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Scripophily: the hobby of collecting antique stock and bond certificates


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Scripophily, the new and exciting hobby of collecting antique stock & bond certificates, is gaining popularity and recognition among North American historians and antique enthusiasts alike. Although investment certificates were first used four centuries ago, they did not catch the eye of collectors until two German catalogs, featuring bonds issued in pre-revolutionary China and Russia, were published in 1976. Following a contest organized by The London Times in 1978, the name "scripophily" was chosen to identify this emerging collecting field. Still in full growth today, the hobby is estimated to include around 100,000 active scripophilists worldwide.

Track Down History with Antique Stocks and Bonds!

As we enter the 21st century, collectors worldwide feel the need to preserve and understand the past so that valuable lessons can be applied to ensure a better tomorrow. For the American historian, the growing hobby of "Scripophily" (which involves the study and collecting of old stock and bond certificates) opens an exciting new window of opportunity to learn from the intricacies and legacies of our financial history.

Corona Typewriter CompanyMost of us can relate to old securities since they have been used for more than two centuries to finance the industries we have grown up with and the products we now depend on. Interestingly, however, a teenager today may never have to use a "typewriter", or even less realize that this early machine is an important component in the ultimate development of the personal computer. By owning a 1923 stock certificate of the Corona Typewriter Company, such as the one shown here, you can now own a piece of history and teach your children and grandchildren about the origin and evolution of a technology we too often take for granted.

If you believe in the saying "a picture is worth a thousand words", you can only be impressed by the historical relevance of the engraved vignettes featured on old stocks and bonds. To prevent counterfeiting and ease the financing of their ventures, early public corporations often printed very elaborate certificates with engravings depicting their products, trade or location. In turn, these historic "snapshots" provide an array of visual information which has seldom been photographed.

For instance, the railroad collector can follow the technological progress of locomotives from the original 1830 "Tom Thumb" to the large steam engines of the 1870s, the electric tramways of the 1900s and the diesel machines introduced in the mid-1940s. The same cataloging applies to industries such as automotive, aviation, communications, mining, navigation and oil, offering a vast selection of high quality imaging for a very reasonable cost.

Baltimore & Ohio RR Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Rwy.
Reading Co. Philadelphia Traction Co.

Engraved vignettes depicting the technological progress of the railroad industry. Clockwise: first American locomotive (Baltimore & Ohio RR), big steamer (Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific RR), electric tramway ( Philadelphia Traction Co.) and diesel locomotive (Reading Co.).

Standard Oil Trust certificate and John D. Rockefeller's signatureAlong with visual arts, Scripophily has also generated a resurgence in the prestigious field of autographs. Since stocks and bonds were, at first, the main financial tools used by the rich and famous, they offer a variety of renown signatures seldom seen in other collectible arenas.

To name just a few, think of magnates such as Cornelius Vanderbilt (New York Central Railroad Co.), Collis Potter Huntington (Southern Pacific Co.), John D. Rockefeller (Standard Oil Trust), George M. Pullman (Pullman's Palace Car Co.), Ransom E. Olds (Oldsmobile), William A. Paine (Paine, Webber & Co.) And Jean-Paul Getty (Getty Oil Co.). The rare stock certificate shown here was issued by the Standard Oil Trust on May 4, 1883 and signed by John D. Rockefeller as president.

Scripophily offers the unique opportunity to develop a museum quality collection which suits your own historical aspirations. The possibilities are endless and time is on your side. Selection remains one of the great strengths of this young hobby, along with affordable prices and rising demand. Furthermore, thanks to our mail bid auctions, you have access to some of the best financial material ever offered without leaving the comfort of your own home...

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Stock Search International
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