Posts Tagged ‘railroad stock certificates’

Penn Central Story in Stock Certificates

April 17, 2018

The birth, life and death of Penn Central can be shown in stock certificates that illustrate the various stages of  the railroad.

When first formed, the company was called the Pennsylvania New York Central Transportation Company. That name was soon shortened to Penn Central Company.

After the June 1970 bankruptcy and the April 1976 disposal of the railroad into Conrail, the Penn Central (which had other doings besides railroading, namely real estate) became Penn Central Corporation.

That company still exists today as American Premier Underwriters, an insurance company. As a side note, notice that the last reincarnation no longer showed a train in the vignette.

Article and Photographs by Jack Norris

Chessie Was Everywhere

June 26, 2017

Were you aware the Chessie the cat was even featured on Chessie System stock certificates? Look at the lower corners.
Photograph by Jack Norris

More Railroad Stock Certificates

May 8, 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are some more stock certificates that I think would be of interest to the Akron Railroad Club members.

As for stocks issued after a company “died,” most acquisitions and mergers were actually 999 year leases.

Keeping companies as separate entities on paper had great tax and union benefits. Once keeping separate railroads got more expensive than the benefits is when railroads actually consolidated.

That is why Chessie, for example, had locomotives and other equipment with Baltimore & Ohio, Chesapeake & Ohio and Western Maryland sub lettering.

On paper, Chessie System was still three separate railroads. I am showing an old (1930s) and newer Erie certificate for comparison of how certificates were “modernized” over the years. Some that showed steam were remade with diesels.

Article and Photographs by Jack Norris

Colorful Railroad Stock Certificates

May 3, 2017

 

I don’t own any railroad company stock so I don’t know if railroads still issue stock certificates.

Given how corporate America has embraced the religion of cost cutting and is trying to eradicate paper I would not be surprised if stock certificates have fallen by the wayside.

If they still exist, the shareholder probably has to print them. But maybe not.

If stock certificates still exist, I wonder if those certificates are as elaborate as what railroads issued in the past.

Shown are two certificates from the collection of Akron Railroad Club member Jack Norris.

The top certificate shows stock in the Big Four. Note that the issue date was well after the Big Four had long ceased to operate under that moniker. But many railroads lived on paper long after their “brand” had been replaced by another company.

The bottom stock certificate of the New York Central features an image of the commodore himself, Cornelius Vanderbilt.

Penn Central’s Stock Certificates Were Elaborate, Colorful, But Today are Mere Collector’s Items

January 27, 2017

pennsylvania-new-york-central%0d%0a-trans-co-stock-1

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penn-central-stock

When Penn Central filed for bankruptcy protection in June 1970 it was not only the largest business failure in America to date, but it rendered stock in the beleaguered company all but worthless.

One footnote to the Penn Central story is that when the New York Central and Pennsylvania railroads merged on Feb. 1, 1968, the company was officially known as the Pennsylvania New York Central Transportation Company, a name that didn’t last long and was shortened to Penn Central Transportation Company.

As seen above the stock certificates came in two colors, blue and brown. Shareholders also had the option of mixing the two shades.

Not unlike many stock certificates, Penn Central stock had an elaborate appearance, featuring a profile of the Roman god Mercury. He was the god of financial gain, commerce, messages/communication, travelers, boundaries, luck, trickery and thieves.

Given some of the financial shenanigans that PC management practiced during their trouble company’s life, perhaps the choice of Mercury was appropriate given their embrace of the latter two of Mercury’s traits.

Mercury appears amid scenes of a city skyline and various forms of transportation.

Because the PRR was the nominal survivor of the merger, it’s date of origin is listed toward the top on the right hand side.

From a legal perspective, the PRR had changed its name to Pennsylvania New York Central Transportation Company.

That didn’t last long. On May 8, 1968, the company name changed to Penn Central Transportation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Penn Central Company.

For awhile, PC paid dividends to stock holders in an effort to create the illusion of success.

In reality, the railroad ran up a deficit of $2.8 million in its first year and it only grew from there, reaching $83 million in 1969. On June 21, 1970, PC entered bankruptcy proceedings.

At the time, Penn Central was the nation’s sixth largest company.

We all know that many of the railroad operations of PC were turned over to Consolidated Rail Corporation on April 1, 1976. Some PC lines not picked up by Conrail were saved, but others simply never saw rail service again and were eventually abandoned.

Penn Central Company survived the bankruptcy. It had considerable real estate holdings and eventually evolved into a financial services and insurance company later known as American Financial Group.

Today, Penn Central stock is a collectors item. One website that deals in old stocks and bonds is offering PC stock certificates online for $6.95, marked down from $10.95. On eBay, PC stock certificates on Thursday ranged in asking price from $2.19 to $8.19.

The stock certificates shown above are from the collection of Jack Norris.