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)

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

Should I frame my certificates?


This is a tricky question. My answer is to view the question from a monetary perspective.

It is obvious that when we go to the expense of framing something, we intend to place it on a wall for some kind of display purpose. Why not decide what our real purposes might be before we spend the money. Why not make decisions based on our real framing needs instead of some knee-jerk, imagined need?

  • Do we intend items to please us personally?
  • Do we want to advertise that we are collectors?
  • Do we want to create the opportunity for conversation?
  • Do we want to fill empty wall space?
  • Do we want to promote historical value?
  • Do we want to promote monetary value?
  • Do we want to display a valuable autograph?

One of the things I want collectors to know is that framing involves money. Collectors will definitely spend money upfront for framing; the better the framing, the more they will spend. Then there is the possible backend loss if certificates lose value by the mere act of display.

  • Will display increase the risk of theft? Will display possibly increase risk beyond that single item?
  • If a certificate is framed by someone other than a professional archival framer, what is the risk of destroying value simply through prolonged exposure to light? An hour or two of sunlight now and then is one thing. An exposure of several years in a non-archival frame is something entirely different.
  • Will the item be lit continuously by fluorescent light? Are there plans to use UV fluorescent tube guards?
  • If an item is collectible, how long before that item will ultimately be removed from its frame? If the original framer does not remove the item, the next owner probably will. The item must be framed with the certainty of ultimate removal.
  • If items are intended for conversation purposes, can the purpose be served by good color copies instead of originals?

If pressed to make a recommendation, I personally suggest framing good color copies instead of originals. When you know something stands a risk of destruction, why take the chance? Destruction is a one-way journey. If a color copy is destroyed by theft, poor handling, light, heat, storms or whatever, simply shrug and replace the ruined copy with another and rest easy. Chances are, your insurance agent will appreciate your precautions.


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(Last updated ep 13, 2014)


I strongly recommend buying the Cox Catalog 3rd Edition from your favorite SCRIPOPHILY DEALER. Catalog cover
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