What is a Bearer Bond?

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Pick any action movie ever made and chances are someone is trying to steal a boatload of bearer bonds. My first introduction to them was in the Bruce Willis classic Die Hard but my favorite movie involving guns and bearer bonds was Heat. As a kid, all I knew was that bearer bonds were valuable.

Very valuable.

They were so valuable that guys would arm themselves with automatic weapons and assault rifles just to steal a bunch of them. As a kid, and honestly that’s all you needed to know to understand the plot, I thought bearer bonds were the bee’s knees.

Move over Benjamins, I want some bearer bonds.

Only later did I learn that, while still awesome, bearer bonds were just bonds… and bonds are actually quite boring.


What is a Bearer Bond?

Bearer Bond

We all know what a bond is, a debt security issued by a government or other organization, and a bearer bond is one where there is no registered owner. The bearer of the bond, that is the person who produces it, is considered the owner of the bond. If you sell it to me, we don’t have to transfer any records or record it anywhere.

The appeal is in its simplicity – no records, no red tape, just hand over the piece of paper and we’re done. The risk is that if you lose it, either because of theft, fire, or act of God, it’s gone. Kaput.

So if you ever see a bearer bond, snatch it up… possession is actually ten tenths of the law.

Now you can see why bearer bonds are so appealing to thieves.

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