Above par

A commercial term meaning that the article referred to is more than its nominal value. Thus, if you must give more than £100, for a £100 share in a bank company, a railway share, or other stock, we say the stock is “above par.”

If, on the other hand, a nominal £100 worth can be bought for less than £100, we say the stock is “below par.”

Figuratively, a person in low spirits or ill health says he is “below par.”

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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