Sunday, January 22, 2006

Scripophily Question - Collecting Railroad Bonds

From: "Leslie H Trevena"

1. Are there any Railway Bonds from 1856 that are worth more than the cost of printing.
2. Were $100 and $500 Railway Bonds issued.
3. If a person were to be in possession of such bonds what might there true value be.
4. Are there any Railway Bonds in existence today that would be worth many millions of dollars.

My reason for asking is, I know of a person claiming to have Railway Bonds from 1856, they state they have an enormous $ value today.

On reading information found on the internet, I have grave doubts as to their claim.

—Leslie Howard


Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

Scripophily is collecting stocks and bonds; railroad certificates are especially popular.

To get an idea of some bond prices, take a look at and search for: railroad bond

Or browse railroad stock and bond certificates by name of the railroad company.

This is assuming that you are asking about collecting the paper bond certificate, not the value of a bond investment.

Bonds signed by famous people are particularly sought after because of the autograph. The Professional Scripophily Trade Association has an article by Terry Cox, stating:
"Presently, the most 'valuable' rail-related autograph is that of Andrew Carnegie. It appeared on a Pullman Palace Car stock certificate and sold for over $70,000 in the 1999 Strasburg sale by R.M. Smythe. Other extremely valuable autographs include 'Commodore' Cornelius Vanderbilt, founder of the New York Central Railroad and the Vanderbilt dynasty. His signature is extremely rare on railroad certificates. Signatures from Jay Gould, on items other than MKT stocks, are also extremely valuable."

George H. LaBarre Galleries states that "the most valuable collectible ... railroad stock signed by Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt now sells for $12,000. Stocks now sell for as much as $50,000 for one certificate."

The International Bond and Share Society website states that "Prices of defunct certificates vary from a few cents to tens of thousands of dollars. Many of the most interesting pieces are in the range $50-$500."

Some factors that influence prices of collectible stocks and bonds include the signature, historical significance, condition, rarity, decorative qualify, and age.

Antique Stocks & Bonds: A Guide for Collectors and Investors explains that "As the certificate incorporates more and more of the factors that influence value positively, the price escalates accordingly. For example, a recent catalog lists an early (1876) high value ($300,000, a large amount in its day), stock certificate for Standard Oil, signed by John D. Rockefeller. The certificate is in very fine condition. The asking price is $15,000. It meets some important value criteria: a famous company, a small outstanding issue, and a famous signatory. In January 1995 a certificate sold for $33,000, the highest price ever paid at public auction. The item in question was a Bank of North America 1783 stock certificate. The above notwithstanding, current catalogs list hundreds of interesting certificates for less than $100."

Here are more Scripophily links.

Caution, links are not merchant endorsements.

1/22/2006 9:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From: "Roger Mills"

Did some Railroads issue 1000 year bonds?

—Roger Mills

9/15/2014 9:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The award for longest lasting liability went to the Canadian Pacific Corporation, which was paying 4% on a 1000-year bond, issued by the Toronto Grey and Bruce Railway in 1883, and due to be repaid in 2883!"

"Brooklyn Rapid Transit Company 1,000-year 4 per cent bonds."

9/15/2014 11:31 PM  
Blogger Farhat Abbas said...

"At the moment, Andrew Carnegie's autograph is the most "valuable" rail-related autograph. It was featured on a Pullman Palace Car stock certificate and sold for more than $70,000 at R.M. Smythe's Strasburg sale in 1999. 'Commodore' Cornelius Vanderbilt, founder of the New York Central Railroad and the Vanderbilt dynasty, also signed autographs. On railroad certificates, his signature is extremely rare. Jay Gould signatures on items other than MKT stocks are also extremely valuable."

2/27/2023 1:36 AM  
Anonymous ToryRutter said...

Railroad bonds are a popular area of focus for scripophily collectors. These bonds were issued by various railroad companies in the 19th and early 20th centuries to raise capital for the construction and maintenance of rail lines, stations, and other infrastructure. Collecting railroad bonds can provide a glimpse into the history of transportation and commerce in the United States, as well as a fascinating look at the financial instruments used by corporations in the past.

When collecting railroad bonds, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, condition is key. The value of a bond is largely determined by its condition, so it's important to look for bonds that are in excellent shape. Second, rarity is also important. Some railroad bonds are very common, while others are extremely rare and valuable. It's important to do research and learn about the rarity of the bonds you are interested in before making a purchase.

Finally, it's important to buy from a reputable dealer when collecting railroad bonds. There are many fraudulent or counterfeit bonds on the market, so it's important to work with a dealer who has experience and knowledge in the field. By doing your research and working with a trusted dealer, you can build a fascinating collection of railroad bonds as part of your scripophily hobby.

3/03/2023 2:16 AM  
Blogger jhoni said...

CPRR stands for Central Pacific Railroad, which was a railroad company in the United States that played a significant role in the construction of the first transcontinental railroad. The CPRR Discussion is a forum for people interested in the history and legacy of the Central Pacific Railroad to discuss various topics related to the railroad's impact on American history.

3/24/2023 1:07 PM  
Blogger Technologies said...


4/10/2023 9:46 PM  
Blogger Technologies said...

Hi friends. How are you all. I hope you all will be fine.
Finding out whether an old railroad company bond from 1938—or a bond from any company of that vintage for that matter—still has any value is a tough question to answer. You will have to check the terms on the bond and check if the issuer is still a functioning business. If not, you still may have some options to find some value in what you own.

So the short answer is that it will require a person to do some homework or spend money on a search service to find out.
Say you found an old bond certificate from a U.S. railroad company issued before World War II.
Chances are the issuer of the bond no longer exists! (Although it could.)
But the bond may still have collectible valuable even if it is not redeemable as a valid debt instrument.
Do your research, but keep your expectations in check.

4/10/2023 9:50 PM  

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