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Certificate variations that normally do not qualify for separate listings
Basic idea. In deciding which micro-variations to list and which to ignore, I try to walk the middle ground between "lumpers" and "splitters." My goal is to list variations only when substantial numbers of collectors prove they care by routinely and predictably paying more.
The hard reality. Certain factors govern my decisions about inclusions and exclusions.
In general, I create varieties based upon the appearance of certificates when they left printing and engraving companies. With few exceptions, I do not create varieties based upon markings made upon certificates after that time. I do, however, make separate listings and price estimates for variations that routinely affect values of certificates such as:
I do NOT create separate listings for:
I constantly strive to control the scope of my project and the size of the resulting catalog. For instance, if I recorded and tracked every boldly overprinted share value on all twenty-two varieties of Pennsylvania Railroad stock certificates, I might increase the number of possible listings by several thousand. Autographs from minor celebrities or company officers could add several thousand more. Cancellation variations could conceivably add still more thousands. Yet, such a massively increased number of listings would be essentially pointless because few if any collectors currently pay more for such variations.
I also do NOT create separate listings for HANDWRITTEN documents related to:
Such documents were evidence of valid transactions related to stocks and bonds, no argument there. In order to be listed, documents MUST BE AT LEAST PARTIALLY PRINTED WITH COMPANY NAMES.
Understand that there were potentially millions of handwritten documents created in banks, brokers' offices, trading floors, lawyers' offices and dining room tables all over the continent. Every one was custom-made and every one was different. There is simply no possible way of describing handwritten documents in small amounts of space sufficient to allow discrimination from other similar documents. Variability is unmeasurable high and value is extremely low except to specialists. Can you imagine picking up a catalog such as mine with thousands upon thousands of listings describing small handwritten scraps of paper attesting to the sale or transfer of some unknown type of bond or stock certificate?
I am not saying they may not be historically significant. And I am not saying there aren't examples that are very valuable for their celebrity autographs or philatelic relevance. I am saying that, with the exception of handwritten stocks and bonds, I do NOT list any document that is entirely handwritten.
Why do I list handwritten stocks and bonds? Because they were valid securities and had every legal right afforded to handsomely engraved and printed stocks and bonds.
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