SCRIPOPHILY (script-awfully), the collecting of 'worthless' old stocks and bonds, gained recognition as an area of serious interest around the mid-1970s. Today there are thousands of collectors worldwide in search of scarce, rare, and popular stocks and bonds. Collectors who come from the numerous business fields mainly enjoy its hobby aspect, though there are those who consider scripophily an investment. Some collectors like the historical significance that certificates have. Others prefer the beauty of older stocks and bonds that were printed in various colors with fancy artwork and ornate engraving. Even autograph collectors are found in this field, on the outlook for signed certificates. In recent months, there have been several articles in magazines and newspapers about the investment potential in collecting stocks and bonds. Prices are rising reflecting strong demand. As good material becomes harder and harder to find, scripophily is expected to be the investment collectible of the 1990s, like baseball cards did in the 1980s! The Washington Historical Autograph and Certificate Organization (WHACO!) is an association for collectors in the Baltimore - Washington - Richmond area for their mutual benefit in collecting historical autographs and certificate material. Their objective is to educate members on the historical times and events depicted, and inform them about the trends and prices of these antique materials. (For more information on WHACO! write to P.O. Box 2581, Springfield, VA 22152) Many factors help determine a certificate's collector value:
Certificates from the mining, energy, and railroad industries are the most popular with collectors. Other industries or special collecting fields include banking, automobiles, aircraft, territorials, tobacco, beverages, and sports. Unissued certificates are usually worth one-fourth to one-eighth the value of one that has been issues. Inexpensive issued common stocks and bonds dated between the 1940s and 1980s usually retail between $2 to $10. Those dating between the 1890s and 1930s usually sell for $10 to $50. Those over 100 years old retail between $25 to $100 or more, depending on quantity found. Autographed stocks normally sell anywhere between $100 to $10,000.