Here's some Frequently Asked Questions (and answers) about Stock Certificates
What is Scripophily?
(scrip-af-il-ly), the collecting of canceled old stocks and bonds, gained recognition as a hobby around the mid-1970s. The word resulted from combining words from English and Greek. The word “scrip” represents an ownership right and the word “philos” means to love. Today there are thousands of collectors worldwide in search of scarce, rare, and popular stocks and bonds. Collectors who come from a variety of businesses enjoy this as a hobby, although there are many who consider Scripophily an investment. Over the past several years, this hobby has exploded.
Why do people collect old stock certificates?
Many collectors like the historical significance of certificates. Others prefer the beauty of older stocks and bonds that were printed in various colors with fancy artwork with ornate engraving.
Autograph collectors are found in this field as well, looking for signed certificates of famous people like John D. Rockefeller of Standard Oil Company, Franklin Fire Insurance Company signed by famed economist Henry Carey issued in 1836, Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus, Atari Corporation, Eastern Air Lines with Captain Eddie Rickenbacker as President, IBM Certificates signed by Thomas Watson, Certificates signed by George Bush's Great Grandfather Samuel Prescott Bush, Broadband.com, Tucker Corporation and many others. As many certificates become harder to find, Scripophily is an exciting hobby with lots of challenges and potential. Since the hobby is relatively new (around 20 years), it prices are still very reasonable.
The hobby of Scripophily is one of the most fascinating areas of financial history. Over the years there have been millions of companies which needed to raise money for their businesses. In order to do so, the founders of these companies issued securities. Generally speaking, they either issued an equity security in the form of stock or a debt security in the form of a bond. However, there are many variations of equity and debt instruments. They can be Common Stock, Preferred Stocks, Warrants, Cumulative Preferred, Bonds, Zero coupon bonds, Long Term Bonds (over 400 years) and any combination thereof.
The display of framed or matted certificates can ad flavor and excitement to any room, and always becomes an immediate topic of conversation for guests.
Some very desireable and collectable certificates were printed before you and I were born. Minor indications of age may not be all that bad. Our grading system, for instance, marks down for yellowing, but a little bit of yellowing or fading is sometimes thought desirable as a visual indication of age. You will not find any copies or reprints here! Every item is original. Each certificate is what it is, and a duplicate may be difficult or impossible to find. Experienced collectors understand this, but on the chance that you are new to this very rewarding hobby, let us therefore caution you against unrealistic expectations.
All of our certificates are original and may have some wear due to use over the years. Generally, wear is found on the outer edges in the form of small tears or light bending. Edge wear can usually be covered by framing or matting. We always try to mention notable damage or flaws in the comments area of our auctions.
Do certificates work as gifts?
Absolutely! Old stock certificates, either framed or unframed, make wonderful gifts and may remind the recipient of things in their past, perhaps of companies where they have made or lost a forture. Autograph collectors may be overjoyed to see their favorite person's name on an old stock certificate.
Are your certificates really old?
We guarantee every certificate we sell to be authentic. We do not make or sell copies of any certificates.
Where can I find out more about this interesting hobby?
We learned a lot about Scripophily by reading articles by Bob Kerstein. You can visit his site at http://www.scripophily.net
Why do I only see part of the certificate in your images?
Certificates that are 8x10 or smaller can be seen completely in the images. The larger certificates are bigger than our scanner beds allow. Even though some images are partial, the certificates themselves are complete.
How should I display my certificates?
Certificates often look best in frames or mats. Related certificates can be grouped in separate frames or you can place several together in one large frame. Some collectors use them in scrapbooks, shadowboxes, and collages.
How do you pack your certificates for shipping?
All of our certificates are protected in a Poly sleeve and then mailed inside a rigid shipping tube - the same method often used for shipping fine art and expensive drawings.