Thursday, October 25, 2012

Reference catalogue : Cox's North American Railroads

Front cover of Terry Cox's catalogue of North American railroad securities
2nd Edition, 2003
double-click image to enlarge

  • Title : Collectible Stocks and Bonds from North American Railroads - Guide with prices, second edition
  • Authors : Terry Cox
  • ID : ISBN 0-9746485-0-7, published by TCox & Associates Inc., 2003
  • Languages : English
  • Number of pages : 546
  • Images : about 225 black and white images 
  • Indexes : alphabetically, additional index on the key words and phrases from the chapters
  • Still available, see here.

This superb reference catalogue covers stocks and bonds from companies that built, or planned to build, railroads in the USA, Canada, Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Jamaica and other Carribean Islands. 

Included are: mainline railroads, short line railroads, narrow gauge railroads, horse railroads, tourist railroads, electric railroads, street railroads, traction railroads, subways, tramways. The edition lists about a phenomenal 18000 different certificate entries with price indication. Several "Quickfind Charts" help you to find certificates from companies that issued tens of varieties.

I bought the 1st edition of the book, I believe it was in 1998. When in 2003 the 2nd edition appeared I purchased that one as well without the slightest hesitation. Though I am not a collector of these railroad certificates, I have used the books exhaustively. Just look at the images of both editions, you'll see the fold and cracks in the front covers. Why? Well, the book contains so much more and useful stuff for any  collector of American shares and bonds in general.

What is a CUSIP number ? Do you know the difference between cumulative preferred stock and assessable stock? The answers on these questions and many more are given in the book. You will find information on quantities of certificates, price evolutions, terminology, security engraving, lettering on securities, denominations, paper, underprints and overprints, scams, rarity, autograph aspects, a list of 300 biographical entries, and more ..

Chapters preceding the actual catalogue section :
  • Purpose of this guide
  • Background on stock certificates
  • Background on bond certificates
  • Background on railroad-related certificates
  • Miscellaneous information about certificates
  • General information about railroad companies
  • Revenue stamps and imprints
  • A discussion of prices
  • Use this price guide to your benefit
  • What about selling your certificates
  • Explanation of catalog numbering system
  • Categories of information recorded
  • Selected references
  • How to help correct and expand this guide
  • Glossary of common terms used on stocks and bonds
  • Autographs found on railroad stocks and bonds

The book is only a part of a bigger project realized by the author : Coxrail is the online version including a  searchable database on the catalogue entries. Here you find new additions, images, updated price information, serial numbers recorded and again lots more for the railroad scripophily enthusiast. Terry Cox is also working on a third edition, as you can see here , but that meticulous and time-consuming labour is still in progress. 


Further information : Terry Cox's Coxrail 

1st edition, 1995
double-click image to enlarge

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Digest of scripophily readings VII

New online scripophily articles and references, October 2012

HPax - Hankes market index for German scripophily
Ulrich W. Hanke is no stranger to German collectors of stocks and bonds. In his German blog, Hankes Historische, Hanke follows the news on the German scripophily scene including auction and eBay results but also highlights the more modern securities. You may also want to read about him in this online interview.
As far as I know he is the first one to publish a market index for the German high end scripophily market. The HPax, Historische wertPApiere-indeX (English: historical securities index), is calculated twice a year and is based on the ten most expensive items sold by auction by the HWPH and FHW auction houses. See the chart here.
It is a matter of time when others may conceive similar indexes for other regions, e.g. Asia, or market segments, such as American gold mining certificates. A great idea!

Banking history of Northern England
In 1894 E. Wilson & Company publishes the book A History of Banks, Bankers and Banking in Northumberland, Durham, and North Yorkshire. It is written by Maberly Phillips. As the subtitle indicates, this worthy volume illustrates the commercial development of the north of England from 1755 to 1894 with numerous portraits, facsimiles of notes, signatures, documents, et cetera.

  • Banking in London
  • Banking in Scotland
  • Incidents prior to Provincial Banking
  • Provincial Banking (8 chapters spanning the period 1755 - 1894 )
  • Coining and clipping, tontines and lotteries.
  • Bank Reviews
  • Index
Interesting for us: in 300 pages hundreds of banks are reviewed.  Furthermore, the book is illustrated with close to a hundred images of early coins, clipped coins, forged assignates, banknotes, document signatures, portraits, engravings ..  When did we stop making books like that? A must read for anyone interested in English banking history and early and counterfeit money. Yes, there is an online version. You can see it here , the PDF-link is at the left.

Front cover of Scripophily magazine, issue 89 August 2012, IBSS

Scripophily Magazine
In addition to the articles above, the brand new August 2012 No.89 issue of Scripophily magazine, published by the International Bond and Share Society, contains the following stories :

  • The Oldest Mining Scripophily
  • Speculations Roll On (Mexico, Westphalia, Brazil)
  • The Nineteenth Century UK Bicycle/Infant Motor Industry Investment 'Bubbles'
  • Strasburg Retrospective
  • Joseph R De La Mar - The "American Monte Cristo" (US mining & gold mining)
  • The Texas Pacific Land Trust and the Saga of Certificate No.390 (railways, land property, oil)
  • The Central of Georgia (US railroad and shipping)
  • Self-Referential Scripophily: Mary Ann Gold and Silver Mining Co., Nevada Territory
  • other periodical topics : News, Bourse Reviews, Book Reviews, Auction Reviews, Events calendar, Member Classifieds, Update Membership Directory Supplement, Club Auction  

Tip 1 : This issue has been put online as free download, see here. If you are still not a member, time to check out the magazine by yourself !

Tip 2 : Also this issue includes a 2-For-1 admission coupon for the Checks and Balances exhibition, see here,  at the Museum of American Finance, open through November 2012.


Signed the Guest book yet ?

Monday, October 1, 2012

Cricket and the Olympics

Cricket is said to be the second most popular sport in the world. Yet it was not included in the London 2012 Summer Olympics. For those not familiar with cricket, and I am one of them, here is a small historical overview. For the cricket initiates amongst us, I hope you enjoy the bonds and shares in this article. Cricket scripophily is exceptional. 

from the Laroussse Universel en 2 Volumes 1922

500 years of cricket
Already in the 16th century people played an early form of cricket in England. The first famous cricket club was the Hambledon Club founded in the late 1760s. It was the Marylebone Cricket Club, established in 1787, that described and controlled the Laws of Cricket. The MCC would become England's governing body of cricket. By the 1800s cricket was played all over England. During the expansion of the British Empire in the 19th century, military and merchants introduced tennis, rugby and cricket too in the overseas territories. The first international match took place between the USA and Canada in 1844. In 1877 England and Australia contested each other. On a regular basis both countries would rival each other in a series of matches that would become known as the Ashes. 

Debenture of the Yokohama Country and Athletic Club
The Yokohama Country and Athletic Club
English merchants introduced cricket in the Far East in the 19th century.
Originally founded in 1868 as the Yokohama Cricket Club.
The YCAC still exists today, more info here.
1913 Certificate for 20 debentures of five Yen (Japanese gold currency)
Sold after 6 bids on Ebay, July 2011, for 55 Euro