Do coupons have value as collectibles?

This project does not ascribe ANY collectible value to any coupon or sheet of coupons detached from bonds.

This project DOES NOT and WILL NOT:

  • support in any way the buying or selling of bond coupons!
  • list any coupons in this project
  • imply individual coupons have value as collectibles
  • give safe harbor to anyone who thinks it is acceptable to clip coupons from collectible bonds just to make a few dollars at the expense of unsuspecting beginners.

The problems of listing coupons in this project

It is possible some collectors consider coupons from long-destroyed bonds "collectible." This project cannot consider them collecitble for two major reasons:

  • Beginners have very few ways to confirm whether coupons came from extinct bonds or not. Even with coupons in hand, it can be difficult to confirm the type and date of source bonds. Without precise information, collectors would be at the mercy of unscrupulous and/or inexperienced sellers.
  • Implying coupons have collectible value will be an open door to promoting the removal of more and more coupons from existing collectible bonds, thereby decreasing desirability of those bonds to future collectors.

Sources of single coupons

The majority of coupons offered online have been removed from readily available collectible bonds. Yes, a small number of bond coupons offered on eBay were legitimately redeemed decades ago. For the reasons stated above, this project will ignore those coupons, even if they were cancelled. Again, the possibility of purposeful deception is too high.

Beware of Coupon Chop Shops

There are eBay sellers who purposely clip coupons from inexpensive collectible coupon bonds and then attempt to sell singles for $5 or more. They are not targeting intermediate or advanced collectors; they are targeting beginners. They try to claim coupons are valuable or rare. This project stands solidly against taking advantage of beginners.

Deception and fraud

Deception and outright fraud would be the inevitable result of listing legitimately cancelled coupons as "collectibles. Therefore, this project:

  • will NOT list individual coupons in this project, regardless of whether they were redeemed or not.
  • will NOT imply that a market exists for coupons.
  • will NOT knowingly contribute to the destruction of collectible bonds.

Coupons are not securities

Furtherm readers should understand that coupons ARE NOT and NEVER WERE securities. For that reason alone, coupons do do not qualify for listing in this project.

Coupons are not obsolete currency

Readers should also understand that coupons ARE NOT and NEVER WERE currency. They were warrants and were tradable for currency at specific and later points in time. They never qualified as legal tender in any sense of the word. While amateur sellers may be entirely innocent in offering their coupons as "currency," fraudsters are not. This project opposes defacing collectible bonds in order to wrest money from unsuspecting beginners .

Readers have probably noticed some coupon sellers on eBay refuse to accept returns. WONDER WHY? if sellers think coupons have collectible value when sold, then they should remain equally valuable upon return. This project cannot discern the exact motivations of such sellers, but must question such ethics. 

No sellers on the dealers' page

It is the policy of this project to deny any person, dealer, or company from the dealers' page who publicly offers coupons as collectibles.

If collectors find any such seller listed on the Dealers page, please write so they can be removed immediately.

Practically all inquiries received concerning coupons have come from people unfamiliar with the stock and bond hobby. Some have politely suggested that sellers made them believe that coupons were "bonds" or some form of paper money. Rightly or wrongly, this project concludes such sellers either, 1) knew nothing about the paper money and scripophily hobbies, or 2) were purposely intending something else.

What about coupons clipped from bonds that no longer exist?

Admittedly, some advanced collectors might ascribe some value to coupons that originated from bonds that no longer exist. In one respect, that seems a reasonable approach. Unfortunately, there seems no reason other collectors, let alone Coupon Chop Shops, would ever respect that narrow definition.

This project is about cataloging securities issued by railroad companies and coal companies in North America. Since coupons are not securities, coupons are considered solidly outside project boundaries.

And finally, one other concern...

Are any coupons still redeemable for cash?

Odds are low, but yes! It is remotely possible collecors might find bonds or individual coupons that still retain cash value.

The only expedient way to confirm value and how to go about redemption is to confer with experts who research extinct securities. It is a specialized field and they charge for their services. Please see my Security Values page for names of professionals in that business.

Before you spend money on research, understand that if a coupon IS still valid and says it was redeemable for a specific amount of money on a specific date, it is worth that exact same amount today. There is no evidence that suggests coupons or their source bonds compounded interest after their redemption dates.

Furthermore, coupons, like their source bonds, could have been declared legally worthless long ago without showing any physical evidence of cancellation. Court or corporate records prevail.