Thursday, May 13, 2021

Reference catalogue : Bulgarian bonds

Scripophily literature about Bulgaria is sparse, but that is changing. 

Author Pitt Alan has compiled the first edition of a two-part volume on Bulgarian state securities. The two works are digital publications. I will tell you more about that immediately, but let us first have a closer look at the content.




Part I Long Term Bonds 

The first volume gives an overview of known long term bonds issued by the Bulgarian governments. It consists of 185 pages in which about 180 bonds are described. Part I counts 150 color illustrations in medium resolution. This volume is written in English.

Each entry addresses the following characteristics : catalogue number, title, face value, maturity, coupons, description, watermark, printer, mintage, rarity and price indication (where possible). Here's an overview of the chapters :
  • A. Government and Bank Loans (the largest chapter)
    • Principality of Bulgaria 16 April 1879 - 22 September 1908
    • Kingdom of Bulgaria 22 September 1908 - 15 September 1946
    • People's Republic of Bulgaria 15 September 1946 - 15 November 1990
    • Republic of Bulgaria 15 Nov 1990 - present day
  • B. Municipal Loans
  • C. Loans of Commercial Enterprises
  • D. Loans of Political Organizations
  • E. Loans of Various Entities


After the Russo-Turkish War, 1878, the Bulgarian state was reestablished as the Principality of Bulgaria. Officially, a vassal state of the Ottoman Empire, the principality was de facto independent. This £20 = 500 Francs = 500 Leva specimen bond was printed in London by Bradbury, Wilkinson & Co. It was part of the State Redeemable 6% Loan of 1888. Cat. Nr. A.1


Part II Treasury Bills 

Volume II discusses treasury bills, short term bonds, issued by the successive Bulgarian governments. This volume counts 107 pages illustrated with 250 color illustrations (obverse and reverse) in medium resolution. Here, the author added more in depth information to each treasury bill issue. This volume is written in both English and Bulgarian. 

An overview of the chapters of the 2nd volume :
  • A. 1st period - Pre World War I State Treasury Bills for guarantee of external state loans
  • B. 2nd period - World War I State Treasury Bills for covering budget deficit, issued 1917-1920, representing internal state loans
  • C. 3rd period - Between the two World Wars, State Treasury Bills for covering reparations and for new military expenses
  • D. 4th period - World War II State Treasury Bills representing internal loans
  • E. 5th period - State Treasury Bills issued after the democratic changes of 1989


At the end of World War II the USSR invaded Bulgaria. In 1946 a communist one-party people's republic was instituted. Bulgaria became one of the founding members of the Comecon in 1949. This Council for Mutual Economic Assistance, under leadership of the Soviet Union, enabled Bulgaria to strengthen its economic relationships with other Eastern Bloc countries and socialist states. This 20 leva interest-free bond from the State Loan for Development of National Economy was issued in 1952. Cat. A.30 


This is a digital password protected publication. How does it work ?

The two volumes appeared only in a digital and password protected format, namely PDF. They are available from eBay seller BC43L currently at the price of $25,94 each. See here

After purchasing one of these items on eBay, the buyer receives by email a download link and a password. Once downloaded, you can open the PDF file after providing the password. Each volume is also 'custom-generated' : the name of the buyer is printed at the bottom of each page next to the page number. 

One last thing to know, unlike the images shown in this article, the images in the volumes have a subtle digital watermark.


This 5% 12-month treasury bill of 5000 Leva was issued in 1918. Cat. B.106 
After World War I there was a shortage of paper money. The Kingdom of Bulgaria started using treasury bills as paper money by having them overprinted and verified with the handwritten signatures of three government officials (inspector, controller and cashier). The text in blue overprint shown on the example says (source : Bulgarian bonds, Part II, Pitt Alan)
The bill has the power of banknote, just for the interior of the Kingdom. 
With term until 31 December 1922 and up to the value of the principal amount. 
Leva 5,000 five thousand 5,000 Leva. 
Bulgarian National Bank


Peter Anguelov wrote these two volumes under the pseudonym Pitt Alan. No doubt collectors of Bulgarian and even Ottoman and Soviet scripophily, as well banknotes, will be interested. 


F.L.

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Sunday, May 9, 2021

Feuerwerk at HSK's May auction! Over 1400 antique stocks and bonds from Germany, USA and other states, go on the block

Hanseatisches Sammlerkontor für Historische Wertpapiere, HSK, has scheduled its next auction for 29 May 2021. Michael Weingarten and his team goes online with more than 1400 lots of historic bonds and share certificates. The sale features scripophily from Germany, USA, Russia and more. One of the highlights is a stunning and rare share in the Rochlitz coal mining association.


The Gründerzeit starts halfway the 19th century. During this period Germany's rail and transport network took off, and in its wake, the other industrial activities. However, government rules allowed only very few companies to be organized.  
The short-lived Steinkohlenbau-Verein zu Rochlitz was formed in 1855. Its interim share, a wonderful lithograph, shows at the top the city of Rochlitz and mining scenes on the left and the right. At the bottom we see gnomes at work and an explosion in their mine. Seldom seen in early prints you detect mined rock with imprints of fossilized plants. L(ot) 1168 in the auction is expected to realize at least €12,000 


Starting with this auction, HSK's 40th, the auctioneer decided to change its schedule. HSK auctions will now take place in the early summer period of the year. Also, participants have now the opportunity to follow the auctions live on the Internet via the Invaluable online platform. 



The Alaska Gold Syndicate Company was formed in 1896 under the laws of the Territory of Arizona. Its office was located in "the end of the road " Homer,  Kachemak Bay, Alaska. This 1898 stock certificate, with large hydraulic mining vignette, was printed by the Hamilton Bank Note Engraving & Printing Co. L15 in the auction.

The first major section in the event includes 330 lots of American scripophily. Noteworthy are several certificates from Alaska, as well as stocks from several shipping companies, such as L313, Union Navigation Company, L314, The United States and Azorean Steam Packet Company, and L318, The United States Mail Steamship Company. And there is a lot to go through for US railroad collectors as well, a few examples :
  • L67 Chester and Eddystone Street Railway, elk vignette
  • L199 The Natchitoches and Red River Valley Railway, rare
  • L329 The Wilmington, Charlotte and Rutherford Railroad Company, three vignettes, rare



Merchants from Bremen formed in 1856 Norddeutscher Lloyd, a precursor of the multinational TUI Group. This rare 100 Reichsmark share from 1929 illustrates the printing mastership of Giesecke & Devrient. Note how Norddeutscher Lloyd's logo, a crossed anchor and key with an oak leaf wreath, is included in both the left corner guilloches. The anchor represents the sea and the wreath stands for a united Germany. The key is the key of the Freie Hansestadt Bremen. L603 starts from €300 


HSK specializes in scripophily from North Germany. The sale counts about 200 lots from Bremen and Niedersachsen, over 100 lots related to Hamburg and more than 40 lots from Schleswig-Holstein and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. The Norddeutscher Lloyd share shown here is one example. Some others are :
  • L461 Aper Canal-Gesellschaft, 1849, what a shipping vignette! 
  • L478 Bremerhavener Strassenbahn, rare
  • L638 Uelzener Bierbrauerei-Gesellschaft, bond printed by Hofbuchdruckerei der Gebrüder Jänecke from Hannover 
  • Due to the spartan equipment of its ships and the notoriously poor catering, the Deutsch-Australische Dampfschiffs-Gesellschaft earned the nickname "the German-Austerity-Line". Its rare share from 1888 is one of the highlights in the auction, L671 



After World War I the Nürnberg area counted several competing brands of motorcycles such as Ardie, Mars and Zündapp.  Apparatebau AG Kracker & Co. produced in the early 1920s several lightweight motorcycles under the Abako brand. This specimen share, with hundreds of gears in the design, was produced in a striking Art Deco style by Graphische Kunstanstalt Zerreiss & Co. L828


The European section, lot range 365 through 452, includes historic items like a 1918 share in the Det-Østasiatiske Kompagni, L365, and, L409, Kaiser Ferdinands Nordbahn, 1856. And here is a representative of modern scripophily, Austrian Airlines.


In 1988 Austrian Airlines underwent an IPO upon the Vienna Stock Exchange. Yet the majority of shares in the company stayed with the Austrian government. L375, Austrian Airlines Österreichische Luftverkehrs-AG, Wien, 1000 Schilling share, 1988, starts at €100 


There is a lot more to discover in the sale, so here are the details :


F.L.


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