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"Most are worthless, but occasionally one turns out to be valuable."

If you're rooting around an attic, look for Railroad bonds. Even a lot of defunct railroads' debt is actually still legally binding. Many were 100 year certificates payable in gold. I believe that they not only compound, but also inflation adjust. They were bought as family assets and some were never cashed because they were lost or assumed worthless because the original issuer failed and was bought out. If found, they can be worth a lot.
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