Collectible Stocks and Bonds from North American Railroads     by Terry Cox

A guidebook and catalog of prices
(I do NOT buy or sell certificates on this website)

Search this website for information about collecting stocks and bonds.


Search the Coxrail database for descriptions of 23,700+ certificates from over 7,400 North American railroad companies.

Specialized German dictionary
for certificate descriptions

Online translators

I have always recommended American collectors shop with German, Swiss, and Belgian auction houses and dealers. Although minimum bid prices tends to be high by American standards, European catalogs are always excellent and their selections often include hard-to-find certificates. U.S. collectors should understand that some "must-have" certificates appear for sale only in Europe. It therefore behooves advanced collectors to follow European sales.

Thankfully, language translation and currency conversion is easier than ever before

Most European dealers converse in English. Feel free to write them in English. Mario Boone's catalogs are published in English. Most other catalogs are written in German and some have English translations right onsite. For those catalogs that are not translated, translation software makes it easier than ever before to read German catalogs without tremendous struggle.

The best and free translation software is probably Google Translate. Most auction and sale catalogs are online, so simply copy text from catalogs, paste it into Google Translate, and click on "Translate".

The German to English translation will never be perfect, but it is quite acceptable and getting better all the time.

You will discover that the stock and bond hobby has its own specialized language. Tanslation software often stumbles on scripophily jargon. Below is a short dictionary of some of the most common terms you will encounter in certificate descriptions.

The operating rules of German

English tends to combine words with hyphens. German usually creates new words by welding several words together. For instance, Güterwagendepot means freight depot. English speakers can make more sense of this 15-letter word if they separate it into Güter wagen depot.

German compound words often baffle translation software. You will encounter that problem, so simply guess how to break words into component parts and re-translate. For instance, if software fails to translate Nachfolgegesellschaft, break the word into Nachfolge gesellschaft and try again. If one break does not work, try two breaks and then three. Like English, the more you break apart German compound words, the further meanings will migrate from their intended use.

German capitalization

German capitalizes nouns in the middle of sentences like English once did.


German English
Abb. see Abbildung
Abbildung illustration, figure
abheftlochungen punch cancelled
Adler eagle
AG. abbreviation for Aktiengesellschaft
Aktie share
Aktiengesellschaft share company (stock company)
Allegorie allegory
ältesten oldest
angeboten offered
anh. abbreviation for anhängen
anhängen attached (esp. coupons)
Anleihe, Anleihen bond, bonds
Anschlußbahnen connecting (or branch) railroads
Ansicht view
Atlantik Atlantic
Ausgaben issues, expeditures
ausgestellte issued
außergewöhnlich dekorativ exceptionally decorative
Außerordentlich früh extremely early
Bahnhof train station
beiliegenden attached (as in coupons)
bekannt known
bekannten Stücke known pieces
Bienenstöcken beehives
blaugrauem blue gray
braun brown
Brücke bridge
Dampflok steam engine (locomotive)
Depot depot
Die Überfahrt The Crossing
drei three
Druck printing, impression
Eingetragen issued to
Einzelstück single piece, single item
Eisenbahn railroad, railway
Eisenbahnaktie rail share
Eisenbahngeschichtlich historic railroad
Eisenbahngesellschaft railway company
Eisenbahnkostruktionen railroad construction
Eisenwerk iron works
entwertet cancelled
erstmals first time
fier four
Fluß river
Flußufer riverside, along river
frühe Variante early variation
ganze Breite entire width
Gebirge mountains
gedruckt printed
gegründet founded
gelblichem yellowish
Gesellschaft company (literally society)
gestaltet designs
Getreidegarben sheaves of wheat
Gleisarbeitern track workers
Goldsuchern gold prospectors
groß large
großartiger great
große, large
Großformatiges large format
grün green
Gründung founded
Güterwagendepots freight depot
Güterzug freight train
Haltestelle stop (as in whistle stop)
Hauptvignette main vignette
Hellbraun light brown
Hermesstab caduceus
herrliche wonderful
Hintergrund background
Historische historic, historical
hochdekorativ highly decorative
Holz lumber
Holzschnitt woodcut
Holzstich wood engraving (woodcut)
hügeliger Landschaft hilly country
Hypothek, Hypotheken mortgage, mortgages
im Cox nicht gelistet not listed in Cox
Kai quay, wharf
karminrot carmine red
Karte map
katalogisiert cataloged
Kohle coal
Kohlenzug coal train
kreisrunden Siegel circular seal
Kupon coupon
Lagerhäuser warehouses
links left
Lithographie lithographed
Lokomotive locomotive
Löwen lions
Mädchen girls
Meilen miles
Mio. million (abbreviation)
Nachfolgegesellschaft successor company
Nebenvignetten secondary, additional vignettes
nicht gelistet not listed
nordamerikanischen North American
oben top
olivgrün olive green
orangerot orange red
Originalunterschrift original signature, autograph
Papier paper
Pazifik Pacific
Personenzug passenger train
Pferdefuhrwerken horse carts, horse wagons
prächtigen magnificent
purpurrot purple red
Pusteblume dandelion
Putti putti (cherub-like allegorical figures)
Querformat horizontal format
Raddampfern paddlewheelers (paddle wheel steamboats)
Rarität rarity
richtig right
Riesen-Seltenheit great rarity
Rinder cattle
Ringeisenbahn belt railway, belt railroad
rostrot rusty red
rot red
rotdruck red printing
Sammler collector
Sammlermarkt collector market
Sammlung collection
Schiffen ships
Schleusenwerk locks (on river or canal)
Schmalspurbahnen narrow gauge railroad
schöne beautiful, attractive
Schuldschein debenture
Scripophilie scripophily
schwarze black
See lake
Segelschiff sailing ship
sehr very (adjective)
sehr detaillierte very detailed
selten rare
Staat, Staaten state, states
Stadt city
Stadtansicht city view
Stahlstich steel engraving
Straßenbahngesellschaft street railroad company
Stück pieces, items
Umrandung border
Unentwertet uncancelled
Unikat unique
unten bottom
unten links bottom left
Untergesellschaft subsidiary company
unterschrieb signed
Unterschrift signature
Uralt-Lokomotive ancient (old style) locomotive
versteigern, versteigert to auction, auctioned
violett purple
Vorgängerbahnen predecessor (ancestral) railroad
Waggons cars (as in rail cars)
Wappen arms (state seals)
weiblichen Allegorien allegorical females
weiblicher Allegorie allegorical female
Wertpapiere documents, securities
Wissenschaft science (as allegory)
Wunderschöne wonderfully beautiful, very attractive
Zug train
zwei two


I strongly recommend buying the Cox Catalog 3rd Edition from your favorite SCRIPOPHILY DEALER. Catalog cover
If they do not carry, or are out of stock, you may buy directly from me. Simply click the buy button below.



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