Did the US War Bonds get paid back?

Although all history textbooks seem to mention the sale of war bonds during the world wars, none have ever mentioned whether they were paid back as promised (with substantial interest after 10 years). So…were they?

The no frills answer is: Yes, of course they were. The US didn’t default on them or we would have crashed decades ago. They were the precursors to our regular savings bonds.

I’m working now so you’ll have to wait for someone better suited to give a full answer (this is really a GQ question btw). Here is what Wiki has to say about War Bonds if you are interested.


Yes, this is definately a GQ. Clicked wrong forum; could a mod please move?

Moving thread from Great Debates to General Questions.

The wikipedia article stated

While this was commonly done with stamps(even into the 1950’s), I personally don’t think this supposed device for coins was very common. Not saying it didn’t exist, just that in my experience of buying many things relating to coins and stamps over 35 years would indicate that it was rare.

We now return you to the main thread.

They sure were paid off. I went to college on them. The beginning of each semester I went down to the local bank with a handful and the banker and I carefully clipped of the coupons. Their value was entered in my checking account. As I remember the coupons represented interest and when they were gone the bond itself was surrendered for the principle. My parents had bought them during WWII specifically as a college fund for their kids. I was not alone at the bank. There were others doing the same thing. I think they were twenty year bonds so there were some seventeen or fifteen years if interest accrued when I started cashing them.

The Treasury of the United States has never defaulted on either principle, or interest on a treasury instrument.

Bonds, notes, savings bonds, savings stamps included.

It’s the bottom line in our financial strength.


There were also Postal Savings Stamps during the depression of the thirties after the banking moratorium.
After filling a book or card it was exchanged for a bond or something, I’ve forgotten just what.

Technically, I don’t believe all of them were paid back. I’m sure at least a few were forgotten and never redeemed.

Technically, defaulting means failing to repay when redeemed. Being technical is so tedious, especially when you do it wrong.


I had a war bond that my grandmother took out and which I cashed in the early 70s for college. It was treated like a savings bond – interest and all.

Technically, I don’t think he said “defaulted”; he just said “paid back”.

I like bonds. They’re so comforting on days like today.