Old Stock Certificates Can Hit Major League Prices
Sitting in the back of many dusty filing cabinets and drawers can be a little treasure for the unsuspecting. While your portfolio may have dwindled during the last bear market, your previous stock certificates may be worth more than the original stocks they once represented.
The old stock certificates have become quite valuable. Electronic record keeping has made the issuance of stock certificates by most companies rare. And as investors trade their paper certificates for electronic shares, the transfer agent destroys them more frequently, making their numbers even lower.
Older stock certificates can be works of art, often done with colorful illustrations, making them unusual and interesting objects of art in any business or home. Like many antiques, many old stock certificates also tell a unique story that cannot be captured in electronic stocks issued today. As such, they have become sought after by hobbyists, Wall Street collectors, and people looking for unique gifts.
Sports Team Certificates Some of the Most Wanted
Some of the most sought-after and difficult-to-find stock certificates on the market today are those for professional sports teams. Very few professional sports teams in the US have been made public or issued stock certificates. Most sports organizations in the United States operate as franchises with strict ownership rules.
Major professional sports leagues, including the National Basketball Association, Major League Baseball, National Hockey League, and National Football League, have adopted strict rules and regulations that determine whether a team can go public. Needless to say, this is a tight club and they watch the entrance closely.
The Green Bay Packers are the only publicly owned NFL team to have issued shares. The Packers property group joined the current policy that practically restricts public ownership. The Green Bay Packers issued shares in 1923, 1935, 1950, and 1997. There are about 112,000 shareholders who do not have voting rights and cannot exchange shares for cash. Basically, each of these shareholders bought a historical object. Although these stocks had no intrinsic value, they have become quite valuable as a collector’s item. A 1997 issue can sell for up to $ 1,000 in today’s market. Older specimens are very difficult to find and are rarely offered for sale.
Other major league sports teams that have issued shares over the years include:
Florida Panthers (NHL) – Go public (NASDAQ) in 1996 and subsequently sold to private investors in 2001 (a certificate sells for around $ 300- $ 500)
Boston Celtics (NBA) – Became the first major sports franchise to go public (NYSE) in 1986 and then went private in 2003 (a certificate sells for around $ 150- $ 175)
Cleveland Indians (MLB) – Became the first major league baseball team to go public in 1998. They were quickly acquired and went private in 2000 (one of the certificates sells for around $ 200- $ 250 )
Many sports-related stock certificates are also valuable
While “pure play” sports stock certificates are rare, other topics that may interest collectors in this category include the World Wrestling Federation, Madison Square Garden, Broadway Joe’s (formerly owned by Joe Namath), and the short-lived XFL. Also, be sure to look for minor league franchises and foreign sports stock certificates. Other countries, like Canada, have many publicly owned major league sports companies.
Sure, many major league franchises are owned by large corporations, but they are nothing more than a particle on your balance sheet. Which stock certificate would Rupert Murdoch’s Dodgers or News Corp prefer to have? So check your filing cabinets and storage units. Those old stock certificates might be worth more than you think.