Under other circumstances, the framed WW1 posters discovered in an Indiana attic may well have ended up among the Victorian mahogany pedestal desks of the local saleroom. However, good sense prevailed and instead they have been donated to the local history museum.
When two members of the Greencastle American Legion discovered some ‘old pictures’ during an attic clear-out, they dashed over to inform the executive director of Putnam County Museum. At first she was nonplussed, thinking it was just some Legion photographs which had been blown up. Her indifference turned to excitement when she went to the post attic to check for herself – and discovered over 40 WWI posters promoting people to buy American Government Bonds to fund the war effort.
Also called Liberty bonds, US war bonds may be a rare sight in Cumbria, but antique oak partners desks should still be checked, as British people also purchased war bonds, which were often passed down through families in the hope the government would one day repay the money. Today, they are probably worth more as collectors’ items. Equally collectible are the posters produced to sell them. The first two US Liberty Loan programmes met with an unenthusiastic response. Bonds were popularised at rallies by stars like Al Jolson and Charlie Chaplin, and famous artists were drafted in for the posters. Some nine million of these were produced and 14 of them are now hanging in the Putnam County Museum.
If you have an antique mahogany pedestal desk in your Lancashire home, ask a Preston antique dealer about framed prints of the same period and create a theme.
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