When did getting a novelty diploma became a thing?

If you open your browser and type “novelty diplomas” you’ll see an endless list of websites dedicated exclusively to selling not only diplomas but also certificates, GEDs and transcripts with a quality that ranges from questionable to so good that barely no one will know the difference between the replica and the original. But how exactly did buying a novelty diploma became a whole industry? When did people start to look for this sort of product and most important, why? Keep reading and see how it all began.

From the beginning

Diplomas have been around since 1642, when Harvard University started the tradition of awarding the graduates in a commencement with books that they would later claim back. It wasn’t really until 1813 that Harvard grads received a standard size piece of paper they could take with them, that the actual diploma was born. In those times, there were so few graduates that diplomas would be hand written and designed, they were considered a true work of art.

Over time, more and more people were able to get an education which meant more and more diplomas and certificates were being emitted, resulting in a more mass-produced way to make them. And with the introduction of online universities you can only imagine how these numbers exploded.

The cyber boom of novelty diplomas

About 10 years ago the internet was the perfect place for certain businesses to “test the waters” and see if people wanted their products or services, novelty diploma was one of those products. You could find just a couple of websites and now there are hundreds of them in plain sight ready to receive your order and make exactly what you’re looking for.

And although there’s many people looking to use novelty documents to try to take the easy road on their scholar and professional life, the truth is there are many other reasons people became very attached to this service and that’s when the novelty diploma became “a thing”.  

You just have to have one

Many people (specially older people) have their college or high school diplomas still stored, but since they were emitted a while ago they’re either very damaged or too fragile. This is because diplomas used to be hand made and in sheepskin, which tends to age and crack over time. So, a person who still wants to proudly display their studies in the wall, can get a novelty diploma that looks exactly like the original one but in better conditions.

There’s also people who have to take their diploma with them to many places and show it or borrow it, and if they don’t want to risk the real one they can easily buy a novelty diploma replacement and keep the other one safe at home.

Another peculiar way people made the novelty diploma business very popular was when collecting diplomas became a thing. You know how some collect coins, baseball cards, or key chains? Some people find it cool to collect popular, rare and even old diplomas, frame them and hang them in their walls. We think it’s a pretty cool hobby that only these websites can nurture.

The next time you wonder if people actually buy novelty diplomas, think about all the cool uses they have for people and how they could actually be of use for you someday!

Author: Donnell Kirby

Donnell Kirby is a 26-year-old content editor for this blog. He enjoys listening to the radio, painting and helping old ladies across the road. He is giving and loveable, but can also be very boring and a bit lazy. He is a Scottish Christian who defines himself as straight and sexy. He has a degree in graphic design. He has a severe phobia of flying, and is obsessed with Donald Trump. Physically, Donnell is slightly overweight but otherwise in good shape. He is tall with pale skin, blonde hair and green eyes. He has a tattoo of Donald Trump between his shoulder blades. He grew up in a working class neighbourhood. He was raised in a happy family home with two loving parents. He is currently in a relationship with Isobel Spencer Day. Isobel is 18 years older than him and works as an message therapist. Donnell's best friend is a health centre receptionist called Lorna Hawkins. They are inseparable. He also hangs around with Lachlan Evans and Montgomery Hayes. They enjoy camping together.