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What makes a stock certificate valuable as a collectible?

Signature: Signatures of famous people -- often, captains of industry -- will greatly enhance a certificate's value.

Historical significance: Industries and companies that have greatly influenced our past, such as railroad, automobile and oil companies.

Condition: Certificates in good condition cost more but are a better investment and will be much easier to sell later. Nevertheless, a certificate that isn't in top condition but is signed by Abraham Lincoln will still be extremely valuable if it's one of a kind.

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Rarity: The major factors influencing rarity are: number issued, market interest, age and redemption (the number that have survived exchange or repayment.)

Decorative quality: In an effort to save money, many companies issue rather plain certificates these days. Over the last few years the premium on very decorative pieces has risen sharply. A document with an elaborate, beautifully drawn vignette will be worth a lot more than a plainer certificate.

Age: The age of a particular certificate is the cornerstone to value assessment. Great age adds historical interest and often indicates rarity. Moreover, older art work is generally much more intricate. In today's market there is a definite value line separating documents issued prior to 1900 from those that are more recent.

Source: Stock Search International

-- Posted: Oct. 30, 2001

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See Also

Stock certificates -- cash them or collect them

Certificates being phased out

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