Money Helps
How to find a lost savings bond from childhood.
By Ellen McGirt


(MONEY Magazine) - The Great Savings Bond Treasury Hunt

Q When our daughter Heidi was born in 1970, her uncle gave her a $50 savings bond. It appears that we've lost the bond. Is there any way she can get the money now? --Felicia and Tom Lee, Charlotte, N.C.

ANSWER Don't beat yourself up. The government replaces thousands of lost or destroyed savings bonds each year--which is probably the reason that the Treasury Department is now making it easier for people to track down misplaced bonds. It recently expanded its online database and now has records on some 4 million matured savings bonds that haven't been redeemed. (Gotta love that nimble government bureaucracy.) Bonds issued after 1974 list Social Security numbers, making them easy to track. But since your daughter's was issued at a time when bonds were not required to have SSNs, it may not include hers.

No social? No problem. We talked with the Treasury's Bureau of Public Debt, and they advised you to send a request letter (mail it to the Bureau of Public Debt, P.O. Box 7012, Parkersburg, W.V. 26106). Include the approximate date the bond was issued and your daughter's name, birth date and address at the time the bond was issued. "The more details we get, the easier it is to track the bond," says bureau rep Stephen Meyerhardt.

It's also helpful to include the name and the Social Security number of the purchaser because sometimes the bond giver's name is inscribed on the bond--especially if it's a gift to a baby. Unfortunately, bonds without SSNs are saved on microfilm, so it can take some time to look them up. But it's usually worth the wait: Assuming your daughter's gift was a $50 Series E savings bond purchased in 1970, it would now be worth $279.38. Not too shabby, considering that it would have cost only $37.50 to buy at the time.

You sent in the request letter and--poof!--your daughter received a response from the Treasury Department a few weeks later confirming that a bond had been issued to her. But, wouldn't you know, it was cashed in back in the early 1980s.

"This is not unusual at all," Meyerhardt says consolingly. "Many times people simply don't remember that they actually cashed in Uncle Fred's or Aunt Margie's bond a while back." Top of page

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Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer LIBOR Warning: Neither BBA Enterprises Limited, nor the BBA LIBOR Contributor Banks, nor Reuters, can be held liable for any irregularity or inaccuracy of BBA LIBOR. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.