The serial number on a paper savings bond appears in the lower right corner, according to LearnBonds. The Treasury Department requires the serial number when converting paper bonds to electronic ones. The maturity dates of these bonds vary by issue date.
For replacement of lost or destroyed savings bonds, the owner completes the Treasury Department’s Form 1048, has a bank certify the claim form, and mails it to the Treasury Department. If the serial numbers of the bonds are available, the Bureau of Public Debt generally tracks down the bonds and reissues them within three to four weeks. If the owner does not have the serial number of the bond or does not know how many bonds he owns or their type, the Treasury offers help in finding the information, according to Kiplinger. If the information is not available, the process of finding the bond sometimes takes several months.
Because the Treasury Department offers replacement of lost, stolen or destroyed bonds, consumers should not buy bonds from online auction sites, according to TreasuryDirect. The Treasury Department only allows the original owner of a savings bond to cash it.
As of 2015, the Treasury Department no longer issues paper savings bonds, according to LearnBonds. The last paper bonds were issued in 2011, have an original term of 20 years, and stop earning interest 30 years after the issue date.