During World War II, to encourage parents to purchase war bonds in their children’s names, the U.S. Treasury Department asked Disney artists to design a colorful certificate, featuring many of Disney’s most popular characters around the margins. These certificates would be given to each child in whose name a war bond was bought. While the certificates have no bond value, they are interesting collectibles and command prices ranging from $100 to $250 depending on the condition. Because of the Disney association, reproductions have been encountered in the collecting market. The most frequently encountered facsimiles are color laser-printed copies that are misrepresented by unscrupulous sellers as originals. Collectors should hold the certificate up to a bright light and check to see that it has an official government spread-eagle watermark. All government-printed Disney certificates have this watermark.
The example shown here was given to John F. Pilznienski by his parents in July 1945. It is an original watermarked certificate printed by the U.S. Government Printing Office (U.S.GPO) in 1944.
Contrary to what some collectors believe, these certificates were not bonds, and have no cash bond value. They were given as a premium by local war bond campaigns to those who purchased U.S. Treasury Bonds. The document featured 22 different Disney characters. This example was presented by the Michigan War Finance Committee. There were only two authorized printers of these Disney certificates, the U.S.GPO, and the Homer H. Boelter Printing Company. The printer’s name can be found in the lower right of the certificate. The certificates printed by the Boelter Company do not have the eagle watermark but do have the watermark of the paper company that made the paper. There were two types of certificates, the multi-color example here and a rare black-and-white version.