If they all did so, it would act as a mini-federal stimulus package for the country's ailing economy, The Miami Herald reported Sunday.
Many of the Series E bonds were given as birthday gifts to children in the 1950s and 1960s, mainly because it was considered patriotic and they were relatively inexpensive. But many of them were tucked away and never redeemed, and their collective value has become huge, the newspaper said.
"If you've got the bonds out there, and particularly if you're hurting in this economy, it's a great thing to cash them in," said Steve Meyerhardt, spokesman for the federal Bureau of Public Debt.
The Herald said Series E bonds were discontinued in 1980 in favor of Series EE bonds, which cost buyers one-half their face value, while another type of bond, Series I, was first issued in 1998 and is indexed to keep up with the inflation rate.