that I am evil. Money isn't the root of all evil - it's the love of money. But I love money.
From an aesthetic point, I mean. Years ago I began to collect paper money, possibly because I find the new currency ugly beyond belief, and want a few reminders of the good old days when dollar bills were ornate and backed by metal. Once a week I stop by a coin & bill dealer in the skyway and examine the latest offerings, and perhaps pick up something for the collection. (Which so far has a face value of $8.) The other day the dealer pulled out a sheaf of old stock certificates, and with dismay I realized I'll probably end up collecting these, too. And they're worthless.
But. Each has an engraving of some allegorical figure, etched with the same care you find on money, but depicting scenes of surreal Olympian figures designed as a metaphor for business. Bouffant-haired women in gravity-confounding dresses similar to Leslie Parrish's in the Star Trek episode ("Who Will Mourn for Adonis") with electrical devices at their feet; "Green Acres" era Park Avenue matrons in classical garb rolling the world around their penthouse balcony; salacious-faced gods with a test-tube in one hand.
The images were too peculiar to pass up. I bought a batch, scanned them in, and voila: the Bureau of Corporate Allegory. Nowadays when you buy stocks, you don't always get the certificate, but these are remnants of the days when you did, and when the certificate said This Is Money. Sort Of. The paper has the weight of something valuable; the engravings and borders say Tangible Worth. Unlike regular money, they have the owner's name stamped on the front. The value of each of these certificates could evaporate in seconds, but even now these canceled notes for defunct corporations seem valuable. You instinctively handle them with care.
But these are just pictures of pictures. Crease them all you like.
(Site revised with new additions and copy 04.11)