Why do people collect bonds & shares certificates?

By Simone | 31st January 2019

In our Expert Talks, we hand over the metaphorical pen to one of our experts to discuss a subject in their field of expertise. In this edition, curio expert Roger Schreutelkamp discusses scripophily: the study and collection of stock and bond certificates. When did scripophily start and why do people actually collect old stock certificates? Roger explains.

The start of scripophily

They say New York stockbroker R. M. Smythe laid the groundwork for scripophily already in the 1920s, but even when it took another few decades; in the 1970s it was recognised as a hobby officially and it’s now a worldwide collectors' market with significant demand for old bonds and shares.

Why collect bonds & shares?

Thousands of collectors worldwide search for scarce, rare, and popular stocks and bonds. Not just as a hobby, but often they also consider scripophily as a good investment opportunity, or because of the beauty of older stocks and bonds, printed in various colors with fancy artwork and ornate engraving.

But besides the decorative aspects, the major criterion surely is the historical significance of the old stock certificates. Each certificate is a piece of history about a company and its business. While some companies became major successes, others failed after only a short amount of time or even have been the center of scandal or fraud. Some companies were acquired and merged with others to form a bigger one – while other industries were successful only until they were replaced by new technologies.

In it for the autographs

There are also some autograph collectors can be found among scripophilists. Some entrepreneurs, like John D. Rockefeller, made a real fortune and became world-famous, but also “big names” like Albert Einstein occasionally invested in stocks, there is a very interesting variety of witnesses of financial history.

All online

Today, more and more stocks and bonds are issued electronically – as it is no longer feasible to handle paper certificates in a world of online brokerage and a business environment of high-frequency trading systems. So, another reason to appreciate those little artworks from the past.


Check out the bonds & shares we have on offer for you this week.

Discover more curio | stocks & bonds | scripophily

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