This section is from the book "Business Finance", by William Henry Lough. Also available from Amazon: Business Finance, A Practical Study of Financial Management in Private Business Concerns.
The par value of shares of stock may vary in any amount from as low as one cent to as high as thousands of dollars. In some states the minimum par value is fixed at $1, $5, or $10, as the case may be. Nearly all shares in the United States are $100 or less, with an overwhelming majority fixed at $100. The next most popular figure is $50, and then probably $25, $15, and $10. In recent years the tendency to issue shares without par value has grown stronger and stronger.
There is also a tendency, which appears to be growing in strength, to reduce the par value of shares of many corporations that are looking for wide distribution of their stock, and especially of those corporations that desire to have their own employees become interested in the company as stockholders. It is said that during a visit to England in 1913 George J. Whalen, president of the United Cigar Stores Company, was much impressed by the fact that most English industrial and commercial shares have a par value of £1 or £2. Under his influence the par value of the United Cigar Stores stock has been changed from $100 to $10, the par value of the stock of the Corporation of Riker-Hegeman from $100 to $5, and the shares of the United Profit Sharing Corporation were brought out at a par value of $1. A number of important companies like the National Transit Company and the Eastern Steamship Company have made the par value of their shares $25.
On the other hand, there are a number of instances of closely held shares which have an exceptionally high par value.
Lalance and Grosjean Manufacturing Company, a New York corporation, has common stock of a par value of $500. The par of the stock of the Tribune Association, the company which publishes the New York Tribune, is $1,000. The par value of the stock of Tiffany and Company is also $1,000.