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Once you become a scripophilist, your growing collection
of old stock and bond certificates will increase in value and should therefore
be maintained carefully. When acquiring old securities, the first thing we
recommend is to verify if there is a need for cleaning and/or repairing. Once
satisfied with the appearance of your certificates, you will want to store them
in a safe place. The final step, of course, is deciding how to display the
crown jewels of your collection to the world...
Dirt. Many certificates, due to lengthy storage in
dusty warehouses or attics, can be carrying a lot of dirt. The latter can be
removed using a soft plastic eraser. In the case of greasy dirt, however, try
white bread rolled into balls. Remember that using water for cleaning is always
risky because the original ink may run if it gets wet
Glued-on Attachments. Usually found on
cancelled certificates coming from a companys original shareholders
records, glued-on attachments can usually be removed by wetting the stuck
parts. Steam from a boiling kettle is also an effective way to separate
attachments, but this process makes the paper limp and can spoil the
certificate. Blotting-paper is ideal to dry any part you wetted and weight (a
heavy book will do) should be used to keep the piece flat while drying.
Remember that leaving wet paper in the open air will often leave wrinkles...
Wrinkles and Folding Creases. Before treating
wrinkles and creases, make note that most securities are engraved on paper, but
documents issued in the fist part of the 19th century and earlier were printed
on vellum (animal-skin). As such, a cool or warm iron may be used to flatten
paper certificates, but not vellum. Always work the iron carefully on the
reverse side of the document, placing the latter between two sheets of clean
uncolored paper, and stay away from waxed or embossed seals. To avoid a flat,
"ironed" look, many people limit ironing to corners, edges and tears.
Staples and Pins. We strongly recommend to
remove any metallic insertions such as staples and pins as they tend to rust
Stains. Discoloration caused by the old-style
brown adhesive tape can be removed with trichloroethane, available from
pharmacies. Use as little as possible and keep it away from ink.
Tears and Holes. The most common type of damage
found on collectible stocks and bonds are tears, splits at the folds and holes.
If you wish to repair such deterioration, we recommend the use of archival
repair tape or, as an alternative, fine tissue paper with a flour-and-water
paste. Stay away from glue, gum or ordinary sellotape and never stick a
backing to the damaged piece.
If you need help, you can use the services of professional
paper conservationists who will often deal with tears, holes, ink stains as
well as foxing. Naturally, costs will vary according to the amount of work
involved. Ultimately, restoration work can make most damages virtually
invisible. This will certainly enhance your pleasure of owning a piece while
increasing its market value.
Albums. As your collection increases in both volume and value, you
want to use a storage method which allows easy access to your certificates and
maximum protection from physical deterioration. To this date, albums with
acid-free pages is still the best alternative. When choosing a size, make sure
that the page dimension fits the largest piece in your collection. Once
completed, your album should always be kept away from sunlight, heat and
Framing. Displaying old stocks and bonds is the
pride and joy of all scripophilists and framing is still the most popular way
to show a collection. For that purpose, pieces should be mounted on acid-free
paper without any adhesive and the frames hanged away from direct sunlight,
heat sources or humid areas. As with your albums, this will preserve both the
certificates and their respective value as collectibles.
Wall Papering. If you wish to decorate a
wall, we recommend mounting the certificates on a board with Masonite backing
using mounting spray glue. This will enable you to remove any of the documents
on display without damaging them. However, remember that using adhesives like
non-removable glue or plastic will alter the collectible value of a
Be Creative. Here are some fun ideas for
displaying inexpensive collectibles: Create your own custom calendar, make a
montage under the glass of a display table, laminate the certificate on a piece
of wood and give it as an appreciation award or use cork to create unusual
table mats! Again, keep in mind that permanent attachment or alteration will
reduce the collectible value of the certificate itself.
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Stock Search International
P.O. Box 2359 Vineyard Haven, MA 02568 USA
Phone (508) 338-4731
Fax (508) 338-4733
U.S. Tollfree: (800) 537-4523