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Letter to correspondents
Time is an extremely critical issue with me. It is my #1 concern, bar none. I am over 65 years old. Statistically, 80% of my life is over. Consequently, I literally do NOT have time for typical internet clutter like e-mail jokes, chain letters, links to online auctions and YouTube videos. I have aggressive customized filters that prevent most of that stuff from getting into my email box.
I genuinely appreciate anything you can do to help me save time. Short letters and single subjects are very helpful. If I have not done something as quickly as imagined, I might not have yet found the time. If I have forgotten or overlooked an earlier correspondence, please remind me.
This is a one-man operation. I handle everything including certificate descriptions, database management, website design and programming. I may not answer right away, but I WILL answer.
This project is one of the things I do in my "free" time. Thankfully, I work for myself, but I assure you, I must work.
This project is a volunteer effort. The only money I make from this site comes from the ads you see. Ads pay for part of my monthly fees to maintain this website. The remainder comes from my pocket.
I believe all current collectors can and should help their chosen hobbies. You. Me. All of us. And I firmly believe that every collector, from raw beginner to seasoned expert, has something to contribute.
We are all direct beneficiaries of collectors who have gone before us. Consequently, we have a duty to help the collectors who will follow us.
Consistent with that view, I choose to help future collectors by giving away all the information I receive. I will keep your name private, but I consider all contributed information to be contributions for future collectors. If you want to keep some knowledge private, then do NOT tell me.
I warn everyone that I do not participate in the secrecy game. Do not tell me about certificates if you want to keep them secret. Do not tell me about serial numbers if you think keeping them secret is going to make your certificates more valuable.
Speaking of "value," do not try to convince me to arbitrarily raise prices to make certificates appear more valuable. The market determines prices. Not me. And the market always wins. (See Pricing to learn more about the subject.)
Don't even think of using the tired, old one-of-a-kind argument with me, either. The world is full of one-of-a-kind items! Literally packed to the rafters! To understand the pricing of collectibles, people need to realize that "rare" does not automatically mean "valuable." Nor does "valuable" automatically mean "rare." Price is a direct function of desirability. If rare items are desirable, they will be valuable. If rare items are not desirable, they will not be valuable. The concept of pricing collectibles cannot get any simpler. (I talk about the Rarity Myth several times on this website.)
I am neither a collector nor a dealer. I do not buy collections. I do not sell certificates.
There are about a hundred excellent English-speaking dealers out there who sell railroad certificates. There are similar numbers of German-speaking dealers. If you want to buy or sell, please contact them. I list all the dealers I know about on my dealers' page.
Please contribute images of certificates. I actively solicit color images of certificates with the impossible goal of illustrating every listing. If I have ever received a decent image, it already appears on this website. (Don't know how to scan certificates? Think your scanner is too small? I have an entire section dedicated to the subject of scanning certificates.)
I am fairly good at improving less-than-perfect images. I cannot, however, rescue every image I receive. Ideally, images that appear on this website should meet these minimal standards:
I try to avoid adding new errors. That means I rarely add listings for any new certificates until I have seen images.
Please contribute images of autographs. Again, the impossible goal is to show images of all important autographs.Like certificates, autograph images must meet minimum standards.
Please contribute serial numbers. The easiest way to help with serial numbers is to send copies or scans of certificates. I discourage lists of serial numbers simply because information is so time-consuming to enter. Lists of serial numbers allow no possible way to check accuracy now or in the future. I give serial number lists extremely low priority. If you insist on contributing lists of serial numbers, you may send lists of serial numbers as either text, Excel or Lotus files. Be sure to include catalog numbers, dates, serial numbers (with prefix letters) and numbers of shares. If lists contain no indication of issuance and cancellation, I must assume certificates represent the most common variation. (I have a special page explaining "How you can help.")
Please do NOT send links to any online sources of information including eBay sales. I understand how easy it is to send links. However, having done this for so very long, I can positively testify that it takes longer to retrieve information from online links than from any other source. Please remember, time is my #1 consideration. Consequently, as a matter of policy instituted in June, 2006, I stopped using links as information sources, no matter how valuable the information may seem.
I strongly recommend buying the Cox Catalog from your favorite
If they do not yet carry, or are out of stock, you may buy directly from the author.
Help support this free site! Please visit my eBay store called Papermental by Terry Cox. My inventory includes railroad passes, railroad ephemera, newspapers, magazines, engravings, and all sorts of paper collectibles.
I suggest using WeTransfer or similar file transfer sites when sending large files or large numbers of files.
PLEASE contact the many fine dealers listed on my dealers page to buy certificates.