When you buy a Treasury bond, the U.S. government guarantees your interest payments and principal. This makes Treasury bonds among the world's safest investments. However, if you want to sell your Treasury bonds before maturity, you lose this guarantee of your principal. While the process of selling a Treasury bond is pretty simple, you'll only receive what another buyer in the open market is willing to pay for your bond. This could be more or less than you originally paid, or what you'd receive at maturity. You also won't receive any more interest payments.
Contact a broker. If your Treasury bonds are in a safe deposit box, or somewhere in your home, you'll need to open an account before you can sell them. If you already have an account, you can simply deposit the bonds with your broker. Otherwise, you'll have to provide basic information, like your date of birth, Social Security number and address, to open the account.
Get a quote. There is always an active market for U.S. Treasury bonds, which are regarded as extremely "liquid" -- or easily traded. Your broker will be able to get you the best available price in the market.
Evaluate the offer. Unless you're selling your Treasury bond out of sheer desperation, you'll want to get a good price for your investment. If you don't think the current market offer is high enough, you can delay your sale for an hour, a day, a week or longer. Because the market constantly changes, you might receive a higher price in the future -- although the converse is also true.
Accept the offer and enter the order. If you're satisfied with the quote you receive from your broker, take the offer. Your trade will be executed almost instantaneously.
Confirm that you receive the proper interest. Treasury bonds pay interest twice per year. If you sell your bond between interest payment dates, you're still entitled to the interest that has accrued since your last payment. For example, if you sell a bond that pays January 1 and July 1 on February 1, you've accrued 31 days of interest. The buyer of your bond is responsible for paying you that amount of interest at the time of the transaction. While your broker will typically credit you this amount automatically, you should verify that you receive all the money that you're owed.
After receiving a Bachelor of Arts in English from UCLA, John Csiszar earned a Certified Financial Planner designation and served 18 years as an investment adviser. Csiszar has served as a technical writer for various financial firms and has extensive experience writing for online publications.