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Premium Bonds are 65 on Monday and bigger than ever with more than 113 billion bonds eligible

  • Monday 1 November 2021 marks 65 years since the first Premium Bond was bought
  • A record 113,081,411,333 Bonds were in the October prize draw
  • A total of 538 million prizes have now been paid out

65 years ago on Monday (1 November), the then Lord Mayor of London, Alderman Sir Cuthbert Ackroyd, visited a Post Office and purchased the very first Premium Bond. Little did he know that he was starting a savings revolution. By the end of the first day, more than £5 million of Bonds had been purchased, with the hearts and minds of the nation well and truly captured.

Seven months later, on the 1 June 1957, the nation waited with bated breath in anticipation of the first ever Premium Bonds prize draw. Ahead of 1 June 1957, 49 million Bonds were purchased, meaning that the first draw would see more than 23,142 prizes paid out with a top prize of £1,000.

Premium Bonds more popular than ever 65 years on

The numbers around the first draw were staggering at the time – the nation had never known anything quite like it. However, with Premium Bonds more popular than ever, the figures dwarf in comparison when compared to the latest prize draw. Since Premium Bonds were first launched:

  • The jackpot has increased 99,900% – it currently stands at £1,000,000; when Premium Bonds were launched, it was £1,000.
  • The number of eligible Bonds has increased more than 230,000% – the very first draw saw around 49 million Bonds eligible. This figure currently stands at 113,081,411,333.  The figure has almost doubled since ERNIE’s 60th Birthday, when the number of eligible Bonds sat at 64,057,711,819. In November 2006, when Premium Bonds turned 50, there were 32,329,928,097 eligible Bonds.
  • There are 141 times more prizes now – the first draw saw 23,142 prizes paid out. In the most recent draw, NS&I paid out 3,277,723 prizes. Customer behaviour has also changed, with almost 9 in 10 of the total prizes each month now paid directly into customers’ bank account or automatically reinvested into more Premium Bonds.
  • The prize fund is more than 97 times bigger – the prize fund for the first draw was £969,750. In the most recent draw, NS&I paid out £94,234,500 in tax-free prize money
  • Almost four times as many people hold Premium Bonds now – ahead of the first draw, there were 6 million Premium Bonds holders; there are now 21.1 million.
  • The maximum investment is 100 times more – In November 1956, customers could invest a maximum of £500 in Premium Bonds. The maximum investment limit has risen steadily over the years and now stands at £50,000.
  • 394,007 Bonds bought prior to the first draw are still eligible – of the more than 64 million Bonds that were bought prior to the first draw, 394,007 were still active in October 2021. Up to the October 2021 Premium Bonds draw, these Bonds had won a total of 103 prizes worth £2,600 in 2021.
  • Bond number 200VB673507 is one of the luckiest on record – purchased in January 2013 and belonging to a Premium Bonds holder from the West Midlands, the Bond won four £25 prizes between July 2017 and March 2019.

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