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Premium bonds celebrate 50th birthday

02 November 2006
National Savings and Investments (NS&I) celebrated a half-century of Premium Bonds yesterday (Wednesday, November 1st).

The 50th anniversary of the advent of the investment opportunity, which pays no interest on holdings but instead offers customers the chance to win cash prizes of up to £1 million, is being celebrated amid fast-growing sales.

According to recent figures, more bonds have been sold in the last five years than in the preceding 45 and over 23 million Britons now own Premium Bonds.

Mark Brooks, a spokesperson for NS&I, said new purchasing options have combined with increased publicity and headline-grabbing prizes to foster this new popularity.

"Five years ago you could only buy bonds by post or at the post office," Mr Brooks told the BBC.

"Today, you can buy them over the phone, by standing order, even at some supermarkets."

A series of advertisements starring Sir Alan Sugar, the face of the BBC's highly-successful series "The Apprentice", have increased awareness of the NS&I scheme.

Although Sir Alan argues in the commercials that he believes in the system, it offers odds of only 24,000-1 against winning a prize in the monthly draw, prompting some observers to decry its value as an investment.

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