BNR Press released my first catalog early in 1995. Within a few months, collectors began contributing images of certificates they owned or found for sale. The earliest contributions were black and white images reproduced on copiers. Within five years, those contributions had grown to many thousand and I needed to issue a second edition. Unfortunately, delays hampered publication until 2003, by which time eBay had become a major force in the hobby. The growth in personal computers allowed the location and purchase of more and more scarcities as well as the acquisiton of affordable desktop scanners. Full-color images became the rule.
|Prior to the development of the internet and reliable email protocols, my primary sources of information about certificates came from collectors. Dealer prices lists were highly valuable and gave me a huge amount of information about the numbers and types of certificates available. The information that came from collectors, though, was much more precise because they were sending pictures of their collections like the ones illustrated above.
Most collectors develop unique interests and specialties. I have always insisted that EVERY collector and dealer has something they can contribute to this project and therefore the hobby in general. Dealers have contributed lots of information, but the truth is that they usually have better things to do than scan certificates and send images to me. Nonetheless, some have contributed since the earliest days of this project.
Because I know how the type of information I record every week, I know for a fact that even the rawest beginner has something to contribute. I beg beginners to contact me, but even getting that message to them has proven terribly problematic, Therefore, most contributions of images and knowledge come from intermediate and advanced collectors who have usually been in the hobby for several years.
At present, over 400 collectors and dealers have contributed to this project since about 1987. Contributions really kicked into high gear after publication of the first edition of Collectible Stocks and Bonds of North American Railroads. I would love to list every one of them here, but choose to protect their privacy in the world of today.
Every reader can join that list by simply sending some bit of information I do not already have. Please see, How to Help.