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Although series E bonds were the mainstay of U.S. savings bond sales starting in the World War II era and going for almost four decades, the E bonds were replaced by series EE bonds starting in 1980. If you own some old series E savings bonds, the U.S. Treasury provides some modern technology to help you look up the value of those bonds.
The United States started issuing savings bonds in 1935, allowing the individuals to buy bonds in small denominations. The early series A through D were referred to as "Baby Bonds" due to the low denomination amounts. The first series E bonds were issued on May 1, 1941. During the war the bonds were referred to as Defense Bonds and then War Bonds. The sale of series E bonds continued after World War II until they were replaced by the current series EE bonds in 1980.
Series E bonds were initially set to earn interest for 10 years and then mature. Over the years, the final maturity of the bonds was extended in 10-year increments to either 30 or 40 years. Upon reaching final maturity, series E bonds stopped earning interest. The last series E bonds reached final maturity in 2010. A matured savings bond can still be redeemed for that final maturity value.
On the TreasuryDirect.gov website the U.S. Treasury provides an online calculator that will calculate the final maturity value for any series E bond all the way back to the first May 1941 issued bonds. For example, a $100 series E savings bond issued at that time matured in May 1981 with a final value of $362.36. Find the savings bond calculator under the Tools tab on the TreasuryDirect website. The calculator will let you find the value of a list of bonds and then print out the result for all of your savings bonds.
The U.S. Treasury continues to sell series EE bonds, the follow up to the series E bonds. However, in 2012, the Treasury stopped issuing and selling paper EE savings bonds. Now bonds are only purchased in electronic form through an account on the TreasuryDirect website. Series I bonds, which earn an interest rate adjusted for inflation were introduced in 1998. Paper series I bonds are only available as part of an income tax return.
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