Collecting Fallen Company Stock Certificates

Stock certificates can be a tangible bit of history for a company or an industry or to commemorate a major event. Take the current economic situation, for example. There are lots of companies that have made the news recently and that will never issue stock certificates again. That sudden ending of supply usually gets collectors’ attention.

What about a specimen Bear Sterns stock certificate? It’s currently priced at almost $600.00 at a time when the current stock is trading at $2.00 a share. What’s the saying � Not worth the paper it’s printed on? In this case the paper is worth 300 times as much as a share of stock!

If that’s a bit pricey, another way to participate in the defunct company certificate market is to collect stock certificates issued TO Bears Sterns, instead of BY Bear Sterns. Many banking companies have accumulated stock certificates made out to them as a corporation as part of their banking activivties.

While browsing through some stock certificates for sale, we found two interesting stock certificates owned by Bear Stearns� one issued by Western Union (this one has the Bear Steams endorsement stamp on the back) and one issued by the now defunct Pennsylvania Railroad.

Another of today’s fallen Wall Street giants is Merrill Lynch. Stock certificates for this company are plentiful in the market place, some going back to the days of Merrill Lynch Pierce Fenner and Smith. An interesting companion piece to the Pennsylvania Railroad stock owned by Bear Stearns that we found is the New York Central stock certificate owned by Merrill Lynch. None of these four companies are still in operation.

Or perhaps you have a soft spot in your heart for Lehman Brothers. We found a stock certificate for Lehman’s One William Street Fund. This certificate has a vignette of Lehman’s office building at One William Street. There are a lot of additional stock certificates available that were issued by a variety of companies to Lehman Brothers.

What about a memory of a company tied to the collapse of the housing market? There are certificates available for Countrywide Mortgage Obligations which had been a subsidiary of Countrywide Credit, the company that later changed its name to Countrywide Financial and was later purchased by Bank of America.

Stock certificates of companies that closed their doors during the economic problems of the 1930’s are of interest and collectability. This might be the time to find some items around the same theme, only eighty years later. Unfortunately, there are currently quite a few from which to choose.

The stock certificates we found were on the websites of several reputable internet dealers. Try as hard as we could, though, we could not find anything signed Bernard Madoff � perhaps that’s because news reports say he did not actually make any of the tens of thousands of trades for his investors that he claimed to have performed.

If you’re new to collecting stock certificates, theme collecting is a way to structure your first purchases. If you’re an old hand at it, now may be the time for you to consider new themes being created by today’s events.

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