When the last Series E savings bonds left the Treasury back in June of 1980, I bet it didn’t expect that it, and $16.7 billion dollars worth of his buddies, would still be out in the wild almost thirty years later, when they would stop earning interest.
Series E bonds, first introduced in May of 1941, have gone through a lot of transformations through the years and now are offered as Series EE bonds. The Series E bond earns interest for only thirty years, after which it sits dormant. The Treasury estimates that there are about $16.7 billion dollars worth of Series E bonds sitting in shoe boxes and in the corners of closets, many of which no longer bear interest.
The easiest way to find out if you have a Series E bond, besides looking all over your house or bank, is to use Treasury Hunt, the Treasury Department’s handy search tool for Series E bonds. It’s limited to Series E bonds issued since 1974 and searches by the social security number of the purchaser or owner of the bond.
Unfortunately, for bonds before 1974, you’ll have to do look by hand.
Redeeming Series E Bonds
The procedure for redeeming a Series E bond is the same as any other paper bond. The easiest way is to call your bank to see if they redeem bonds, they probably do. This is the easiest method because you don’t need to present much in the way of identification if you’ve had a bank account there for at least six months. Otherwise, you’ll need to check to see what the bank will need before they will redeem the bond.
You can redeem $1,000 of bonds at any one time with only documentary evidence (driver’s license). If you want to redeem more than $1,000, you’ll need to visit a Treasury Retail Securities Site.
Jim writes about money issues at his personal finance blog Bargaineering.com.