Redeem Treasury Series E Bonds

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.

Good hunting!

Jim writes about money issues at his personal finance blog

(Photo: blitzcat)


Edit Your Comment

  1. fs2k2isfun says:

    Good thing I don’t have bonds in excess of $1000 in value. I’m in Florida and the Treasury says the nearest site to redeem them is in Pittsburgh.

    • morlo says:

      You can redeem online

    • montusama says:

      I’m in Western New York, and it says I have to go to Pittsburgh, last time I guess, NYC had its own Federal Reserve location.

    • soj4life says:

      No. You can redeem them at your bank. If you do not have an account at a bank, you can redeem up to $1,000.00 per day.

      Pittsburgh is just a bond processing site, you can’t go there with $1,500 in bonds and get them redeemed.

  2. steveliv says:

    hmmm.. i know i have quite a few savings bonds (in a safe deposit box at the bank) but when i search my ss# nothing comes up….anyone else tried the site?

    • steveliv says:

      maybe i need to check and see if those that i have are Series E

    • Laura Northrup says:

      I found that some savings bonds I received as a child were issued using a relative’s SSN instead of my own by mistake. The relative has since died, and I haven’t even tried to cash it in.

      • myrna_minkoff says:

        If the bonds are in your name, you should still be able to cash them in. It requires some hoop-jumping, but nothing excessive.

      • sponica says:

        yeah one of my bonds is like that….i guess i’ll see what happens in a zillion years when it finally reaches face value.

    • blitzcat says:

      I did the same thing about 3 years ago, and found nothing. My parents later found my bonds in their deposit box. It may be because children weren’t required to have SSN’s until a certain age back in the early 1980’s- So I was 5 or 6 when I got my SSN, my younger sister even has a lower number than me.

      Anyhow, I redeemed about $2,600 at my credit union in about two hours to pay off my car loan. Maybe you only have to visit a TRSS if you have a single bond worth over $1000. I had lots of 25-100 denominations.

      • Powerlurker says:

        You’re still not technically “required” to have one. However, in the 80’s the IRS decided to stop people from fraudulently claiming dependents on their tax returns by requiring them to give the SSN for every dependent they were claiming (to prove that they actually existed). Before that, most children would apply for an SNN at some point after their birth, but before their first job. After the change, most everyone started applying for their child’s SSN at birth so they could claim the tax breaks.

  3. f86sabre says:

    Related question, I had an uncle give me a number of EE bonds when I was a kid. They have his name on them. How do I redeem them?

    • morlo says:

      Your uncle scammed you. If he didn’t request replacements yet maybe he feels enough remorse to cash them and give you the money

      • myrna_minkoff says:

        “Scam” seems harsh. Maybe Uncle didn’t quite understand the ordering process/didn’t have the kid’s SSN.

    • quail says:

      Look closely at the bond. Does your name appear anywhere? I’m not sure what the procedure was back in the day, but the bonds I got my son at birth have my name and his. This is in case I need to cash them in for some reason or other, plus it prevents him from cashing them unless he’s an adult. Or some such thing. In reality it’s to cover all of the bases when dealing with a security for a minor.

      Maybe your uncle did the same?

      (side note: my parents cashed in all of my bonds when I was kid because this was the way they were given to me, their name and mine. Never saw any of the $500 that I knew was once there. Stupid multi-level marketing scam…)

  4. ssnseawolf says:

    The fundamental idea of such bonds is that the owner is aware that the bond will accrue interest for, such as in this case, thirty years.

    So yes, Treasury fully expected investors to be aware of the bond’s existence thirty years on.

    • sponica says:

      perhaps, but in reality the bonds go in an envelope in a drawer somewhere….and you don’t always remember you have those bonds. i forgot until about 2 years ago. cashed in the ones that were more than face value and went on a vacation.

  5. mandy_Reeves says:

    I just redeemed one that was 25 bucks originally, and after it matured in 08, I ended up with like 180 dollars I think

  6. soj4life says:

    I had a customer that redeemed an e bond from ’53 earlier in the week. the size of the old bonds are different then the ones most people have, they are taller yet not as wide.