Thursday, November 9, 2017

Beautiful Contagious Scripophily at AIA's 45th Sale

Spread over two sessions, Archives International Auctions 45th Sale features banknotes, coins, security printing ephemera, historic documents and autographs. Over 180 lots of U.S., Chinese & worldwide scripophily are included. One of many fascinating lots is a proof Contagious Disease Hospital Bond of the City of Detroit. Unknown to the collector's market, only one hundred of these bonds were issued in 1908 as part of a $100,000 loan. This unique proof is likely the only remaining scripophily from this part of Detroit's modern history. 

Contagious Disease Hospital Bond of the City of Detroit 
$1000 3.5% Coupon Bond, 1908, printer proof 
large vignette of boats out on lake
seal of the city of Detroit (left) and of the state of Michigan (right)
A printer proof, which is basically a printed prototype, 
usually bears  the original notes from the printing company 
regarding specifications of certificate.

Despite an attractive interest rate and the full guarantee by the city of Detroit, the hospital loan was not popular. The Detroit Free Press, May 21, 1908 reports : 
"A healthy tone in the local money market was indicated by the bids opened yesterday by Controller Doremus for the $249,000 of public school bonds and the $100.000 of contagious disease hospital bonds. The school bonds, paying interest at the rate of 3.5 per cent, were over subscribed, ... . A feature of the bidding was that there were practically no offers for the hospital bonds except one made by the city sinking fund commission at par, although the full credit of the city of Detroit is pledged equally in both cases, and one bond as good as the other in point of security, rate of interest and every other respect. "It is all in the name," said Matthew Finn, representing one of the bidders. "A public school bond has a good reputation and is easy to sell, while a contagious disease hospital bond makes one think of the smallpox and other disagreeable things. Some people might even be afraid of catching the measles by handling one of the documents." 
Mr. Finn's statements may sound bizarre but were relevant to Detroit at the time. Smallpox plagued the city since the 1830s. A city hospital, operated by the Sisters of Charity to care for patients with contagious diseases, was destroyed by fire in 1892. To continue the care for patients the city's Health Board leased a steamboat, the Milton D. Ward Contagious Disease Hospital, for two years until a small hospital building was erected to treat smallpox patients. Due to more outbreaks of smallpox, tuberculosis and other diseases, construction of a more suitable facility started in the 1900s. In 1911 the first two pavilions of a new Contagious Disease Hospital were opened which became known as the Herman Kiefer Hospital for Contagious Disease.

U.S., Chinese & Worldwide 
Banknotes, Coins, Scripophily and 
Security Printing Ephemera and Autographs

Auction details
  • Location : Fort Lee, New Jersey
  • Dates : 16 November 2017
  • Further info : see AIA , online catalogue here and PDF version there 


Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Titanic victim Benjamin Guggenheim scripophily for sale in AIA's auction

Archives International Auctions sets its next auction date to Monday, 30th October 2017. Nearly four hundred US, Chinese & worldwide banknotes, ephemera, stocks and bonds are ready for a new owner. Among other beautiful certificates, the scripophily section also includes a bond from the International Steam Pump Company.

Lot 259 : International Steam Pump Company 
First Lien Twenty Year 5% Sinking Fund Gold Bond, specimen 1909 
Click image to enlarge, check the vignette and notice 
the size of the steam engine powered pump in comparison to the person. 

Benjamin Guggenheim, born in Philadelphia, Oct. 26, 1865, was the fifth of seven sons of Meyer Guggenheim. By the time he was 20 years old, his father sent him to Leadvilie, Colorado, to manage the Guggenheim's mining interests. In 1903 Benjamin Guggenheim built a plant at Milwaukee, Wisconsin, for the manufacture of mining machinery. Three years later the business was merged with the International Steam Pump Company. He became the latter's Chairman of the Executive Committee, until Jan 1909, when he was elected President.
Following a trip to Europe in 1912, Benjamin Guggenheim boarded the RMS Titanic and was accompanied by his entourage and his mistress, the French singer Léontine Aubart. After the Titanic's collision with an iceberg, he and his valet, Victor Giglio, helped the rescue of women and children. Subsequently they changed clothes and headed for the ship's Grand Staircase foyer. Guggenheim remarked, "We've dressed up in our best and are prepared to go down like gentlemen." Both men went down with the ship, Léontine Aubart survived.

Auction details

  • Location : Fort Lee, New Jersey
  • Dates : 30 October 2017
  • Further info : see AIA , online catalogue here and PDF version there 


Spink auction presents American winemaking history

Spink USA plans its next New York auction in The Numismatic Collector's Series for Oct 30 and Nov 1, 2017. The sale includes coins, decorations, militaria, paper money, antique maps, autographs and other historical documents. Also on the menu are more than fifty, mainly American, bond and share certificates. One of these is a share from The Company for Promoting the Cultivation of Vines in Pennsylvania, one of the earliest wineries in America.


Company for Promoting the Cultivation of Vines in Pennsylvania
Lot 1916, share of $20, issued 1811, embossed seal with a bunch of grapes, surrounded by "SEAL OF THE VINE COMPANY OF PENNSYLVANIA.
click to enlarge

Peter Legaux fled from prerevolutionary France in 1785. He boarded a ship bound for Philadelphia. There he found many compatriots and applied for citizenship. Legaux soon purchased an estate by the Schuykill River at Spring Mill. He discovered that native grapes were prolific and that the soil and climate conditions were comparable to those in Italy and France.
Legaux decided to produce his own wine and established one of the first vineyards in America. The wine he produced was a success. An entry in Legaux’s diary on July 22, 1787 states, “This day General Washington, General Thomas Mifflin and four other members of the Constitutional Convention did the honor of paying us a visit in order to see our vineyard and the bee business.” Peter Legaux could later persuade President Jefferson to support a duty on imported wines to encourage home production.

In 1802, Legaux incorporated The Company for Promoting the Cultivation of Vines in Pennsylvania. The company's first President was Peter Muhlenberg, a Revolutionary Brigadier General at the battles of Brandywine and Yorktown. In the same year Muhlenberg became also Philadelphia's customs collector.
Source: History of the Company for Promoting the Cultivating of Vines in Pennsylvania, Earl Moore, Financial History, Issue 65, 1999, Museum of American Financial History

Auction details
  • Location : New York City
  • Dates :  30 Oct  - 1 Nov 2017 
  • Further info : see here