Your parents or grandparents may have purchased government bonds during World War II to help fund the country's war effort. These bonds, formally known as Series E Savings Bonds, were simply called "war bonds" back in the 1940s. You could buy a $100 bond at a discount, say $75, and then redeem it at full value when the bond matured. Larger and smaller denominations were also available. Bonds held beyond the original maturity date continued earning interest for 40 years from the initial sale and are now typically worth several times the face value. War bonds can be redeemed at many banks or through the U.S. Treasury Department.
Determine Bond Value
Visit the online Savings Bond Calculator maintained by the U.S. Department of Treasury.
Select "E Bonds" from the pull-down menu under "Series."
Select the amount of the bond's face value from the pull-down menu under "Denomination."
Enter the serial number, found in the lower-right corner on the face of the bond, in the "Bond Serial Number" field.
Press "Calculate" to see the value of the war bond.
Bonds Worth Less than $1,000
Ask the bank in your community if it redeems savings bonds or, if it does not, to refer you to a bank that does.
Bring the savings bond and identification documents, such as a driver's license, to the bank.
Present identification to the bank officer to establish that the name on the war bond is your name.
Follow the bank's procedures to establish your ownership if your name differs from the name on the war bond. For example, if you inherited the bond from a parent, the bank will instruct you as to the documentation it requires for redemption.
Bonds Worth More than $1,000
Bring your bonds, Social Security number and identification documents to your bank.
Follow the bank's procedures to establish your ownership if your name differs from the name on the war bond. Banks often differ in the types of documentation required to establish proof of ownership .
Sign the request for payment statement on the back of the bond in the presence of an officer of the bank.
Mail the bond to the address of the Treasury Retail Securities Site that your bank provides to have your redemption processed.
- Savings bonds are non-transferable. You must be the original purchaser, a spouse or have inherited the bond in order to cash it in. You can't cash a bond that you find, say, in an antique shop.
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