Specialty Savings Bonds: War/Defense Bonds, Savings Notes/Freedom Shares And Patriot Bonds

Last Updated: March 5, 2019 | by Jackie Brahney | reviewed by Jack Quinn

Freedom Share Savings Bond

Specialty Savings Bonds were designed to promote and sell U.S. Savings Bonds By the U.S. Treasury Department to help fund U.S. wars and anti-terrorism programs.

In an effort to market and sell U.S. Savings Bonds to the American public – essentially to fund war and anti-terrorism efforts since 1941, the U.S. government periodically created specialty Savings Bonds and products which were associated with current national events or circumstances.

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These bonds were often marked or stamped with the specific name on an existing bond series (such as E, EE) and usually operated with the exact same rules, rates and regulations.

What Are Defense/War Bonds?

The U.S. Treasury Department developed a number of initiatives for the American people to help promote the selling of savings bonds during World War II, including reaching out to women, children, schools, farmers, and workers. Celebrities, politicians, media, radio, television, newspapers, magazines, movies, advertisements and some unusual celebrity promotional events, also promoted savings bonds (i.e. War Bonds) as well as War Stamp sales.War Bond” were offered  between 1942-45.

At the end of World War II, more than 85 million Americans – nearly half the population — purchased War Bonds totaling $185.7 billion. There has never been a more successful savings bond campaign since.

The War bond eventually became known as the Series E Savings Bond (or E Bond) and were purchased by tens of millions of families as a popular way to save and was seen as a very patriotic duty to support the country.

  • On April 30, 1941, to help the United States finance World War II, President Franklin D. Roosevelt announced the Series E Defense Savings Bonds, also called “Defense Bonds.”
  • On May 1, 1941 (the next day when the public could purchase them), Roosevelt purchased one of the first E Savings Bonds.
  • After the attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941, Defense Bonds became known as War Savings Bonds, commonly referred to as “War Bonds.”
  • Norman Rockwell’s “Four Freedoms” paintings were published in The Saturday Evening Post publication, which gave national attention to Savings (War) Bonds. The paintings were taken on a national tour raising approximately $130 million in War Bond sales.
  • Movie premieres sometimes offered free admission with the purchase of a savings bond.
  • The Hollywood Bond Cavalcade was formed. It was a traveling variety show featuring movie stars such as Judy Garland, Lucille Ball and Mickey Rooney.
  • Various parades and “touring shows” featured movie stars and entertainers that traveled throughout the country promoting bond sales.
  • War Stamps were also introduced in denominations as little as 10¢, 25¢, 50¢, $1, $5 so that any citizen, including children, could support the war for as little as one dime.
  • The “Schools at War” program was also behind the bond efforts. Through bond and stamps sales, at U.S. schools, 90,000 Jeeps were purchased.
  • Around this time, the “Minute Man of Concord” sculpture, by David Chester French, was chosen as a symbol of the U.S. Savings Bonds Program.

How Much Are My War Bonds Worth?

To obtain current savings bond values for paper War Bonds, Series E, EE, I or Freedom Shares/Savings Notes and Patriot Bonds, use the SavingsBonds.com complimentary calculator, which provides accurate savings bond values, interest rates and detailed financial information. Included is a printable, personalized, color-coded Savings Bond Inventory Report with a “what this means to you” explanation.

Where Can Cash In War Bonds?

Go to your local bank or financial institution first. Call ahead to learn what redemption documentation is needed and daily redemption limits. If you have any problems redeeming, contact the U.S Treasury Department.

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What Are Savings Notes/Freedom Shares?

Savings Notes or Freedom Shares (SN/FS) were introduced by President Lyndon B. Johnson on February 21, 1967, to help promote the sale of bonds, to fund the rising costs of the Vietnam War. They were only offered for a three-year period, May 1967 – October 1970. They were available only in combination with Series E Savings Bonds of the same or greater denominations as a way to encourage individuals to save and invest in U.S. Treasury savings securities and support war efforts.  They are registered, definitive securities that are not transferable.

How Do Savings Notes/Freedom Notes Work?

  • SN/FS are paper bonds, which were sold on a discount basis at 81 percent of the face amount. Ex: a SN/FS with a $100 face value was purchased for $81.00.
  • Interest is paid at redemption as part of the current redemption value.

SN/FS accrued interest at a variable, market-based rate (also applicable to Series E and EE bonds) or the guaranteed minimum investment yield, whichever was higher.

What Denominations Of Savings Notes/Freedom Shares Were Sold?

Issued in four denominations: $25, $50, $75, & $100

What Are My Savings Notes/Freedom Shares Worth?

To obtain current savings bond values for paper War Bonds, Series E, EE, I or Freedom Shares and Savings Notes, use the SavingsBonds.com complimentary calculator, which provides accurate savings bond values, interest rates and detailed financial information. Included is a printable, personalized, color-coded Savings Bond Inventory Report with a “what this means to you” explanation.

When Do Savings Notes/Freedom Shares Mature?

  • Original maturity period was 4 years and 6 months (keep in mind, SN/FS are purchased at 81% of face value – not 50% like most paper E Bonds).
  • Optional extensions of maturity consisted of two 10-year periods and an additional 5 years and six month period were granted to make the investments’ total interest-earning life span 30 years.
  • Reach final maturity in 30 years from issue date.

NOTE: All SN/FS have reached final maturity in October 2000 and should be cashed in.

How Do I Cash In A Savings Bond or Freedom Share/Savings Notes?

Go to your local bank or financial institution first. Call ahead to learn what redemption documentation is needed and daily redemption limits. They may mail in the bonds on your behalf for redemption.  If you have any problems redeeming, contact the U.S Treasury Department.

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What Are Patriot Bonds?

Patriot Bonds were marketed to the American people just three months after the devastating September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks against the United States. The Treasury Department promoted Patriot Bonds as a way to financially support the country’s anti-terrorism efforts. Proceeds from the bonds would be deposited into the government’s “General Fund” and spent “according to the law” which could include funding anti-terrorism programs. The bond proceeds did not have to be earmarked specifically for U.S government Defense or U.S. War budgets.

How Do Patriot Bonds Work?

  • Patriot Bonds were purchased over-the-counter at banks, credit unions and other financial institutions as well as through employer sponsored Payroll Savings Plans.
  • Patriot Bonds were issued during a 10-year period from December 2001 through December 2011.
  • They were issued in paper form only and purchased for half their face value, increase in value monthly and interest is compounded semi-annually.
  • Patriot Bonds are simply Series EE Bonds, which have the name “Patriot Bond” stamped on them.
  • Other than the words “Patriot Bond” inscribed on the bond, they look and perform the exact same way as Series EE Savings Bonds.
  • Any EE Bond purchased through financial institutions after December 10, 2001 had the words “Patriot Bond” printed on the top half of the bond between the Social Security Number and the Issue Date.
  • EE Bonds issued during this 10-year period via Payroll Savings Plans and some other plans, did not have the “Patriot Bond” stamp. The machines needed to inscribe the bonds were too expensive for some vendors who produced these bonds.
  • Patriot Bonds continue to confuse investors as some Patriot Bonds were stamped with the inscription and some were not during the same 10-year period.

What Is My Patriot Bond Worth?

  • Patriot Bonds purchased prior to May 1, 2005, paid a variable interest rate that was subject to change every six months.
  • Patriot Bonds purchased as of May 1, 2005 and after, earn a fixed rate that is determined at the time of issuance. That rate remains the same for the first 20 years. For the remaining 10 years, the foxed bond rate may change. Investors will be notified first.

Patriot Bonds Have The Exact Same Rules, Rates, Regulations, Term And Conditions As EE SAVINGS BONDS.

What Is My Patriot Bond Worth?

When using the SavingsBonds.com complimentary calculator use the EE Bond selection, when valuing any Patriot Bonds.

To obtain current savings bond values for paper War Bonds, Series E, EE, I or Freedom Shares and Savings Notes, use the SavingsBonds.com complimentary calculator, which provides accurate savings bond values, interest rates and detailed financial information. Included is a printable, personalized, color-coded Savings Bond Inventory Report with a “what this means to you” explanation.

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When Do Patriot Bonds Mature?

  • Patriot bonds earn interest for 30 years from their issue date.
  • They are guaranteed to reach initial maturity (their face value) on their 20th year anniversary.
  • There is a 3-month interest penalty if the bond is redeemed before 5 years.

See Series EE Savings Bonds Maturity Information, which also applies to Patriot Bonds.

Where Do I Cash In A Patriot Bond?

See Series EE Savings Bonds Cash-In Information, which also applies To Patriot Bonds.

Go to your local bank or financial institution first. Call ahead to learn what redemption documentation is needed and daily redemption limits. If you have any problems redeeming, contact the U.S Treasury Department.

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What Taxes Are Owed On Patriot Bonds?

  • Patriot Bonds (as well as EE Bonds) are subject to federal income taxes.
  • There is no state or local income tax on the interest earned.
  • Interest earned could be tax exempt if used for qualified education purposes (see Education bond details).

See Series EE Savings Bonds Tax Information, which also applies to Patriot Bonds.

Created on: February 19, 2019


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Jackie Brahney

Marketing & Editorial Director at SavingsBonds.com
Jackie Brahney is the Marketing and Editorial Director and most notably, an U.S. Savings Bond Expert for SavingsBonds.com. Since 1991, she has done extensive research on savings bonds and state of the art savings bond valuation systems, and heads the company's public relations and marketing initiatives.
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