Scripophily is the study and collection of stocks and bonds. A specialized field of numismatics, scripophily is an interesting area of collecting due to both the inherent beauty of some historical documents as well as the interesting historical context.
A friend recommend buying Ford or GM. After all, the prices are so low that if they go bankrupt you won't lose that much, but the potential upside in 20 years is pretty large if they make it through the recession.
This got me thinking that actually, this investment could have little or no downside in case of bankruptcy if you hold the certificate. Because if GM and Ford cease to exist, the certificates will become collector's items.
Standard Oil (Merged into what eventually became Exxon) - $2800
Ford is at $1.70, GM at $1.56. Pick up a 100 shares of each, and if they go caput the certificate will definitely be worth the investment in less than ten years. The only issue will be the time to get the certificates. It can take a few weeks, and Ford and GM might not have that long.
Pets.com - Bankrupt during the internet bust - $695