With click of a (Mickey) mouse, Disney stock certificates vanish
Disney animation has gone digital.
So have Disney stock certificates.
In a filing earlier this month, The Walt Disney Co. announced that it would no longer provide paper stock certificates after Oct. 16. Beyond that date, "all shares of stock of the Company would be issued, recorded and transferred solely in uncertificated book entry form."
Certificates for shares already issued will still be recognized as legitimate but once transferred, "reissued shares would be only in uncertificated form," the company said.
"Disney is one of the five most-popular modern certificates," said Bob Kerstein of Scripophily.com. But the death of paper is inevitable, he said, as "everyone is trying to control costs."
Facebook chose to skip paper certificates altogether, but Kerstein said there are still some interesting ones from tech companies such as Apple and Yahoo. Starbucks, Harley-Davidson and Manchester United still provide physical proof you own shares, and Kerstein said some unique start-ups use them as a marketing tool of sorts—"Medical Marijuana, on hemp paper." Not ZigZag paper, apparently.
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Could the end of Disney's paper certificates make the existing ones worth more than face value? Kerstein said it's hard to say. You can't trade live securities without a license, but some stock certificates remain valuable long after the shares themselves no longer exist.
"We are selling Pixar certificates for $595," Kerstein said. "The certificate looks great with 'Toy Story' characters and Steve Jobs' name on the certificate as Chairman."
He's holding out hope that Twitter could issue paper certificates, though the odds may be against him. He said it's possible that Disney will issue a piece of paper acknowledging stock ownership, but it won't be a physical security and will cost less because "it doesn't need to be tracked as closely."
Of course, you still have another week before Disney stock certificates disappear like Cinderella's coach.
"It's much easier to buy and sell them with the click of a mouse," said Kerstein, before adding, "Not Mickey Mouse."
—By CNBC's Jane Wells; Follow her on Twitter: @janewells