The funny thing about giving a U.S. savings bond as a gift for a child's birthday or other big event is that it doesn't hurt to nudge the child who turned into a grownup and ask, "Hey, did you ever cash that bond?"
Billions of dollars in savings bonds have stopped earning interest but haven't been cashed. We're now talking about savings bonds issued in January 1984 or earlier that reached final maturity after 30 years.
Other bonds issued in 1984 will stop earning interest later this year, depending on the month in which they were issued. Currently, there are about 47 million unredeemed, matured savings bonds worth $16.1 billion.
You can do your own bonds search via the U.S. Treasury Department website at www.treasuryhunt.gov. When you use Treasury Hunt, you plug in your Social Security number and other information online to find savings bonds that reached final maturity and are no longer earning interest. The Treasury Hunt program can find bonds that were issued in 1974 and later, not earlier. Social Security numbers were not required on bonds until 1974.
A $100 Series E savings bond issued in January 1965 would be valued at $936.44 if cashed now. Or an uncashed $100 Series E issued in May 1941 would be worth $362.36.