Few people today would remember war savings certificates, a type of promissory note, sold to hundreds of thousands of Australians during World War I and World War II.
With the outbreak of WWII it was again necessary for the government to find ways to raise money for the war. A new 6d (sixpence) War Savings Stamp was designed, together with a new booklet format, and printed.
These War Saving Stamps were issued by the Commonwealth Government between 1939-45 as a means of raising funds for the war effort.
The front cover featured the Australian coat of arms and flag with the words “For Australia” on the scroll, below which is the name and address of the owner, written in black/red ink.
Inside the booklet the squares spelled out the patriotic message, “Victory Buy War Savings Stamps, 6d”. At the bottom were the words “Don’t be an onlooker. Be in the fight”. As each stamp was added the squares were progressively covered.
The cards, bearing patriotic messages, were distributed to schoolchildren who, each week, were encouraged to ask their parents to buy a stamp.
When 32 sixpenny War Savings Stamps had been affixed to this card it would be exchanged for a War Savings Certificate, with a face value of £1, at any Savings Bank or Money Order Post Office.
This was effectively a long-term loan with the bond redeemable 7 years after the end of the war.
The most common stamp was the blue “Spitfire” which was not a Spitfire plane at all, but a “Defiant”. The name, however, stuck and philatelists continue to refer to as the “6d WW2 Blue Spitfire”.
Less commonly found is the 5/- Artillery and Tank issue
The Canada Bay Heritage Museum wishes to thank Bob Phillips for his generous donation of a War Savings Card and stamps which he had kept from his childhood days.
(Note: sixpence = 5 cents; £1= 2 dollars; 32 x 6d stamps = 16 shillings; 20 shillings = £1.)