Scripophily: Antique Stocks and Bonds
About Tom's Vignettes
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I'm Tom of Tom's Vignettes, a dealer in antique stocks and bonds and other financial paper. I have been in this business since 1998.
Scripophily: Antique Stocks and Bonds
Scripophily, the collection of antique stocks and bonds, is a relatively new and exciting collectible area. Certificates are valued for their vignettes, which often depict bygone industries and times, and their historical significance. Many interesting certificates can still be acquired at modest cost.
Why Collect Old Stocks and Bonds?
Scripophily offers a richer collecting experience compared to stamps, coins and other areas. First, the vignettes on many old certificates are often stunning in their aesthetic beauty, depicting old industrial facilities, railroads and railroad stations, seaports, street scenes at the turn of the century, mining facilities and more. Secondly, the historical link is more direct with stocks and bonds compared to stamps and coins. Stocks and bonds are intimately linked with economic development, and historical events and people. A stamp or coin may commemorate a historical event or person, but a stock certificate signed by the individual who made history is a much more direct link to the past. Finally, many old and attractive certificates are reasonably priced. A stamp or coin with only a few hundred printed or minted often trades for hundreds or thousands of dollars. In contrast, many similarly scarce certificates are available for $100 or less.
What Determines the Value of a Collectible Stock or Bond?
The value of a certificate reflects a variety of factors, most importantly, rarity, age, aesthetic appeal, condition, and whether it is signed by an important entrepreneur, politician, or other famous person. In the long-term, the more desirable material likely will appreciate, perhaps a lot. But other certificates may not appreciate much. And, there will be surprises on the upside as well as the downside. For example, Packard Motor Car certificates once were relatively scarce and sold for several hundred dollars. Then, a large group of them was found. Today, they sell for $15 to $20 each. The implication, in my view, is that one should collect for the enjoyment certificates provide, not because one anticipates price appreciation. There are better, less risky, ways to invest. Still, I think that if one puts together a coherent collection of stocks and bonds over a long time span, that person is likely to do well.
Ruby Lane Shop vs Scripophily Trader Shop:
I have this shop on Ruby Lane (Tom's Vignettes) as well as a renovated shop Scripophily Trader. While they both specialize in antique stock and bond certificates, they differ in their emphasis. Tom's Vignettes has fewer certificates listed (typically 100+). Scripophily Trader will eventually have several hundred certificates listed. There are other substantial differences between these online shops - you should look at both of them.
While no one dealer can offer the lowest price on every item in inventory, I strive to offer interesting certificates at very reasonable prices. Compare with other online dealers and return to shop at Tom's Vignettes.
I am interesting in purchasing old stock and bond certificates, particularly those that are one hundred years old or older. If you have an item or collection that you would like to sell, email me, and I will provide a quote.
Orders for stock certificates typically ship first class mail for $2.50; orders for bond certificates for $3.00. Priority shipping is available for $6.00. Shipping charge to a European country or Canada is $5.50 per order. Shipping charge does not increase if you order more than one item. Shipping is free on orders over $100. All packages are shipped with a heavy cardboard backing, carefully sealed, and plainly marked: Do Not Bend. It is best to wait for email from me before sending payment or paying using PayPal. On multiple certificate orders Ruby Lane does not compute the insurance charge correctly. I will correct overpayments, but it is best to get accurate order amount before paying.
Insurance is optional. Ruby Lane strongly encourages insurance on all items. However, this may not always make sense on scripophily shipments (which are not exactly breakable). My experience in mailing thousands of packages is that less than one out of 500 packages does not arrive in good condition. Still, Insurance is recommended on orders over $100. See comment about insurance in above section.
If you are looking for a specific certificate, or have questions about items I am selling or general questions about collecting stocks and bonds, email them to me, and I will do my best to answer.
Shows and Other News:
Upcoming Scripophily Show: The next Winter Northern Virginia Stock and Bond Show will be held in January, 2014 in the Crowne Plaza Hotel near the Dullas Airport in Herndon, VA. This is now the premier national scripophily event in the US. If you have not attended a scripophily show since the Strasburg PA shows ended, you should give this new show a visit. It's a great opportunity to meet collectors and dealers from all over the US and a few from Europe as well.
Thanks for visiting Tom's Vignettes.