The term “coupon clipping” used to be synonymous with lifestyles of the wealthy.
” ‘Coupon’ originally refers to actual detachable coupons affixed to bond certificates,” explains Investopedia. “Bonds with coupons, known as coupon bonds or bearer bonds, are not registered, meaning that possession of them constitutes ownership. To collect an interest payment, the investor has to present the physical coupon.”
Today that process has gone almost entirely digital, but these coupons from the electric interurban Piedmont & Northern Railway, a 21-mile line linking Charlotte and Gastonia, survive — having followed though on the P&N’s promise to pay bearers $25 “in gold coin.”