A savings bond bought in the 40's. How much is it worth now?

I have a bachelor great-uncle who is in his mid 80’s. My grandma says he told her he still has savings bonds he bought in high school. I suppose back in the early 40’s or late 30’s.

Any ideas what a $100 US savings bond bought in say 1940 would be worth now?

Savings bonds, at least ones that you buy today, stop earning interest after 30 years. So that $100 savings bond might not have gained any interest at all since 1970! However that assumes that the rules for savings bonds were not different back then (I don’t know.)

There is also an online tool at savingsbonds.gov you can use to calculate the worth of a savings bond if you have the serial number. I don’t know if the calculators go back that far, but you could point him to the calculator to give it whirl.

Do you know what series it is? there are calculators provided by the US treasury here:
you don’t need the serial number, just the date, series and demonination.

If it was a Series E bond (a bond which was first available in May, 1941) purchased in May, 1941, it’s present value is $362. (with series E, you didn’t pay the face value, BTW - you paid $75 for a $100 bond.)

I don’t know what series it is but I know there is not a huge difference in value.

Hello Again, I looked at that website before but couldn’t get a number from it until I started punching in numbers you provided. Gave me an idea.

That’s all I was looking for. $100 to $362, I don’t think the guy is as rich as Grandma thinks he is (at least in the treasury bond sense, he owns a bunch of good farmland too).


Since the Series E stopped gaining value after 40 years, it hasn’t changed since 1981, except to lose out to inflation. In 1981, $362 was equivalent to $895 in today’s dollars.


ETA: Bureau of Labor Statistics inflation calculator

He’s lost far more from inflation that he’s earned from interest. Playing with various inflation calculators, $360 in 2011 dollars is roughly equivalent to $22 in 1940, so he’s really lost [del]80%[/del] 70% of the value of his original money. (The $100 savings bond cost $75 to purchase)

Now, if he cashed out in 1980, he still would have lost to inflation. $360 in 1980 dollars is about $60 in 1940 dollars, which is a 20% loss.

ETA: Did the math wrong. And the above-mentioned series E bonds matured in 40 years.

That’s an old guy for you, but I’m not much better. I have CD’s that were taken out when I was born (24 years ago) that are earning less than 1%. Maybe I should do something about that, like cash them all in and get one earning a bit more. I took out a bigger one from a credit union I don’t normally use for 2.23% a year ago. I should do some shopping.

Not like it matters for him but it’s funny when you think about it. The guy knows he has these bonds, and I’m sure they sent a notice when the earnings expired, and he just said, ‘eh, piss on it’.

Too had he didn’t buy some gold with the money