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U.S. Treasury Launches Public Service Ad Campaign, Seeks Owners of $7 Billion in Matured Savings Bonds


May 23, 2000

Treasury's Bureau of the Public Debt today launched a Public Service Advertising Campaign to encourage savings bond owners to redeem the more than $7 billion in matured bonds they are holding.

The radio and print campaign featuring, “Amazing Discoveries” for radio, and “Buried Treasure”for print, is a major step in Public Debt's effort to encourage bond owners to identify and redeem bonds that are no longer earning interest. The public service ads use humor to remind savings bond owners to check their bonds and take action on the ones that have stopped earning interest.

“We want those Americans who are holding more than $7 billion in matured savings bonds to put their money back to work for them,” said Van Zeck, Commissioner of the Public Debt. “We certainly don't want people to hold on to an asset that's not earning interest. Some of these bonds are worth five, even ten, times what people paid for them, which should to be a pleasant surprise to many. For example, someone who paid $75 for a $100 Series E bond back in April of 1960, would find that their bond is worth about $770 today.”

“We're hoping that increased awareness of when bonds stop earning interest will cause people to take a look at their bonds and redeem or exchange the matured bonds,” said Zeck.

Series E bonds sold from May of 1941 through November of 1965 earn interest for 40 years. Bonds sold from December of 1965 on earn interest for 30 years. So, bonds issued in May of 1960 and earlier have stopped earning interest. A similar rule applies to those bonds with a 30-year life. Bonds issued from December of 1965 through May 1970 no longer earn interest.

Investors have the option of exchanging their maturing Series E bonds within a year after maturity for current-income Series HH bonds. HH bonds pay interest at a level rate of 4 percent and allow investors to continue to defer the interest earned on their bonds for Federal income-tax purposes for up to 20 more years. Bonds can be redeemed at most banks and thrift institutions.

To make it easier for publishers to use the ads, Public Debt is distributing the campaign, for the first time, in electronic format on compact disk. The files work with professional desktop publishing applications. The ads are also being sent as traditional camera-ready art.

To find out the value of your savings bonds and whether or not they are still earning interest, use the new “Savings Bond Calculator”on Public Debt's website at Investors can also write to Savings Bonds, Parkersburg, WV 26106-1328, for more information.