Paper Money

U.S. Centennial share certificate is a family heirloom

The year before the expo, collector Christopher Lane’s great grandmother purchased two shares of stock in the 1876 U.S. Centennial, for $10 each. This is one of them.

Image courtesy of Christopher Lane.

Collector and Coin World reader Christopher Lane recently finished reading my article in the July 4 Monthly issue dedicated to medals from the 1876 U.S. Centennial celebration in Philadelphia, bringing back to him a link that one of his relatives had to the commemoration.

“I thought I’d add something of interest, a ‘One Share’ interest in the Centennial, which was purchased by my great grandmother Helen Phelps,” Lane wrote to Coin World via email June 23.

“Of note, my older brother and I were not aware that these existed, but after our parents’ passing, we opened a giant steamer trunk in their garage and found, amongst other things, two of these shares!!”

“Twenty years ago I had mine deacidified, and framed as you see in the picture.”

Each share was purchased for $10, equivalent to $273.17 in purchasing power in 2022 dollars, adjusting for inflation. The commission overseeing the staging of the commemoration sold interests to raise $10 million in funding to finance the nation’s first world’s fair. That $10 million investment would amount to $263.2 million in U.S. dollars in 2022.

Lane’s great grandmother purchased the two $10 shares for the Centennial financing in May 1875.

The 1876 Centennial festivities ran from May 10 to Nov. 10, 1876, attracting public attendance of some 10 million people during its run.

Connect with Coin World:  
Sign up for our free eNewslet-ter
Access our Dealer Directory  
Like us on Facebook  
Follow us on Twitter

Community Comments