Saturday, July 2, 2022

Gigantic : Moody's Industrial Manual

"Moody's Industrial Manual for 1963 is the most comprehensive source of information on industrial corporations and enterprises available to the banker, investor, analyst and business executive."
Introduction, Moody's Industrial Manual 1963

The Moody's manuals are a treasure for scripophily researchers. They contain tons of information about the companies from which we collect antique stocks and bonds.

The American John Moody (1868 – 1958) was a financial analyst and investor. In 1900 he published his first manual providing details and ratings of company and government bonds. In 1909 he founded Moody's Investors Service to produce yearly manuals like the one illustrated here. 

Featured in the Industrial Manuals are thousands of profiles of industrial companies, mainly from the USA but also from Canada, Great Britain and other countries. For instance, Siemens & Halske, Honda Motor Co., Heijn (Albert), Ontario Steel Products Co., SIMCA Industries, Rolls-Royce and Montecatini are a few of the many non-American entries in the illustrated 1963 edition.

Here's an excerpt from a profile from the Stanley Aviation Corp, an aircraft equipment manufacturer. This is one of the smallest entries in the book. Medium-sized and large companies are listed with much bigger profiles, up to several pages. For instance, R. H. Macy & Co., Inc., is described in four pages; E. I. Du Pont de Nemours & Co. fills six pages.

The entries consists of : a company history, its capital structure, background, mergers and acquisitions, company name changes, subsidiairies, plants and properties, employee statistics, officers and directors, business activities and products, operating statistics, balance sheets, and much more. 

These books are gigantic. Issue 1963 measures about 21,5x28,5 cm, or 8.5x11.2 inch, and counts 3028 pages. It's thickness is 10,5 cm or 4.1 inch. It weighs 5 kg or 11 lbs. Don't put any of these on your flatbed scanner ! Some year editions are even bigger and consist of two volumes : monstrous. 

Illustrated below is an extract from the Alphabetical Index in the 1963 edition. The index section counts 114 pages with each page referring to about 130 company names ! 

I use manuals like this for looking up company details and identifying hard to read signatures. Let's try this with a 1960s specimen share from The Bendix Corporation

The manual has three pages on this company: 

"Incorporated in 1929 as the Bendix Aviation Corp., the company adopted its present name in 1960. Bendix and its subsidiaries produce a wide line of aviation, automotive, missile, electronic, marine, space and automation products, .."

What about the signature of Bendix' chairman ? Note that this is a facsimile signature, which is a reproduction by engraving, printing (like this example) or stamping of the manual signature.

The manual lists for Bendix over twenty officers and directors. One of them, our match, is listed both as Exec. Vice-President and Director : A. P. Fontaine. This information in turn allows me to find out more about the person :

Athanas P. Fontaine (1905-1989) was a pioneering airplane designer. After graduating in aeronautical engineering, he helped designing the Aeronca C-1, the first lightweight passenger plane in the US. An aircraft designer and project engineer he worked for several aircraft companies such as Fairchild Aircraft Corp and Republic Aircraft Corp. 
A. P. Fontaine headed Bendix' aircraft division in 1944 but left in 1946 and returned in 1952 to become director of engineering. He was chairman and chief executive of Bendix from 1965 to 1972. source: The New York Times, May 17, 1989

These books are valuable research tools. Unfortunately very few have been digitized. On this Moody's Manual Wikipedia page you'll find several links to editions from the 1910s and 1920s. A few of them actually lead to a fully browsable digitized version.


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Thursday, June 23, 2022

Spink's summer scripophily sale brings us to New Zealand, Mexico and beyond

Precisely 496 lots of scripophily will go on Spink's E-block. At stake are antique stocks and bonds from all continents. Large sections are reserved for scripophily from Australia, New Zealand, Great Britain, Latin America and the USA. This online sale already took off at 17:00 June 16. The bidding window closes on Jul 5 at 11:00. 

This is L(ot) 182 from the European section. The Société Française de Phonographes "La Fauvette" was incorporated in 1900 in Paris. The company's major product was "La Sirène", an early cylinder gramophone player that could play "Ideal" (large format) cylinders with a duration of up to 12 minutes.  La Sirène is depicted on this 1902 share, together with a fauvette (warbler bird). 

Spink's upcoming sale features many bonds and shares from Australia, New Zealand, and even one from the British Solomon Islands. A few examples : 
  • L5 is 5 shares certificate in The Railway Construction and General Development Company (Tasmania) from 1901. 
  • The Butcher's Reef North Gold Mining Company, Bear Hill, New South Wales, shares, 1889, bold red, purple and gold printing, L11
  • The share from the South Australian Oil Wells Co shows a large vignette of an oil field. The company operated in Gippsland, Victoria, and reported test drills in the 1940s at a depth of over 4,000 feet. L29

New Zealand is represented by more than 40 lots, several from gold mining companies. L76, a share from The Maoriland Gold Mines Ltd, was issued in 1896. 

The British chapter consists of several sections: railways, canals and shipping, government, banking and insurance, bridges, commercial, industrial, mining, automobiles and cycling, newspaper and publishing. Let's mention some entries:
  • Railway enthusiasts will love the 1875 issued share in The Gorsedda Junction and Portmadoc Railways Company, Wales. Rare, L228 depicts a double-ended steam locomotive, a "double Fairlie".  
  • L290 contains lots of history: a share in The London Clinic and Nursing Home Ltd from 1929. The London Clinic is one of the UK's best private hospitals and has treated many famous names such as Charlie Chaplin. It was here that Chilean dictator General Augusto Pinochet was arrested in 1998. 
  • L264 consists of a group of three shares in the Associated Newspapers Ltd. Today known as DMG Media. This media holding publishes the Daily Mail, Metro, New Scientist, the Irish Daily Mail and many more. 

The Normal Powder and Ammunition Company Ltd, ordinary shares, 1898, company logo with rifles and canon repeated in the embossed seal, L292, click image to enlarge 

The USA chapter is split into 5 sections: automobiles and aviation, commercial and industrial, government, mining and railways. Here are some of the interesting lots noted :
  • The Duquesne Incline Plane Co., Pittsburgh, PA, incorporated in 1876 with a capital of $40,000 consisting of 800 shares of $50. This certificate, from 1877, was issued for 20 shares. The company built a funicular on Mount Washington that ran at a grade of up to 30.5 degrees. L480 
  • Several $1000 6% Territory of Florida bonds from 1838, several vignettes, are offered. L360 through L368.
  • L440 is a $5 Class B stock certificate in The North Carolina Gold Mining and Reduction Company, Philadelphia 1882, uncommon vignet of miners at work and railway bridge.

A section of 60 lots includes scripophily from Argentina, Brazil, Columbia, Cuba, Honduras and many more Latin American countries. Several Mexican railway certificates will pass in review, including this Ferrocarriles de Toluca á Tenango y San Juan, 1907. It is part of a trio, each one printed with a distinct denomination and in different colours, but all with the same great locomotive vignette. L331 

There is lots more to discover in this sale, so here are the details :
  • Location : this is an Internet only sale
  • Date : Jun 16 17:00 - Jul 5 11:00, 2022
  • Further info : see here 


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