1) SIGNATURE: Signatures of famous people on
a certificate will greatly enhance its value. In some instances, documents have
been issued to personalities who in turn have endorsed the pieces on the back.
However, most of the valuable autographs are those of company officers signing
on the face of certificates. The variety itself is very interesting and
includes people such as John D. Rockefeller (Standard Oil Co.), Commodore
Vanderbilt (New York Central Railroad Co.), Fernando Wood (New York City Mayor
and Congressman), Russell Sage (Financier) and Charlie Chaplin (Actor).
2) HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE: The importance of
scripophily is due to the historical significance of all stocks and bonds. Over
the years, those documents have financed numerous causes, industries and
companies which have in turn greatly influenced our past. As many collectors
are interested in "meaningful" pieces, the historical circumstances in which a
financial document was issued will definitely enhance its value on the
3) CONDITION: Certificates in good condition
cost more, but are a better investment and will be much easier to sell later.
The following considerations can help to determine the best condition
available: Age, Size, Place of Issuance, Paper Quality, Type (bearer vs
registered) and cancellation marks.
4) RARITY: By definition, rare documents will
generate an imbalance between supply and demand, thus increasing their value.
The major factors influencing rarity are: Number issued, Market Interest, Age
and Redemption (number which has survived exchange or repayment).
5) DECORATIVE QUALITY: Over the last few
years, the premium on very decorative pieces has risen sharply. Moreover, as
more collectors are framing their certificates, they seek out attractive
material. Needless to say, a document with a nice vignette is preferable to one
6) AGE: The age of a particular certificate
is the cornerstone to value assessment. Great age adds historical interest and
often indicates rarity. Moreover, the art work on older pieces is generally
much more intricate. In today's market, there is a definite value line
separating documents issued prior to 1900 from those more recent.