Savings Bonds Serial Number

Paper savings bonds and other paper bond certificates may seem like old-fashioned investments, but many people still hold them due to a lifetime of prudent investing or because they received them from family and friends as birthday or holiday gifts.

It's important to know how to read these paper certificates so you can interpret the information on them. It's also important to learn how to read paper corporate bonds and other types of bonds if you hold any of those, especially if you find yourself inheriting physical bonds that are still outstanding due to their long duration.

Redeeming (Cashing) EE and E Savings Bonds; RESEARCH CENTER. Products In Depth. Treasury Bills. Treasury Notes. Treasury Bonds. Other Treasury Securities. Send a signed request to the address below. Be sure to include the serial number of the bond. If the owner or both co-owners have died, you must provide proof such as a copy of.

When you first look at a paper bond certificate, it may seem confusing. When you understand the purpose of the investment, however, the information on the certificate itself will make more sense. This guide explains how to read most bonds.

U.S. Savings Bonds

Most U.S. savings bonds issued these days are in electronic form because financial institutions stopped selling paper bonds in 2012. It's still possible to obtain paper bonds, however. Many people buy them through the Internal Revenue Service with their tax refunds, and some people still hold bonds they purchased years ago.

Reading a paper U.S. savings bond is easy:

Savings Bonds Serial Number
  • The bond will indicate its series in the top right. The different series of bonds – E, EE and I – each have their own rules, interest rates and features.
  • The number in the top left is the denomination. This is how much the purchaser paid for the bond. When the bond is redeemed, it will be worth more than this number because it will have accrued interest.
  • The bond's issue date will be printed on the top right below the series designation. The print date will appear below that.
  • The purchaser's name and address will be printed in the center-left of the bond. The co-owners name is printed below that.
  • The bond's serial number appears on the bottom right of the bond.

The U.S. Treasury Department currently issues only series EE and I bonds. Paper EE bonds are no longer available for purchase. Bonds can be redeemed or cashed in after 12 months.

Corporate and Other Bonds

Businesses frequently issue bonds to raise money. State and local governments and other government entities also issue bonds to fund various projects.

If you own them in paper form, these bonds may differ significantly from each other, but all will contain some basic information about the bond issuer, the investment itself, and the bond's purchaser. Here's what to look for:

  • The bond certificate will show an amount in U.S. dollars if the bond is issued in the United States and in foreign currency if it's issued somewhere else.
  • The certificate also will show a bond number or a serial number which is unique to that bond.
  • The issuer's name will appear, usually on the top of the certificate. The bond may also indicate the reason why the issuer is selling bonds and may indicate the interest rate or the terms of the investment.
  • The bond will show the bond purchaser's name. This may be printed on the certificate or written into a blank space.

Some short-term corporate debt securities with maturities of less than 270 days are referred to as 'commercial paper,' but this is largely the domain of institutional investors. With the exception of commercial paper held indirectly through money market mutual funds or other comparable cash equivalents, it's unlikely you'll ever invest in commercial paper yourself given the demonstrably superior alternatives such as short-term certificates of deposit or even savings accounts.

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Series I Bonds Current Value

If your paper U.S. Savings Bonds are ever lost, stolen or destroyed, you can obtain replacement bonds from the U.S. Treasury. The Treasury keeps records of the paper savings bonds it has issued, and it can search those records to replace your lost bonds. If you have the serial numbers, obtaining replacement bonds is simple. If you don’t know the serial numbers, obtaining replacements will involve some detective work on your part.


In the event that you lost a bond's serial number, you can request a replacement using the Treasury's FS 1048 form.

Review Known Data

It would be most helpful to provide the name, address and Social Security number of the person who purchased the bonds. Other useful information includes the issue dates of the lost bonds, or at least a range of time when they were issued, such as “first quarter of year XXXX.” Perhaps you also know the face value of the lost bonds and details about how they became lost. Note down anything else you know about the bonds.


Fill Out a Replacement Form

The Treasury has a form, PDF 1048, that you must fill out to apply for replacement bonds. In addition to requesting information about the lost bonds, the form asks whether you owned the bonds or have the authority to act on behalf of the bond owner.

Once you have filled in the form, don’t sign it. You have to take it to a certifying officer at your bank or credit union (not a notary) and have that person verify your identity and certify your signature. You then mail the completed form to the Bureau of the Public Debt in Parkersburg, West Virginia. There is no fee for the Treasury’s records search or replacement bonds.

Savings Bonds Serial Number Location

Choose Between Redeeming or Replacing

You have the option of redeeming the lost bonds rather than getting replacement bonds. If the lost bonds have reached final maturity, your only option is redemption, with payment by check or direct deposit into your bank account. If you choose replacement bonds, they will bear the original issue date and will be credited with all accrued interest.

If the lost original bonds turn up after you've received a redemption payment or replacement, you won't be able to cash in the originals. They will have become property of the U.S. government and must be returned to the Bureau of the Public Debt.

Look for Additional Information

In the event that you don’t have the serial numbers of the lost bonds, you might be able to find other information that can help the Treasury find your bond purchase records. If you don’t know anything about the lost bonds other than the fact that someone once had some savings bonds somewhere, you are probably out of luck. The Treasury needs something specific to go on in searching its records. The more information you can supply, the better your chances of obtaining replacements for your lost bonds.

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Us Savings Bonds Serial Number Location

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Savings Bonds Serial Number

About the Author

Savings Bonds Serial Number Lookup

Herb Kirchhoff has more than three decades of hands-on experience as an avid garden hobbyist and home handyman. Since retiring from the news business in 2008, Kirchhoff takes care of a 12-acre rural Michigan lakefront property and applies his experience to his vegetable and flower gardens and home repair and renovation projects.