Dear Sun Spots: There was an article in the Sun Journal recently about U.S. Savings Bonds advising that there are some complexities about when and how they can be cashed in. I intended to cut it out but forgot to do so. How may I obtain a copy of that article? Your assistance will be appreciated. – No Name, No Town.

The information you are referring to is from the Dec. 29 column. Articles published in back issues can be accessed directly from the Sun Journal’s Web site at by following the steps below:

Click on “Search and Back Issues” in the left-hand column. Type in related keywords in the keyword field; for this article, type in “Sun Spots Savings Bond.”

Select a category from the category drop-down list; for this article select “Advice.”

Select the start and end date range for when the article was published by mouse-clicking the calendar icon; for this article select Dec. 29, 2006, for both the start and end dates.

Select the maximum number of search results; for this article 25 is sufficient.

Click the headline of the search result you would like to read in full; for this article search, the result headline is “Christmas order never arrived,” which is the first Sun Spots letter of the column. By clicking the headline, you can read the full column, which includes the U.S. Savings Bonds letter printed below:

Dear Sun Spots: Could you please find out how long it takes for a U.S. Savings Bond, Series EE, to mature? Thank you. – Wondering, No Town.

According to, Series EE bonds are issued on paper and electronically. Paper bonds are purchased at half their face value or denomination; for example, you purchase a $100 Series EE Bond issued on paper for $50. Electronic bonds are purchased at face value; for example, you purchase a $100 Series EE Bond electronically via Treasury Direct for $100.

The minimum purchase is $25 for a $50 paper bond or $25 for a $25 electronic bond from Treasury Direct. The maximum annual purchase is $30,000 in paper bonds and another $30,000 in Treasury Direct bonds (that’s a total of $60,000). The limit applies to bonds where your name appears, so you cannot evade the limits by using different co-owners. Series EE Bonds earn market-based rates that are subject to change every 6 months. There is no way to predict when a Series EE bond will reach its face value. For example, a Series EE Bond earning an average of 5% would reach face value in 14½ years, while a bond earning an average of 6% would reach face value in 12 years.

Series EE Bonds issued after Feb. 1, 2003, must be held for at least 12 months before they can be cashed. Bonds issued before that date can be cashed anytime after 6 months.

Series EE Bonds absolutely should be cashed before their final maturity dates for the following reasons. First, if you fail to cash the Series EE bond before the critical date, you will be losing money because the bond will no longer be earning interest. Second, under IRS regulations, tax is due on the interest in the year the bond is cashed or it reaches final maturity. If you hold the bond beyond Dec. 31 of its maturity year, when you finally get around to cashing it, you will not only owe the tax on the earnings, but interest and penalties besides.

For current rates, call 1-800-4US-Bonds (1-800-487-2663). You can call any Federal Reserve Bank to request redemption tables for U.S. Savings Bonds. You may also request the tables from the Bureau of Public Debt, Bonds Division, Parkersburg, WV 26106-1328.

Dear Sun Spots: I have a Sony 8mm video camera recorder that has been in storage for about three years. I am wondering if someone in the area could check this out and hopefully begin using it again. I live in Jay and would be willing to travel up to 40 miles. Hope someone can help. I can be reached at 645-2444. Thank you. – C.T. – Wilton.

Sun Spots welcomes responses from readers who may know of a reputable video camera service center in the Wilton area.

Readers responding to the Jan. 24 column and seeking applications for the Rebuilding Together Lewiston/Auburn program: should please note that application forms may not yet be available at Community Concepts or City Hall but are forthcoming. Please give both City Hall and Community Concepts an opportunity to obtain the forms before calling or visiting. FMI please call Todd Gagne at 782-0727.

This column is for you, our readers. It is for your questions and comments. There are only two rules: You must write to the column and sign your name (we won’t use it if you ask us not to). Letters will not be returned or answered by mail, and telephone calls will not be accepted. Your letters will appear as quickly as space allows. Address them to Sun Spots, P.O. Box 4400, Lewiston, ME 04243-4400. Inquiries can also be posted at in the Advice section under Opinion on the left-hand corner of your computer screen. In addition, you can e-mail your inquiries to [email protected]

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