Notes from the Past

Postal Savings Card

The first United States Postal Savings Stamps were issued January 3, 1911.  The Postal Guide for that year stated: "The Postal Savings System was established by act of Congress, approved June 25, 1910, to provide facilities for the deposit of savings at interest with the security of the United States Government, for re-payment on demand."  Post offices, branches, and stations were designated as Postal Savings Depositories.  Anyone ten years old or over could open just one account.  Deposits could be made only in amounts of $1.  The Postal Savings stamps were issued in denominations of 10¢ along with cards on which 10 could be mounted and then submitted to the Post Office for deposit.

The first 'stamp' issued was Scott PS1 printed by the Bureau of Engraving on flat bed presses using paper with a double line USPS watermark just like other stamps of the era.  Its orange design is undistinguished having only the basic information "U. S. Postal Savings 10 cents" and scrollwork engraved on it.  At the same time a card for mounting the stamps, Scott PS2, was issued.  It had one stamp printed on it along with spaces for 9 more to be added subsequently.  it was intended for use by the beginning saver.    When the saver had collected the remaining 90¢ in savings, it could then be redeemed for cash or deposited to the individual's Postal Savings Account.

After redemption, these cards were cancelled with a large killer "Cancelled" with a date inserted and surrounded by wavy lines. The backs often show a stamp from the redemption office with city, name of the post office station, and the date.  Also, cards often show the owner's Postal Savings Account number, and a notation of whether the card was redeemed "Against Cash" or "Against Savings Certificate" along with the clerk's initals.

- adapted from H. L. Lindquist
"United States Savings Stamps -- A New Field For the Specialist"
The Stamp Specialist -- White Book
H. L. Lindquist 1944
Posted May 7, 2000

Editor's Note:  An account of the official attitude toward collecting Postal Savings Stamps was noted in Collecting War Savings Stamps.

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