Old shares can bring in a lot of money

Old shares can bring in a lot of money

It is only a slightly yellowed sheet of paper. An old bond that is no longer worth anything on the stock exchange.

And yet the historic paper with the original signature of the US industrialist andrew carnegie is a very special treasure: it is at least 25 years old.000 euros worth.

"This bond from 1901 has all the characteristics of a top piece of jewelry. It is rare, almost 117 years old and bears the original signature of the owner," says matthias schmitt. He is chairman of the historisches wertpapierhaus (HWPH), which auctioned these and almost 930 other old share and bond certificates to the highest bidders in wurzburg on saturday.

According to schmitt, the bond issued by united states steel corporation is one of the ten most important securities in the world. But on saturday there will also be sold much cheaper tickets. The collectors’ market is small. According to expert estimates, there are only 5 such.000 to 10.000 collectors with a clear collecting goal, about half of them coming from germany. DESTINATION 1.000 to 2.000 of them regularly buy at auctions.

Among those interested in historical securities are no longer only old, rich men from germany. "There’s been a change," says volker malik, chief executive officer of scripovest AG. The company is one of the world’s largest single traders in historical securities. In the meantime, new rich people from russia and asia have also entered the market, he said. And they don’t just want to collect valuable old shares. "They want things they can also use as an investment," says the expert from rothenburg ob der tauber in bavaria.

And the development of the value of old shares over the past few years gives fuel to this wish: according to an index made up of 100 old shares from different countries, sectors and issue periods, the value of these so-called nonvaleurs has increased by 25.4 percent over the past five years. A very respectable return. "But as with any other investment, you have to be careful and analyze the market before you invest," malik continues.

HWPH director schmitt also points out that the value of historical securities increases above all when they are collected in a specific context, i.E., in a particular collecting area such as shipping, railroads or lower franconia. "Those who go in with passion and pick a subject they like and build up a complete collection are usually better investors than those who do it based on capital alone."

Those who collect primary securities for investment are more likely to be looking for snappers. "The consequence is that they then buy pieces that are more frequently available. So there is a tendency for the papers to lose even more of their value," explains schmitt. Rare papers, on the other hand, could experience an increase in value.

Most recently, securities from russia and china have been booming. In germany, old shares from the period after the second world war are also currently in demand, not just the basic shares. In schmitt’s auction, for example, a share signed by mail order founder michael otto was also on offer. Just 46 years old and yet the minimum bid for the relatively unadorned paper is 1.250 euro. "This shows where the music is playing today; where the trends are going today."

Schmitt found the share in the box of a collector with many rather worthless papers. Experts assume that many treasures still lie dormant in german households. "Of all the securities ever printed in germany, the collectors’ market knows just 20 percent," says schmitt. He therefore advises anyone who finds old shares in the attic, in grandpa’s old safe-deposit box or in dad’s files to have them appraised by an auction house. "There are always things that are really, really rare. Where collectors are happy to get these pieces."

Most recently, the market was virtually flooded with historical shares as a result of the so-called reichsbankschatz. 30 million securities of the former reichsbank stored in cellars in east berlin during GDR times. After the fall of the berlin wall, the vaults were opened and the papers from before 1945 were used as collectors’ items. The federal office for central services and open property issues (BADV) is the responsible authority.

The german securities, which made up 90 percent of the stock, were auctioned off in 2003 to 2009, in 2015 and in 2016. About three million mostly foreign securities from the "reichsbank treasury" are still waiting to be realized. This fall, some 7,000 swiss securities are expected to come under the hammer. According to the BADV, eight million euros have been collected so far. The money goes to the compensation fund for victims of the nazi regime and the GDR regime.

For collectors of historical securities, the auction of the "reichsbank treasury" was a blessing and a curse at the same time. Initially, it was mainly extremely common german securities that came onto the market. "This has led to significant price reductions for some of the pieces," said schmitt. In later auctions, however, rarer securities came under the hammer. And those were "sought after by collectors because the availability is precisely known and very low".

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