€2.74m of prize bonds go unclaimed as fund reaches record high of €3.4bn
Almost a quarter of a million people shared €16.4m in prize bonds winnings last year, as the company that runs the fund marked 30 years in operation.
At the end of 2018, there were €2.74m of unclaimed prizes.
Prize bonds sales last year were €574m - taking the overall fund to €3.4bn.
They are ultimately issued by the National Treasury Management Agency, which borrows money on behalf of the Government.
Unclaimed prizes are held indefinitely until claimed by a bond holder and every prize winner is contacted at the address last registered with the Prize Bond Company.
Full details of all prizes are included in a database which is listed on www.StateSavings.ie for customers to check.
It is run as a low-cost debt for taxpayers, with retail investors opting to be eligible for the regular prize draws instead of interest payments.
And unlike lottery tickets, prize bonds hold their value.
The Prize Bond Company was established 30 years ago to manage the scheme, which ultimately dates back to 1957.
The value of the fund at the end of 2018 reached €3.415bn, an increase of almost 8pc on 2017 and the highest in the scheme's history.
The number of cash prizes won by customers fell last year to 224,474 from 302,064 in 2017. However, there were also €328m of prize bonds cashed in last year, up 11pc from 2017.
More than 4,600 prizes are issued weekly with the bumper €1m prize draws held twice a year, each June and December.