Historic shares

From Stock Market to Flea Market

historic shares Hamburg-Südamerikanische Dampfschifffahrts-Gesellschaft dieter-engel.com historische-wertpapiere
Share and share alike? Historic shares can be worth stacks.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Collectors of historic securities, known as “scripophilists,” often have collections worth thousands of euros, yet for most of them this is purely a hobby.

  • Facts


    • The normal price range for these securities is said to vary widely from €1 to €50,000, although one bond sold for over €1 million four years ago in London.
    • Experts warn that the value of historic securities can drop rapidly if new copies of the same security come to light.
    • One advantage they have over other collectable items is that they are very difficult to counterfeit.
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Christian Schroeder found the bargain of his life at a flea market in Hamburg.

Mr. Schroeder, a collector of historic securities, was actually planning to buy toys for his kids. But then he spotted a share in the shipping company Harburg-Englische Dampfschifffahrts-Gesellschaft – a genuine historic security. He asked the seller how much he wanted for it and was told: “It just got in there. Give me a euro and you can have it.” That flea market trip was 10 years ago and Mr. Schroeder still owns the share, now estimated to be worth €1,800 ($2,026).

But Mr. Schroeder doesn’t care about the profit. “It’s about collecting,” he said. That’s the main thing for many owners of historic securities. The companies to which the certificates belonged have long since gone bankrupt, disappeared in the chaos of war or merged with other groups. That means the securities are not worth anything. But for historians, they are real treasures, a reminder of long-ago events.

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