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Stock certificate collecting themes iii

Stock Certificate Collecting Themes – III

Many collectors of antique stock certificates collect by acquiring certificates with shared characteristics, or themes.  In prior articles we discussed themes of Industry, Geography, Vignette (picture), Family Relationship, Time Period, Event, Firsts, Famous Names, Unissued and Extreme Numbers.

Here are ten more popular collecting themes:

1. Celebration –
Examples:  World Fairs and participating companies, construction (Panama Canal, landmarks…), Disney (characters on war bonds, Magic Kingdom, Euro Disney…), sports (teams, player restaurants…), Transcontinental Railroad contributors

2. Personal Years –
Examples:  Birth year, when you met, marriage, child’s birth, military service, first car, graduation, family members’ important years (especially for gifts)

3. Befores –
Examples:  Territories before they were states, before modern papers and printing, financial instruments from before we went off the Gold Standard, pre-modern transportation (paddlewheels, steamships, stagecoaches…)

4. Signatures, hand signed –
This category includes any hand written names (owner, company officials, bankers, witnesses…).  It can be further segmented into well-known name signatures (John D Rockefeller), lesser-known (George Wingfield – miner and banker) or unknown (little historical information).

5. Cancelation Type –
Examples:  stamped “canceled” or “cancelled”, hand written cancel, check mark or lines, scribbles through the signatures, hole-punched, issued but not canceled, canceled but not issued, marked VOID

6. Punch Type –
Examples:  large circles (1/4 inch), small circles (often spelling out the word “canceled”), squares, odd shapes (horseshoe, cross, star…)

7. Color –
Examples: Certificates from the same company were often printed in different colors if they were used for a different amount of shares (example: printed for “100 Shares” or “Less Than 100 Shares”).  Common stock and preferred stock certificates usually were in different colors.  Certificates from some companies came in several colors.

8. Misspellings, or variant spellings –
Examples:  An Odd Fellows Hall Association certificate from the 1860’s spells “Fellows” both with and without an apostrophe on the same certificate.  Railroad was often spelled differently (one or two words, capitals or not).

9. Stubbed –
Some stock certificates still have a registration stub attached (either all of it or a remnant) to the left edge (similar to check register stubs for recording the payment details in a checkbook).  It may be filled in or may not.  Stubs on certificates can either be flat and showing as part of the complete document (as a framed wall display, for example) or it can be folded under to show just the actual certificate. 

Some stock and bond certificates have partial or full sheets of dividend coupons attached like a stub would be, but may be on the bottom or the right hand side.

10. Ornate –
Some people take the designation of stock certificates as artwork to heart and go for the very decorative ones. Examples: The 1969 Ringling Bros. – Barnum and Bailey Combined Shows specimen is very colorful and full of circus characters. The Boston and Albany Rail Road of 1892 has detailed train and harbor scene vignettes that spread the width of the certificate.

It sometimes can be challenging to find certain certificates to fill in a theme, especially if it is a very narrow or rare theme.  But the bigger challenge can be in choosing only one theme, because there are so many from which to choose.

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