Sunday, October 4, 2009

Old Stocks - FAQs

Dates are an integral element of stocks and bonds. The first thing to look for is the year of incorporation. It may be located anywhere on the certificate; however, it is not always listed. Next look for the date of issue. Most stocks are partially printed certificates that allowed the company treasurer or other similar official who was overseeing the sale of the shares to simply fill in the issue date. Statements such as “Witness the Seal of the Company and the Signature of its duly Authorized Officer this _________ day of _________, 19__”, would appear on the stock. It might be “18___” if issued in the nineteenth century, or “20__” if a new issue in the 21st century. The necessary information would then be filled in as required. Since relative age or time period figures into collectibility, it is important to have an accurate date.

Also, issued certificates are almost always more desirable tha
n unissued ones. Possible exceptions would be rarities or autographed varieties where the importance of issued versus unissued takes a backseat to more significant considerations, as previously mentioned. Dates may take on even greater importance for the scripophilist when the certificate is dated in a particular period. For example, railroad stocks dated prior to 1840 are rare and particularly desirable in this 1830s decade.

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