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What Are Your Old Stocks Worth

The word scripophily has its origins in Greek and English. The word scrip means an ownership right and philos in Greek means to love. The collectors of old scrips are called Scripophilists or Scripophiliacs.

Today there are thousands of collectors' worldwide who are in search of valuable rare and popular stocks and bonds. The field of scripophily has gained importance and recognition as a hobby since 1970. Scripophily is new field for collectors.

It has been defined as the study and collection of stocks and bonds and other financial instruments issued by companies. It is actually the specialized field of numismatics. People are attracted to it because of the beauty of the old bonds and shares being collected as well as the historical context of each document. Some of the stock certificates are beautifully engraved. Occasionally it is possible to come across an old stock document that is still carrying its value as a stock in a successor company. Purchasing these old scrips is considered by many as a safe investment.

Over the last few years the hobby has exploded in popularity. While dot com companies and scandals have made the scrips popular, it is the historical significance that draws most investors to this hobby. Some other scripophily enthusiasts prefer the beauty of old stocks and bonds that were printed in various colors with fancy artwork and ornate engraving. Each scrip reveals the history of the company and its business. Some of the companies were hugely successful while others suffered losses and were merged with other companies or were acquired.

Some companies suffered losses after the entry of new technology. What makes scripophily as a fascinating hobby is the variety in the scrips and bonds issued. They vary in their color, paper, signatures, dates, stamps, cancellations, borders, pictures, vignettes, industry, and stock broker, name of company, transfer agent, printer, and holders. The value of the certificates are determined through various means such as the condition, age, historical significance, signatures, rarity, demand for the item, type of company, original face value, bankers associated with issuance, transfer stamps, cancellation markings, issued or unissued, printers, and type of engraving process.

A grading scale has been created for the stocks and bonds. The hobbyists however do not use the scale as strictly as in coins and stamps. Most people just collect them for their art work and historical significance.

The old scrips are classified as uncirculated meaning they look like new without any abnormal markings, folds or staples or stains. The signature appears very clean and clear. Extremely fine are those with slight traces of wear and tear, but in generally good condition. Very fine certificates have minor traces of wear and tear.

Those belonging to the fine category are creased with clear signs of use and wear. Those in fair condition have strong signs of use and wear. Poor are those with some damage and heavy signs of wear and staining. Age matters with these certificates. Generally those older are more valuable but not always.

Eric Drum is the author of this article on What Are Your Old Stocks Worth?. Find more information about Research Your Old Stocks here.

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