Abbreviations and terms used in the database

Frequency of appearances scale

Frequency Liklihood of appearances *
F? appearance frequency unknown **
F1    more than 10 times per year
F2 5 to 10 times per year
F3 1 to 4 times per year
F4 once every 1 to 3 years
F5 once every 3 to 5 years
F6 once every 5 to 10 years
F7 less than once every 10 years
*   based on appearances recorded since July 1, 1980
**  varieties are suspected of being substantially scarcer than recorded prices would otherwise suggest

Issuance and cancellation

Abbreviation Meaning
i = issued
ic = issued and cancelled
iu = issued and uncancelled
u = unissued
uc = unissued and cancelled
uu = unissued and uncancelled
s = specimen
p = proof


Abbreviation   Meaning
b&w = black and white
ITASB = issued to and signed by a "celebrity"
l-r = object appears to move left to right
loco = locomotive, tender and up to half of another car
r-l = object appears to more right to left
RN = imprinted revenue stamp, catalog number fromScott Specialized Catalog of United States Stamps
s/b = signed by
train = locomotive and one or more cars

Denominations of stock certificates

Abbreviation   Meaning
odd sh = *
<10 sh = less than 10 shares*
10 sh = 10 shares
50 sh = 50 shares
<100 sh = less than 100 shares*
100 sh = 100 shares
>100 sh = more than 100 shares*
500 sh = 500 shares
<1000 sh = less than 1,000 shares*
1000 sh = 1,000 shares
* actual number of shares filled at time of issuance

Denominations of bonds and other certificates

Abbreviation   Meaning
$odd = no printed currency value, amount filled during issuance
$50, $100, etc. = specific bond value, $1,000 being the most prevalent


See Printers for a complete list of all printer names known to have created North American stocks and bonds. 


Abbreviation   Meaning
$ = Dollar
£ = Pound Sterling
P = Peso
Fr = Franc
G = Guilder
M = Reichmark (1871-1945)
DM = Deutsche Mark (1948-1998)
Pts = Peseta
= Euro


States, provinces, and countries

See Nations and states  for a complete list of abbreviations and organizational dates for states, provinces, territories, countries, and protectorates covered by this project. 

(See discussion below.)


Locations where companies incorporated

Massachusetts state seal

Massachusetts state seal engraved by American Bank Note Company

Each state governs its own rules for incorporation. Therefore, identical company names are very common across state lines. Consequently, it is important to know where companies were incorporated in order to properly relate certificates to specific companies. Unfortunately, information about many companies is lacking, so locations are not always known.

The policy of this project is that states of incorporation indicated on certificates always prevails, regardless of information from other sources.  Those states may be indicated on certificates by printing on certificates, printing or embossing on corporate seals, or by depictions of state seals. Locations indicated by corporate names are not always dependable.

When locations of incorporation are not found on certificates, locations are determined by the most authoritative sources that can be found, sometimes by state records. Disagreements between published sources and certificates are occasionally found. Reliability is indicated in the database listings by font weight. State or provincial abbreviations in Bold Type indicate locations proven by certificates. Locations depicted in regular type were determined by other sources. 

Incorporation locations are frequently determined by "state seals and are considered very reliable. State laws prevent duplication, so engravers generalized or elaborated on the themes of state seals. Seals from Texas, Alabama, Georgia and Pennsylvania are widely recognizable, but most are much less common. The project has compiled images of all State Seals from U.S. states. Even then, a few highly stylized depictions are hard to identify, so a State Seal Finder was constructed to help the user identify primary features, (I would like to compile a similar list for Canada, but I have failed to find a complete set. Help is solicited.)