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Why do you ignore minor features in creating varieties?
In order to raise sufficient funds for startup, railroad companies had to print and sell stocks and bonds. If companies proved sufficiently successful and sold all of their original certificates, they had to order more. It is extremely common to be able to spot minor differences between successive printings, even when certificates might have been printed only a few months apart by the same company. Depending on the numbers of certificates ordered for each printing, it is theoretically possible to detect minor differences every few hundred serial numbers
In other words, it is very easy to spot minor differences among certificates of the same variety.
Theoretically, every minor difference could constitute a different "variety" depending on the attitudes of collectors, catalogers and dealers. In hobbies with vast numbers of mass-produced collectibles (such as coins, stamps and paper money), minor differences often play major roles in defining varieties. Those minor differences may have large effects on prices.
Our hobby is at the opposite end of the spectrum. Our hobby is typified by small numbers of nearly identical certificates. Consequently, collectibles are quite rare compared to many hobbies, so minor features have no discernable effect on prices.
This catalog currently lists about 26,000 quot;varietiesquot; of certificates. If I chose to list every subtle variation that someone might discover, we could probably double that number even if we never found a single new certificate.
Collectors frequently report minor differences thinking I am always trying to create new sub-varieties. That is not the case.
My decisions about varietization revolve around practicality, reality and pricing history.
To some people, decisions for inclusion and exclusion might seen capricious and arbitrary. Hopefully, the decisions will seem more sensible when collectors learn that I actually try to look at the issue of varietization from the viewpoint of the majority of collectors elsewhere in the hobby. Basically, I ignore minor differences if they:
And yes, generalists might argue that I have created many varieties based on the printed portions of dates. Considered alone, I wholeheartedly agree that printed portions of dates feature IS a very minor feature. However, that single feature has frequently proven a very easy way to identify varieties that might otherwise require greatly extended descriptions. Moreover, printed dates allow easy distinction of certificates of different ages which are frequently valued differently.
Unless used for other purposes, differences in the following features DO NOT qualify as varieties:
OCCASIONALLY, there are differences between legitimate varieties that are very difficult to describe. For instance, there are sometimes differences in vignettes that might require several sentences of description or dedicated illustrations. In those cases, it is easier to use minor features to alert readers to the presences of different varieties.
* Silvering is considered a minor feature if used to change signatures, trust company names or transfer company names. In some cases, however, silvering might change more important features such as par value, redemption dates, or even company names. In those cases, silvering might actually create entirely different certificates with different legal functions.
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