By Gwen Cornwell
Remember When 

Interest Rates Gone-By


It is the season of gift giving. Do you remember receiving US Savings Bonds for Christmas and Birthdays?

Not many of us thought of the value of this gift, probably because as kids we preferred something much more tangible. It seemed to be the thing for grandparents to do for grandchildren. So following tradition, I decided that was what I needed to do for our two new great-grandchildren, thus prompting a little research.

I haven’t really decided that there is much value to this anymore. My opinion only, but I did discover that as early as 1916 you could buy Postal Savings for as little as $1, and you were paid 2 percent interest. WOW! Compare that with today’s interest rates. When you consider the value of a $1 today, compared to the early 1900s, it gives me great respect for our forefathers that made the trek to our part of the country to homestead. If interest on a mere $1 earned you 2 percent interest, what might have the interest rate been on borrowed money? No wonder free land was so enticing.

So back to Postal Savings, which I understand was set up to get money out of hiding. Does that mean it was to discourage burying your savings under the apple tree, or hiding it under the feather ticking?

Postal savings, then postal savings stamps, were the forerunners to US Savings Bonds. E Bonds and EE Bonds were the bonds of my generation, but like postal savings, they are pretty much delegated to Remembers also.

Oh, I must admit that the real source of my information came from my interest in “old things.” I unearthed a 1916 complimentary booklet from THE FAIR STORE, with locations in Glasgow, Malta and Saco, Mont. I was surprised at all of the information packed in this little calendar book, and I am willing to bet none of that information is found in a history or science book of today.


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