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Over the years, companies had to raise money for their businesses. In order to do so, these companies issued certificates as equity security in the form of stock or a debt security in the form of a bond. A share certificate is a written document signed on behalf of a corporation that serves as legal proof of ownership of the number of shares indicated. Share certificates is also referred to as a stock certificates.

When companies issue shares in the market, shareholders who buy-in are issued a share certificate. The share certificate basically acts as a receipt f...See more

or purchase and ownership of shares in the company. The document certifies registered ownership of shares from a particular date.

Although in recent years the advent of electronic trading and record-keeping has made paper certificates obsolete for most companies trading on the public market, authenticated certificates for stocks and bonds were common in the markets, serving as proof of investment.

Key information on a share certificate includes:
Certificate number,
Company name and registration number,
Shareholder name and address,
Number of shares owned,
Class of shares,
Issue date of shares,
Amount paid (or treated as paid) on the shares, etc.

Many share certificates, especially older and rare, have become extremely collectible for their historical context and the beauty & intricacy of their design. Each certificate is a piece of history about a company and it’s business.

"Scripophily" is the collection and study of share certificates and other similar financial documents. Scripophily gained recognition as a hobby around 1970. The word "scripophily" was coined by combining words from English and Greek. The word "scrip" represents an ownership right and the word "philos" means to love.

The color, paper, signatures, dates, stamps, cancellations, borders, pictures, vignettes, industry, stock broker, name of company, printer, holder name, etc. add to the uniqueness of the hobby.

Similar to stamp collecting or bank note collecting, a share certificate's value is dependent on varied factors. These include condition, age, historical significance, signatures, rarity, demand for the item, aesthetics, type of company, original face value, bankers associated with issuance, cancellation markings, issued or unissued, printers, and type of engraving process.

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