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Canadian Stocks/Why stock certificates for single share?


I have come across 10 Canadian stock certificates in our family safety deposit box dating back to the 1980s. Your diligence in answering so many questions on this board about old stocks has been very helpful as I work through the list (e.g. your explanation of BRIC shares from the 1980s).

Would you have any insight why someone back then would go through the trouble of obtaining and storing a stock certificate for a single share? It seems clear my father bought more shares and disposed of them through a broker but seems to have forgotten the single share certificates. Was there some reason why folks would want a stock certificate in hand back in the 1980s? Seems puzzling given that board lots were more favoured back then.


Bert, there are a couple of primary reasons why people requested certificates for single shares.

The first is that they were intended as gifts. This is common for giving to kids or grandchildren. It is most popular with certain stocks. For example Disney was always popular, as shareholders, even of one share, had special privileges at the theme parks. It was also especially popular with stocks with dividend reinvestment programs. The ownership of a single share would allow the holder to enroll in the program and be able to purchase additional shares at little to no added cost.

The other reason would be for collectors. Having a fresh certificate would be suitable for framing as art.

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Steven Taylor


Canadian stocks, including growth and resource companies.

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