The facts about financial tombstones.

Bear and bull made of a financial newspaper with a financial tombstone award in the front.

Among financial firms, such as the investment banking community, the term ‘financial tombstone’ may also refer to a trophy or deal toy.

Today we’re going to look at what a financial tombstone is, how it came to be, and what the term represents as it relates to custom trophies or deal toys. First, it is important to specify that a tombstone should not be identified specifically as a deal toy because they are actually required by the SEC as a final step in a financial deal or transaction.


Tier1CRM Tombstone Advertisement published in the BusinessWire August 2022So what is an actual financial tombstone?

Simply put, a financial tombstone is a published advertisement in a newspaper used as a public disclosure listing the participants with simplified details about the financial transaction. Printed as a simple advertisement, the tombstone ad is of a very basic design with easy to read text, often centered within a border that sometimes includes graphics such as a logo. The image here is a sample of a 2022 tombstone advertisement published in the BusinessWire.

The term ‘tombstone ad’ comes from the fact that the older publishing style design (printed in a newspaper) often looked like an engraved granite tombstone you may find in a cemetery, plus in the early 19th century they were printed alongside death notices which may have contributed to their ubiquitous title.



Financial Tombstone search results.The history of how financial tombstones became a term used to describe a type of trophy or deal toy.

We covered that a financial tombstone is a final notice that provides the details of a public offering or business transaction. Often used for large transactions such as corporate acquisitions, IPO’s, and real estate deals – the finalization of the deal often creates an opportunity to celebrate the work and people involved that contributed to the deal.

It’s also worth mentioning that financial tombstones, though often used for sizable transactions, are quite common for smaller ones as well.

Early in the 1980’s acrylic embedding became a popular method to cast mementos inside acrylic resins. Acrylic embedding is a process that combines a liquid monomer and powdered polymer mixed and cast inside a mold to suspend items gracefully inside a clear acrylic block.

As Lucite® embedments became more popular, financial institutions began supplying miniature versions of the printed ‘tombstone ads’ to acrylic casting companies with the intention of floating the advertisement inside the crystal clear acrylic block. This is where the term financial tombstone became identified in the awards industry as a type of recognition trophy.

In fact, if you Google ‘financial tombstone’ today, most of the results you will get are related to trophies or mementos.



Now let’s take a look at some facts about financial tombstones that might be of interest.

Whether you call it a financial tombstone or a deal toy, both serve the same purpose – to recognize corporate deals large and small and the teams that made them happen.

Much like ‘LinkedIn’ presents a virtual representation of corporate achievements, these present a historic record of the firm's achievements in a tangible way. In fact, many large firms display their deals in custom built showcases to add value to their experience. Plus, the employees who receive them often do the same to enhance or promote their careers.

Presenting as a souvenir to clients serves as a tangible advertisement that will be a reminder to them of the competency of your firm. Secondly, if your client displays them publicly, your firm may receive the added benefit of a visual representation of your firm's capabilities.

As a stand alone item, a custom financial tombstone award may not have any long term monetary value. Their relevance derives from the importance to the recipient who may have poured years of her life into making the deal happen. This is especially true when you recognize the gift is a tangible item that can be displayed for a lifetime.

Meant to be a one of a kind keepsake, a custom tombstone that has been designed and manufactured with care taking into account its purpose for being created is sure to be appreciated for a lifetime. Whether cast out of acrylic or fabricated using laser cutting and direct printing – design options today can be a simple reminder or a custom shape designed to uniquely represent the celebration.

Though you will find tombstones available from all over the world, it's best to seek out a custom manufacturer of fine corporate tombstones and deal toys if you want a unique memorable option. Many acrylic tombstones are mass produced in countries such as China, with very limited decoration options such as laser engraving. Though those serve a purpose in the industry, they are much less likely to be treasured than their fully custom counterparts.

Sound Communications Tombstone AwardTBK Bank Tombstone AwardLuz Del Norte Tombstone AwardUniversity Hospital Trust Financial Tombstone Award


What is a custom tombstone, how is it manufactured, and where can I get them?

All great questions, and important to anyone interested in buying one to recognize their corporate achievements.

We briefly explained that many tombstones are mass produced in China. The traditional supply chain has them manufactured overseas, placed in a container, shipped to the US, distributed to a warehouse, and then shipped to your local trophy shop. Though the local trophy shop has many presentation options, they are lacking one key factor – the ability to do anything more than simply decorate a stock item with text and logos.

A custom tombstone begins with an idea that is tied to an accomplishment. Big or small, it is that accomplishment that has driven the desire to present the executives, employees, clients, and anyone else involved with making the deal happen.

Creating a custom tombstone or deal toy requires working with a team of professionals that can take your idea and turn it into something unique and different. Whether made of acrylic, metal, wood, or a combination of all three – it’s important to find a manufacturer that has the experience and wherewithal to take traditional substrates and create a work of art you and your team will be proud to present and display.


US Acrylic Awards has been creating fine custom tombstones for over 5 decades and provides the following services to make your buying experience easy and fun.

As one of just a few acrylic casting companies left in North America, US Acrylics can create a traditional financial tombstone with a printed copy of the tombstone ad embedded inside a Lucite® block, or allow our design team to utilize our full fabrication capabilities to create a one of a kind memento to celebrate your deal.

Give us a call to get started on your custom tombstone design today.


Written by noptim unleash the power