Holiday Gift for the Hardcore Investor

(While bookstores are filled with financial books (including mine -- order an autographed copy online), there isn't a better or more important book that you can read this year than Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged," first published in the late 1950s.)

CHICAGO ( TheStreet) -- It's hard to shop for investors. They tend to be picky and probably have everything they want.

How about a framed stock certificate? It's not a replica. The certificate is real and brings with it ownership in any of the hundreds of publicly traded companies from which you can choose. The company has provided stock certificates for more than 360,000 customers all over the world.

Owning a share of stock -- a real paper certificate that's framed and ready to hang on the wall -- is a fascinating gift. If you can't figure out which stock to buy -- and this is definitely not "investment advice" -- the company will suggest appropriate gifts for her ( Starbucks ( SBUX) or Martha Stewart ( MSO)), for him ( Harley-Davidson ( HOG), Sam Adams ( SAM)) and for teens ( Nintendo ( NTDOY), Gap ( GPS)).

Not only do you get to choose your stock, but you can also choose a frame and surrounding matting, as well as a phrase to engrave on a little brass plate. Plus, the recipient gets a "start-up kit" and owner's manual.

The gift is definitely not a bargain. Not only do you pay for the framing, but you also pay $39 as a "transfer fee" to assure that you actually do own a share of the company's stock on its shareholder register.

The company has a licensing agreement with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Each purchase must equal at least twice the current price of the share of stock. As long as the stock price is well below the $39 transfer fee, that requirement is met. In cases of more expensive stocks, the cost of the framing typically brings the price up to the requirement. But for Google ( GOOG), trading above $500, the frame is covered with real gold leaf.
Terry Savage is an expert on personal finance and also appears as a commentator on national television on issues related to investing and the financial markets. Savage's personal finance column in the Chicago Sun-Times is nationally syndicated. She was the first woman trader on the Chicago Board Options Exchange and is a registered investment adviser for stocks and futures. Savage currently serves as a director of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange Corp.

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