Monday, January 27, 2020

Kolkata displays historic share certificates from India

On 4 and 5 April, 2020, you can visit "Indian Scripophily 2020", a unique exhibition on antique securities from India. The event takes place at the Nand Lal Bose Gallery, Kolkata.

SCRIPOPHILY is the study and collection of antique bond and share certificates. A specialized field of numismatics, scripophily is an area of collecting due to both the beauty of these documents as well as the interesting historical context of each document. Many certificates are outstanding examples of intaglio and lithographic printing.

The event is hosted at the Rabindranath Tagore Centre in Kolkata, which is the cultural flagship of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR).  India's first Minister of Education, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, founded in 1950 the ICCR for promoting dialogue with other nations showcasing the diverse and rich cultural tradition of India.

Place to be is the centre's 3rd floor, the Nand Lal Bose Gallery. The gallery, occupying nearly 400 sq m, has housed exhibitions like 'The Lost Palaces of Delhi', with 18th century paintings by Jean Bapiste Gentil, and a photographic exhibition of film-maker, art historian and photographer Binoy K. Behl. 

share of the Imperial Bank of India

One of the artefacts on display is a share from the Imperial Bank of India, today known as the State Bank of India. Legendary economist John Maynard Keynes conceived the idea for a large, regulating bank in India. In 1921 Keynes led the merger of the three Presidency banks, the Bank of Bengal, the Bank of Madras and the Bank of Bombay, into a single bank, the Imperial Bank of India. The bank was 80% privately owned and acted as the central bank of British India prior to the formation in 1935 of the Reserve Bank of India. Click image to enlarge 

Indian Scripophily 2020 is a joint initiative by experts Sanjay Misra and Ravi Sevak. The exhibition presents nearly 300 Indian share certificates from the pre-independence period. It is an excellent opportunity to learn about the many industrial and commercial ventures set up during the British Raj. 

share certificate from the Burma Corporation Limited

Here's is another example from the exhibit, a share from the Burma Corporation LtdFirst attracted as a mining consultant, the American engineer Herbert Hoover becomes in 1908 director of Burma Mines. Shortly thereafter, the mines at Namtu are absorbed by the Burma Corporation, a business cofounded by Hoover. The company lucratively extracts lead, zinc, copper and silver. After WW I, Hoover starts a career in politics and becomes President of the USA from March 4, 1929 till March 4, 1933. He visits India in April 1946 as Chairman of the US Famine Emergency Commission, and meets Gandhi and Nehru to discuss the problem of famine in the wake of World War II. 

The exhibition also illustrates the evolution of security printing in India. In the 19th century the creation of securities, mostly for British companies, was done in England and followed a British design tradition. Since the 1900s Indian printers developed their own lettering styles and ornaments, resulting in a unique range of bond and share certificates.

Practical info 
  • Location : Indian Council for Cultural Relations, Rabindranath Tagore Centre, Nand Lal Bose Gallery, 9 A Ho Chi Minh Sarani, Kolkata 700 701, see here 
  • Duration : 4 - 5 April 2020 
  • Opening hours : 11 AM to 7 PM
  • Entrance fee : no entrance fee


Thursday, January 16, 2020

Spink London announced its E-auction of world bonds & share certificates

Over 400 lots of scripophily go on Spink's E-block. This online sale already started Jan 9 15:00. The bidding window closes on January 22 11:00. At stake are antique stocks and bonds from many countries. Larger sections include UK, China, Australia, South Africa, and the Confederate States of America.

Henry Bradbury and Robert Wilmot Wilkinson organised in 1856 The Bradbury, Wilkinson & Company in London. The business specialized in the engraving and printing of banknotes, postage stamps and securities. Companies and governments from all over the world commissioned the company to print their bonds and shares. The certificate shown here was produced for the Province of Westphalia 7% Sterling Loan of 1926. The £835,000 loan consisted of 470 bonds of £500 and 6000 bonds of £100. This specimen bond is of the highest rarity. L193 in the auction

The City of Moscow Gas Company Limited obtained a 30-years concession for the gas lighting of Moscow. The contract was signed on January 29, 1865, and the company began construction of a plant on Nizhne-Susalsky Blind Alley, laying of a gas network and installation of gas lamps. By 1867, there were already over 4,000 gas lamps on the city streets. This is £20=500Francs bond from 1867 has serial nr. 1. L237 in the auction
source: Pioneers of the Methane Age, by Alexander Yefimov and Lyudmila Volkova, Oil of Russia, Lukoil International Magazine,, consulted 16th Jan 2020.

More fascinating scripophily can be seen online. Here are the details :

  • Location : this is an Internet only sale
  • Date : Jan 9 15:00 - Jan 22 11:00.
  • Further info : see here