Tuesday, March 19, 2019

The Wogau saga that includes a bonus

In the early 1760s, Catherine II the Great wanted to modernize agriculture and industry in the Russian Empire. Compared with Western Europe the country was lagging behind on economic development. She published declarations in which she invited Europeans to immigrate and become Russian citizens, farmers, entrepreneurs and traders. Many new settlers came from Germany. Catherine was a German princess herself.

Wogau & Co. brings the remarkable story of the Wogau family and its businesses in the Russian Empire. The book's author is Erik Meyer, an expert in Russian scripophily who has written articles in magazines and auction catalogs in this field. 

Wogau & Co., by Erik Meyer 
Portrait of Philipp Maximilian von Wogau (27 May 1807 - 20 Jan 1880) 

In 2017, after many years of research on the German Wogau family, Erik Meyer published the book Wogau & Co.  He sketches out the growth of the Wogau business:
"In 1827, Maximilian von Wogau leaves Frankfurt and sets off for Moscow to seek his fortune. He will rise from office boy to multi-millionaire. His enterprise will become the largest and wealthiest German trading firm and industrial group in Russia.  
Wogau engaged in consumer goods tea and sugar as well as in commodities and semi-finished products such as iron, copper, cement, paper, soda and other  chemical and pharmaceutical products. 
Despite holding shares in a dozen factories, the company’s own capital was strictly kept within the family. Wogau never went public. The shares in capital and profits of individual family members were only kept in a simple notebook, the so-called  “Journal of the Secret Book.“ 

The book's chapters discuss the many aspects of the Wogau saga. An overview :
  • Am Anfang stand der Tee (Tea in the beginning)
  • Die Dynastie der Associés (Dynasty of associates)
    • Friedrich (Fjodor Maximowitsch) von Wogau
    • Wilhelm (Wassilij Dmitriewitsch) Luther
    • Karl Heinrich (Karl Maximowitsch) von Wogau
    • Moritz (Mawrikij Filippowitsch) Marc
    • Conrad (Konrad Karlowitsch) Bansa
    • Albert Erwin (Erwin Augustowitsch) Schumacher
    • Otto (Otto Maximowitsch) von Wogau
    • Maximilian Hugo (Hugo Maximowitsch) von Wogau
    • Maximilian (Max Karlowitsch) von Wogau
    • Georg Konrad (Georgij Dmitriewitsch) Rüchardt
    • Rudolf (Rudolf Wassiliewitsch) Hermann
    • Hugo (Hugo Mawrikiewitsch) Marc
    • Walter Waldemar Schumarcher (Ffennell)
  • Der Handel mit "Commodities" (Trading in commodities) 
  • Wogau als Privatbankier und Bankengründer (Wogau as a private banker and bank founder) 
  • Die industriellen Beteiligungen (The industrial holdings)  
    • Wogau in der Eisenhüttenindustrie (Iron and steel) 
    • Wogau in der Kupferindustrie (Copper) 
    • Wogau in der Baustoffindustrie (Building materials) 
    • Wogau in der chemischen Industrie (Chemical) 
    • Wogau in der Zuckerindustrie (Sugar) 
    • Weitere Industriebeteiligungen (Other industrial participations) 
  • Die Geschäftsordnung des Handelshauses (Rules of Order of the trading house) 
  • Das Geheimbuch (The Secret Book) 
  • Warwarka, die Zentrale des Hauses Wogau & Co. (The headquarters of the Wogau business) 
  • Familie und Gesellschaft (Family and company) 
  • Weltkrieg, Revolution und Flucht (World war, revolution and flight) 
  • BRAMARCO - Wogau im Exil (Successor BRAMARCO - Wogau in exile) 
  • Das Schiksal der in Russland Gebliebenen (The fate of those who remained in Russia)  

Société pour la Production de Soude en Russie sous la Firme "Lubimoff, Solvay et Cie" 
1000 Roubles share, 1888, Moscow 
This joint venture between the Russian soda producer Ivan Lubimoff and the Belgian company Solvay came about in 1887 through the initiative and equity participation of Wogau & Co. Already more than 130 years ago, the founding of the company was the result of a joint pan-European project involving the Russian Ivan Lubimoff, the Belgian Armand Solvay, the German Maximilian von Wogau, the Frenchman Auguste Loutreuil and the British citizen and St. Petersburg textile manufacturer William Thornton as the founders. 
courtesy of Erik Meyer 

But things would change for the Wogau family business. Erik Meyer continues :
"Over the years, Wogau managed to grow the company’s capital to nearly unbelievable proportions. By adopting prudent bylaws for the trading firm, Wogau succeeded in keeping together the growing family and its capital for nearly 80 years. The firm’s “Secret Book“, for a long time supposed to have been lost, survived and is presented in this volume for the very first time!  
The Russian Revolution of 1917 put a stop to the remarkable rise of the trading firm of Wogau & Co. The family had to flee the Bolsheviks. Their hard-earned wealth of over 50 million gold rubles was lost in one fell swoop."

Erik Meyer has written an intriguing work about a German immigrant family in Tsarist Russia. The book includes black and white photographs from the 19th and early 20th century, and of course several rare Russian bond and share cerificates in full color. 

Further details
  • Title: Wogau & Co. - Das grösste deutsche Handelshaus im russischen Zarenreich, in English : Wogau & Co. - The largest German trading house in the Russian Empire
  • Author : Erik Meyer
  • ID : hardcover 978-3-86460-618-2, softcover 978-3-86460-619-9, published 2017 by Pro BUSINESS GmbH
  • Languages : German
  • Number of pages : 210
  • Images : 70 images, including about 20 bonds and shares 

The book, which fits in your laptop case, is available on Amazon here. Google provides an online preview, there.

Oh, and at the end of the book, there is a Buchbonus, a QR code, that gives you access to more online resources including huge family trees, some more scripophily and the like.
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Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Archives International Auctions presents antique securities in upcoming March auction

Over the last 12 years Archives International Auctions has been offering banknotes, coins, scripophily, autographs and security printing ephemera in more than 50 auctions. Their next sale takes place on Tuesday, March 19th 2019 at their new offices in River Edge, New Jersey. The event marks also the launch of Archives International Middle East Auctions, AIA's new division which will specialize in banknotes and coins from Islamic countries.

Scripophily is substantial in this auction sale which includes 300 lots of antique stocks and bonds from the USA, Mexico, China and much more. Here are some stunning items from the American section.

Lot 892 : New York Telephone Company, 1909 $500 specimen bond 
Now part of Verizon, this company was organized in 1896 by the Bell Telephone Company to take over the operations of the Metropolitan Telephone and Telegraph and the Westchester Telephone companies. In 2001 the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center damaged the company's largest exchange building, now called the Verizon Building. 

Lot 583 : Arkansas State Telegraph Company, $50 shares, 1861 
Right from the start of the American Civil War, private telegraph companies played an important role in this conflict. Telegrams were used to transmit information from reconnaissance missions, reports on army units in contact with the enemy, or simply for asking a fellow officer to charter steam boats for troop transport. The Arkansas State Telegraph Company was one of the most important private telegraph companies of the Confederates. This share was issued on 1st of July 1861, only two months after Arkansas left the Union. Historic and extremely rare

Lot 767 : Wired Ventures, Inc., specimen stock, ca. 1993 
"IN THE FUTURE WE TRUST" is the motto printed vertically over the entire width on this Wired stock certificate. Founded in 1993 the magazine focuses on how new technologies affects culture, the economy, and politics. The term "Crowdsourcing" was coined in the magazine's June 2006 issue. More recently Wired discussed the 2018 Atlanta cyberattack in several much talked-about articles about cyberwarfare.  

There is much more to tell about this auction, but the most interesting way is to see for yourself. So here are the auction details :
  • New Location : 1060 Main Street Suit 202, River Edge, New Jersey
  • Date : 19 March 2019
  • Further info : see here , live and absentee bidding here and a downloadable PDF catalogue there