Monday, August 6, 2018

Grace's Guide, leading information source on British industrial history

Auction company SPINK sold the following share certificate in their sale of 21st June 2018. Classic car hobbyists will recognize the Minerva brand. If you didn't, then you can turn to Grace's Guide To British Industrial History.


share certificate from the Minerva Motors (England) Limited company

Minerva Motors (England) Limited
deferred shares of one shilling, 1928
SPINK sold this rare share in the British Minerva company (21 Jun 2018) in a group lot together with 15 common Belgian Minerva company certificates for £80.
image courtesy SPINK


Editor Andrew Tweedie started the Grace's Guide to British Industrial History project in 2007 as a not-for-profit project. Its aim is to provide a brief history of the companies, products and people who were instrumental in British industry, commencing with the birth of the Industrial Revolution and continuing up to recent times. Andrew Tweedie, his staff members and a team of expert volunteers have produced nearly 130,000 pages so far.

For some time now I've used the Grace's Guide website for research on antique securities from UK companies. The site also provides information of engineers, inventors, directors, investors and other important personalities who were involved in these companies. As a result I may recognize the names and signatures of the people who signed or subscribed to these early shares.


signature of Holloway as Director on Minerva Motors share certificate

According to Grace's Guide, the company was originally established as Minerva Motors, Ltd in 1900 as a concessionaire for Minerva cars. The signature is the one from S. C. Holloway (who later started his own motor business).


My collector friend Adam recently reported in the International Bond & Share Society's online forum more interesting news about the Grace's Guide pages :

" The scope is gradually being extended to include non-UK businesses and biographiesAdditions are being made to the information daily by a team of volunteers who give freely of their time and expertise. I have been in contact with the editor Andrew Tweedie, he would gratefully accept photos of share certificates or information relating to any of the companies in the database. "

Now isn't that a win-win situation ? 

F.L.

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Tuesday, July 31, 2018

AIA's forthcoming numismatic auction to feature rare American railways

Archives International Auctions will hold this year’s summer auction at Fort Lee, New Jersey on August 8, 2018. Over a thousand lots of US, Chinese & worldwide banknotes, scripophily and security printing ephemera will be auctioned in two sessions. The sale includes about 340 lots with antique bonds and shares.



Lot 212 : Chinese Government, 8% 10 Year Sterling Treasury Note £500 Sterling 
From 1919, a scarce £500 'Vickers Loan' Treasury Note, estimate $130-200 

Chinese government bonds open the scripophily show at L(ot) 170. Two, large-formatted, Imperial Chinese Government Tientsin-Pukow Railway 1908 £100 bonds, both partly redeemed, are estimated from $120, L. 197 and L.198. A Republic of China 1937, $100 bond, vignette of pagoda, in extremely fine condition, is expected to bring $350 to $700, L.217.

The main scripophily program is an almost contiguous section starting at Lot 674. International stocks and bonds are representing countries like Canada, Chile, Bolivia, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Cuba, Ecuador, Honduras, Mexico, Puerto Rico, United Kingdom, France, Sweden et cetera.

I note : Santa Elena Mining Comany, 1887, Honduras, Manhattan vignette (L.723). A great vignette of the Paris Notre Dame Cathedral at the Seine river can be seen on a 1916 City of Paris specimen bond (L.722). Mexican Central Railway Co Ltd, 1889, specimen bond, (L.737), several vignettes, is estimated from $400. The sale includes a 1895 stock certificate from The Nicaragua Company, unsuccesful in completing a Panama canal route (L.769).



Lot 712 : La Sociedad del Canal de Maipo, specimen bond, Santiago de Chile, early 1900s
The portrait shows Domingo de Eyzaguirre y Arechavala (1775 – 1854), a Chilean politician and philanthropist who wanted to revive the abandoned canal project surrounding Santiago. The Spanish government approved the plan, and in 1802 made Eyzaguirre director. The revolution of 1810 interrupted the work, but it was resumed after Chile's independence in 1817. In 1820 the canal of Maipo was opened.
Click to enlarge image


I'll go right away over the many, extraordinary US railroad securities. But first I want to underscore the wide range of American sectors and themes that are covered in this event : automobiles, aviation, shipping, mining, industry, utilities, city & states loans, and much more.  NOTE: Startprices in the sale are significant lower than the lowest estimates printed in the catalogue, therefore check out the lots online.

A Rolls-Royce of America (L.679), 1919, specimen share, very early, may be acquired from $300 onwards. Bensen Aircraft Corporation, established in 1952, developed helicopters like the B-8. Issued 1956, facsimile by founder Igor Bensen, bidding on this share is invited from $110 (L.685).  Bodie Bluff Consolidated Gold Mining Company, 1879, Mono County, California, can be purchased from $240 (L.776). The auctioneer expects a Confederate States blockade runner share from The Consolidated Steamship Company, 1864, South Carolina, to realize $600 or maybe $900 (L.808). From 1921 dates a Standard Oil Company of New York specimen $1000 bond (L.811). Wonderfully designed lettering, vignettes of a native American and the Niagara Falls, and a company seal with a man in a canoe, illustrate a Niagara Falls Power Company specimen bond (L.995), start price $110.



Lot 817 : San Pedro, Los Angeles and Salt Lake Railroad Company, 1911, $10,000 specimen bond from the American Bank Note Archives
The line, completed in 1905, crossed unpopulated desert terrain between Los Angeles and Salt Lake until the city of Las Vegas began its growth in the mid-twentieth century. A gorgious design with a speeding locomotive flanked by two money spending water nymphs. Rare, estimated $180-280
Click to enlarge image


US Railroad connoisseurs will be delighted to see the many rare securities involved. Several of these come from the American Bank Note Archives, have not been seen in issued form and are probably unique. Here are some picks to illustrate my point :
  • A $10,000 specimen bond in the Southern Pacific Railroad Company, 1905, woman with child and railway scenes, L.819, can be acquired from $200.
  • An Evansville & Richmond Railroad Company bond, 1891, "00000" serial number, appeared 16 years ago at auction. This is the second one offered since then, L.836. Estimated between $450 and $750.
  • Unknown in issued form, and last one from two found in the archives, Crooked Creek Railroad and Coal Company, 1911, specimen bond, depicts a coal train and factory, L.841. 
  • A stunning and equally rare $10,000 specimen bond from the Central Railroad of New Jersey, 1887, L.893, should interest railway collectors at $425 start price. 
  • Tramcars and passengers illuminated by an angel with electric light, two great vignettes on a Akron Street Railway and Illuminating Company specimen bond, 1896, Akron, Ohio, L.915. A bid starting at $500 may bring you home this certificate, the only one known since its discovery in 2002.

Here are the sale's details, so you can discover much more for yourself :

  • Location : Fort Lee, New Jersey
  • Date : 8 August 2018
  • Further info : see here, AIA's online catalogue with full color images, here, and PDF version there 

F.L.