lasted longer and the amounts involved were larger.

The budgetary expenses for the years 1941–1945 amounted to some $317 billion, of which $281 billion was directly related to the war effort; expenditures climbed from $9.6 billion in fiscal 1940 to nearly $100 billion in 1945. Of these outlays some 45 percent was covered by taxes and other non-borrowing sources. The deficit had to be covered by selling bonds. The Treasury sold $185.7 billion of securities (over $2.1 trillion in 2016) to finance the war. The public debt rose from $50 billion in 1940 to $260 billion in 1945.[3]

Year Receipts ($ bn) Outlays ($ bn) Deficit ($ bn) Public Debt ($ bn)
1939 6.6 9.4 2.9 48.2
1940 6.9 9.6 2.7 50.7
1941 9.2 14.0 4.8 57.5
1942 15.1 34.5 19.4 79.2
1943 25.1 78.9 53.8 142.6
1944 47.8 94.0 46.2 204.1
1945 50.2 95.2 45.0 260.1
1946 43.5 61.7 18.2 271.0

War bonds[edit]

The first Series E bond was sold to President Franklin D. Roosevelt by Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau on May 1, 1941.[4] These were marketed first as "defense bonds", then later as "war bonds".

During World War II the "drive" technique used during World War I was replaced in part by a continual campaign using a payroll deduction plan. However, eight different drives were conducted during the campaign. In total, the overall campaign raised $185.7 billion from 85 million Americans, more than in any other country during the war.[5] Li'l Abner creator Al Capp created Small Fry, a weekly newspaper comic strip whose purpose was to sell Series E bonds in support of the Treasury.[6]

Of the $185.7 billion raised during the continual campaign, a total of $156.4 billion was raised during the eight specific drives, despite an average duration of only one month each, as follows:

George Schreiber poster for the Third War Loan Drive (September 9–October 1, 1943)
Kate Smith in September 1944: "No single show-business figure even approached her as a seller of War Bonds during World War II", wrote The New York Times. Her grand total exceeded $600 million.[7]
C. C. Beall poster for the Seventh War Loan Drive (May 14–June 30, 1945)
  • First War Loan Drive – 24 days, from November 30 through December 23, 1942. The initial goal was $9 billion; the drive raised $13 billion ($199.3 billion today). However, only $1.6 billion was raised from individuals; corporations and commercial banks accounted for the vast majority of the funds raised.
  • Second War Loan Drive – 20 days, from April 12 through May 1, 1943. The initial goal was $13 billion; the drive raised $18.5 billion ($267.9 billion today). Individual purchases doubled over the previous drive, due in large part to the $4.5 million and $170,000 of advertising contributed by newspapers and magazines.
  • Third War Loan Drive – 23 days, from September 9 through October 1, 1943. The initial goal was $15 billion, which would require a doubling of the bond sales from the prior drive, with at least 40 million of the 130 million American citizens needing to purchase a $100 war bond. President Franklin D. Roosevelt addressed the nation via one of his fireside chats on September 8. Singer Kate Smith raised $39 million during a September 21 CBS broadcast, part of the $600 million she raised on a series of one day broadcasts throughout the war.[7][8] Final sales were $19 billion ($275.1 billion today).
  • Fourth War Loan Drive – 32 days, from January 18 through February 15, 1944. The initial goal was $14 billion, and the drive was targeted towards farmers and women. A Quiz Kids radio broadcast from Syria Mosque in Pittsburgh raised $5 million.[9] Kate Smith again proved a popular draw, raising $101 million during a February 1 broadcast.[8] Final sales were $16.7 billion ($237.7 billion today), with nearly 70 million separate bonds sold.
  • Fifth War Loan Drive – 27 days, from June 12 through July 8, 1944. On May 15, 1944, Orson Welles was placed on the U.S. Treasury payroll as an expert consultant for the duration of the war (with a retainer of $1 a year).[10] On FDR's recommendation, Morgenthau asked Welles to lead the Fifth War Loan Drive, which opened June 12 with a one-hour radio show on all four networks, broadcast from Texarkana, Texas. Including a statement by the President,[11] the program defined the causes of the war and encouraged Americans to buy $16 billion in bonds. Additional war loan drive broadcasts took place June 14 from the Hollywood Bowl, and June 16 from Soldier Field, Chicago.[12]:371–373 Americans purchased $20.6 billion ($293.2 billion today) in War Bonds during the Fifth War Loan Drive.[5]
  • Sixth War Loan Drive – 45 days, from November 2 through December 16, 1944. The drive raised $21.6 billion ($307.4 billion today).[5]
  • Seventh War Loan Drive – 48 days, from May 14 (just days after Victory in Europe Day) through June 30, 1945.[13] Officials were concerned that the defeat of Germany might lessen bond sales. The amount raised during the six-week drive was over $26 billion ($361.8 billion today).[5][14]
  • Eighth War Loan (Victory) Drive – 41 days, from October 29 through December 8, 1945. The goal was $11 billion. More than $21 billion ($292.3 billion today) was raised — 192% of the goal.[5]

After the war[edit]

Although Series E bonds are usually associated with the war bond drives of World War II, they continued to be sold until June 1980, thereafter being replaced by Series EE bonds. A version of Series EE bonds, known as the Patriot Bond, is a sort of post-September 11 war bond, but has never enjoyed the broad subscription of the Series E war bond. These bonds are no longer available as of 2012.[15]

In October 2008, several news reports claimed there were several billion dollars in unclaimed bonds. The US treasury set up a web site called "Treasury Hunt."[16] The system provides information only on Series E bonds issued in 1974 and after.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ — E Savings Bonds, Investor Information
  2. ^ "Individual - Series EE/E Savings Bonds Tax Considerations". Retrieved 2017-06-26.
  3. ^ Chapter Y Government, page 1105
  4. ^ U.S. Treasury — Introduction to Savings Bonds Archived 2009-08-25 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ a b c d e "Brief History of World War Two Advertising Campaigns War Loans and Bonds". Duke University Libraries. Retrieved 2014-02-21.
  6. ^ "Presarvin’ Freedom: Al Capp, Treasury Man," Hogan's Alley, 1998
  7. ^ a b Prial, Frank G. (June 18, 1986). "Kate Smith, All-American Singer, Dies At 79". The New York Times. Retrieved 2015-10-20.
  8. ^ a b Radio: Kate's Appeal - TIME
  9. ^ "Quiz Kids at Mosque Net $5,000,000 in War Bonds". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. January 10, 1944. Retrieved 2016-01-29.
  10. ^ "Orson Welles in War Loan Drive". Associated Press (Oakland Tribune), May 17, 1944
  11. ^ "Opening Fifth War Loan Drive, June 12, 1944". Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum. Retrieved 2014-02-21.
  12. ^ Brady, Frank, Citizen Welles: A Biography of Orson Welles. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1989 ISBN 0-385-26759-2
  13. ^ "May 14 Marks Opening of 7th War Loan Drive". Vassar Chronicle. May 5, 1945. Retrieved 2015-10-20.
  14. ^ "7th War Loan. Now--All Together". World Digital Library. 1945.
  15. ^ "The Patriot Savings Bond". U.S. Department of the Treasury, Bureau of the Fiscal Service. Retrieved 2014-02-21.
  16. ^ "Treasury Hunt". U.S. Department of the Treasury, Bureau of the Fiscal Service. Retrieved 2016-12-15.

External links[edit]