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Railroad Stock Certificates on a Roll

September 10, 1987|RONALD L. SOBLE | Times Staff Writer

Question: I believe I have an original signature of American financier J. Pierpont Morgan on a stock certificate. What are some recent estimates on the worth of this signature?--S.C.

Answer: A recent auction catalogue listed a J. Pierpont Morgan autograph on a Syracuse, Binghamton & New York Railroad stock-transfer ledger at $900.

A set of two stock certificates for the Cincinnati, Indianapolis, St. Louis & Chicago Railway and a related stock-transfer certificate are to be sold by LaBarre Galleries (P.O. Box 746, Hollis, N.H. 03049). The transfer certificate shows the signatures of Morgan and his father, Junius S. Morgan. Price tag: an estimated $1,200 for the set.

As a footnote, railroad stock certificates are in great demand among collectors, especially those issued before 1900 with colorful pictures of locomotives or rail cars.

More modern certificates, those issued after World War II, don't have the same demand. Still, if they are colorful, collectors grab them in the hope of getting in on the ground floor of a growing interest in collecting stock certificates.

Note: Even if your investment takes a tumble, don't necessarily shred your certificate. It could one day be worth more than the original stock price.

Q: You recently ran a response to a collector of famous newspaper headlines. Does it help in terms of value to keep the entire paper, or is just the first page enough?--P.F.

A: Front pages by themselves have value. But most collectors of historic newspaper headlines with whom we've talked tell us that if you can preserve the entire paper, the resale value is higher.

On when soaring art sales will come back down to earth, the president of Christie's in America, Christopher Burge, wrote in the auction house's summer newsletter: "For those doomsayers waiting for the current trend in prices to reverse itself, the only words I have are borrowed from Yogi Berra, who was clever enough to say, 'It's not over 'til it's over.' "

Date Book

The American Society of Camera Collectors has scheduled a used and collectible camera show for Sept. 20 at Machinists Hall, 2600 W. Victory Blvd., Burbank. Doors open at 10:30 a.m. Admission is $4.

"The hot items this year are historic 35-millimeter motion picture cameras, the hand-cranked variety that were used in the silent era of Charlie Chaplin and D. W. Griffith," writes Gene Lester, the society's president. "Of late, many have shown up among collectors with the prices skyrocketing, especially for such models as the Pathe, Akeley and the Bell & Howell No. 2709.

"Since relatively few of these cameras were made (in comparison to still cameras), they are becoming rarer and rarer with the demand increasing. Collectors are finding that these old 'hand-crankers' are a great investment for the future, since no more will ever be manufactured."

For more information on the show, call (818) 769-6160.

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