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How you can help
The hobby needs your help!
This book and website is dedicated entirely to collectors. I want to help keep the collecting of railroad stocks and bonds FUN. And YOU can help by participating in the discovery. While other hobbies are very mature, this hobby is still quite new. I firmly believe that every collector can contribute new knowledge.
Believe it or not, I will virtually guarantee that you can contribute knowledge to the hobby. You can join the impossible quest of cataloging every certificate out there.
I need your help because I cannot do this alone.
Consequently, I need help in three areas:
The best place to start
Why not spend a few minutes looking at Information Recorded? This gives you a quick rundown on every type of information I record. In general, almost everyone can help by sending:
Copies of certificates I have missed
Most collectors have certificates not listed in the database. The single best way you can help is by sending good color scans or good photocopies (xerox.)
Oftentimes, missing certificates may seem plentiful. If seemingly common certificates are not listed in the database, that may mean I have never seen good photos. That happens quite often with common certificates. In fact, some certificates are so common that dealers never show them in their catalogs and so I never see them.
Also, be alert for undiscovered varieties among common certificates. Here is a curious phenomena. Advanced collectors seldom look hard for variations among common varieties but beginners do! Huge numbers of minor variations have been discovered by beginners, not experts.
I will stress this again. Most collectors, even raw beginners, have something to contribute. And, so far, almost everyone who has tried to help has found something new to add.Serial numbers
I add hundreds of new serial numbers every month. However, it is an EXTREMELY time-consuming chore. To save time, my primary criteria for adding serial numbers are:
I prefer scans or images of all certificates in order to post serial numbers. If sending photoocopies, please do not write across images. Lists of serial numbers are okay, but only if they come from YOUR collection.
I beg you in the strongest possible way, please do NOT send lists of serial numbers from eBay sales. There are simply too many certificates for sale on eBay. If I recorded every number on eBay, we would have a nice database, but I would have no time for anything else.
Sending serial numbers without images is not terribly helpful. There is no way to spot undiscovered new varieties. There is no way to rexamine certificates for possible errors. There is no way to verify autographs, number prefixes or suffixes, officers, shareholders, issue dates, printed portions of dates, seals, printers or any other kind of information. In other words, raw serial numbers without images are only minimally helpful.
I know that many people would really like to help by sending eBay serial numbers. I truly appreciate their thoughts and willingness. However, I simply do not have the time. Instead, you can probably help more by sending higher quality information from your own collections.
If sending scans, my recommendations are:
Before sending scans, please read some of the valuable information in my special section about scanning certificates.
If sending photocopies, reduce certificates to fit on 8-1/2 by 11 paper. Ordinary black and white copies are okay. There is no need for color copies. Make a note at the bottom about the color of your certificate. There is no need to record sizes. There is no need to copy backs. Please, do not write across images.
If sending lists of serial numbers without accompanying scans or copies, handwritten or typewritten lists will work. If you prefer, you may send Excel, Lotus, Access, Word files (PC format only), text files or HTML files.Information about questionable companies
Unfortunately, I do not have the time or resources to research all the companies that might have been related to railroading. If you are a hobbiest who enjoys corporate research, please see a special page on Questionable companies.What about other information about railroads?
Many of you are very, very serious about railroading. And many of you have discovered incredibly obscure facts about companies.
Please be aware that my PRIMARY concern is time.
As much as I like research, I simply do not have the time to research railroads, or record every morsel of information that comes my way. Remember, I am constantly tracking certificates from over 23,600 companies from Panama to the Arctic Circle.
Time is my absolute top priority. Every other concern is of lower priority.
Yes, I keep some information about railroad companies, but it is minimal. I appreciate additional information, but I only record:
If you are seeking detailed information about railroad companies, I am not the right person to contact. I will help if I can, but I only have minimal information about specific companies. You might be advised to check some of the sources on this long list of references before writing.
Buy the Cox Catalog direct from the author.
$20 + post
Help support this free site! Please visit my eBay store called Papermental by Terry Cox. My inventory includes railroad passes, railroad ephemera, newspapers, magazines, engravings, and all sorts of paper collectibles.
I suggest using WeTransfer or similar file transfer sites when sending large files or large numbers of files.
PLEASE contact the many fine dealers listed on my dealers page to buy certificates.