Stock Certificates are a slowly disappearing symbol of wealth. The representation of share ownership through these stock certificates catapulted growth in capital markets around the world. It's usage is now declining with several companies completely abandoning paper copies moving to online means. Although while the usage as financial instruments is declining, the collector's value has been on the rise. The increased rarity of these decorated antiques have created a market for them as antique items. The market and collection of stock certificates has come to be referred by the term Scripipholy. Many view Scripipholy as a means of investment, some are projecting the value of old stock certificates increasing drastically in the future as the exclusivity/rarity of the paper certificates becomes ever more apparent. In the following paragraphs we shall investigate the 7 most important features in the valuation of old stock certificates.
The following eight factors are in no particular order of importance are in no particular order of importance:
Perhaps the most important, simple supply and demand are at work with this factor affecting valuation. In certain cases a series of certificates were issued in few numbers, special issues etc.. This also refers to older companies that have fewer existing certificates "in circulation", or simply fewer certificates still in good shape.
Over the last few years a premium on very decorative pieces as entered the market, some point to interest that has been particularly arising from demand in Europe as the drive behind the premium. Many people wish to frame pieces and will seek out attractive certificates. For average collectors and artisans a piece with an elegant vignette or motif will be preferable to a bland, industrial certificate. Certificates have been subject to a trend in home fashion, artists and fashion experts alike are in the market for eye appealing certificates. Interesting to note that the decorative quality was not initially done for the beauty but rather to combat counterfeiting of the certificates, if one could counterfeit a certificate he would be eligible to receive coupons (dividend payments).
3. Issued/Non Issued
Many collectors have the view that unissued and partially issued certificates are not as legitimate as issued stock certificates. As such we tend to see lower prices at auction for non issued pieces. Regardless a non issued certificate that is very old, especially rare or possessing qualities expressed in our list can still be very valuable. For example specimens and prototypes, especially of famous printers such as the American Banknote Company can command prices well above that of identical issued paper.
'Early' certificates are generally worth more than later counterparts. Most certificates on the market date from the 19th or 20th centuries', we must stress that 'early' is a relative term. An 'early' aviation certificate might date back to 1910, whilst an 'early' automobile piece commonly refers to the 1890's. Railway certificates circa 1850, canals from the 1790's would also meet the early standard. All is relative here, and relies on many factors to determine whether a certificate is 'early'. Great age suggests rarity and heightens historical interest.
5. Autographed Signatures
...from famous (or infamous) persons add considerable value to a certificate. Examples include great businessmen such as Carnegie, Rutherford, Walt Disney. In fact even some Presidents of the United States have their signature on stock certificates.
6. Historical Significance
Stock certificates were for a long time in human history and through a great period of change an instrumental element of the financial system. Nearly every great revolution was financed through from capital markets with the help of certificates. Events such as the WWI, WWII, the American Civil War, the Industrial Revolution and early international commerce all are cemented in certificates. Their immense impact on the world has given them a large demand. This also goes for railroad, aviation, automobile and other certificates of significant industries.
As with most antique collectables condition is a vital factor in valuation. A mint stock certificate will evidently deserve a premium valuation.
8. Astonishing Factor
It does so happen when a cultural or business event rockets historical stock certificates into incredible value. Events such as the Enron Bankruptcy or 2008 Credit Crisis increased value of old Enron and assorted financial firms (such as Washington Mutual) stock certificates'. You could describe it as a novelty premium. You may find yourself owning certificates of no particular interest, based on the other factors in this list, yet the name itself creates value.
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