You don’t see them very often these days (I remember getting them as gifts from my parents when I was young – just to date me), but at one time you actually received a certificate when you purchased stock (shares are now typically held for investors in “street name” at their stock brokerage firm) to prove that you owned it. While I won’t pretend that buying a single share of stock for the certificate through the many sites that offer them is a sound investment (the individual stock certificates are way overpriced), they still may be an excellent gift for a child (or an adult with a particular interest).
The reason giving a stock certificate of their favorite company can be a great gift is that when they see it hanging on their wall it may inspire them to want to learn more about how the stock market works. It is a perfect reason to check the stock listings in the newspaper each morning to see how the stock did the previous night.
Another reason that stock certificates can be fun is that many are colorful and fun to look at (see Disney and DreamWorks below). So what stock certificates are popular? It depends which of the stock certificate sites you go to as they can differ by quite a bit. OneShare (lists top 10) and GiveAShare (lists 20) have only 7 stock certificates that appear on both lists:
- Harley Davidson
- Coca Cola
Notably absent from both the lists is Google. The reason isn’t that people don’t want it, but is likely due to the fact of the price of the stock. It is several times higher than the majority of other stock certificates.
If you’re looking for a unique gift for a child or teenager, sit down and find out what their favorite companies are. A gift of a stock certificate may be the perfect opportunity to get them interested in the stock market and get a jump on leaning how to invest.