Scripophily is the hobby of collecting stocks and bonds, usually focused on old stock certificates. 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 certificates are called Scripophilists. Today, there are thousands of collectors’ worldwide who are in search of valuable rare and popular stocks and bonds. The fieldof 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. 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.
The historical significance of the certificates is determined by which company the certificate represents, what product did it manufacture? Was it the first car, automobile, airplane etc. how successful was the company? Was it a fraud by any means? In which era i.e. war, depression, revolution etc was the scrip issued. Did anyone famous sign the certificate? Signatures of important people also add to the value of the certificates. If the certificate happens to be issued to any famous person or company then it carries more value. What sort of company it was issued for, doe the industry still exist, and has the industry changed a lot over the years also matter a lot. For how much was the scrip issued the larger the value the higher the value. Who were the bankers associated with the issue who worked on the fund raising efforts was it someone famous or a famous bank? Is the bank still in existence? Other points to look into are if the certificate has any tax stamps on it? Imprinted or attached?
If the stamps are valuable or unusual? Are there any cancellation markings that make the scrip valuable or unusual if they detract or add to its history and looks? Was the item issued or unissued? Was the certificate a prototype of the printers marked with the word specimen? Usually issued certificates are more valuable and desirable? Who printed the certificate was it some well known printer? What was the engraving used by hand, wood engraving, steel engraving? Lithograph preprinted form? What was the quality of the paper used was it of high or low quality has it held up over time? Does it have a watermark to prevent counterfeiting? These questions need to asked before valuing the scrip and should indeed be looked into by all buyers.
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