Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Internet Scripophily Museum of Computing in the making

I've been blogging about computing before on this site. Click the label computers in the left margin to find some related content. There is so much to reveal on this field of scripophily. Yet, the nature of a "general" blog like this one doesn't lend itself very well for providing much information at one time. That is why I decided to set up a dedicated website.

Intel Corporation, specimen bond certificate from the 1980s
Intel Corporation, specimen bond from 1980
Intel is known as a maker of semiconductor chips and became famous 
for its microprocessors like the 8086, 80386, Pentium and Itanium. 
The organization also made early microcomputer kits and since the 1980s supercomputers.

The ISMOC project is about scripophily and computer history. ISMOC stands for Internet Scripophily Museum of Computing. That's right. I'm working on a virtual museum of historical securities from organizations involved in digital computers. Though still in an early stage, you can have a look there

So far the following entries have been put online :
  • organizations
    • Addressograph-Multigraph Corporation
    • Gould Inc.
    • Idaho Maryland Mines Corporation
    • International Business Machines Corporation (IBM)
    • PolyComputers Inc. 
  • people
    • Cary, Frank Taylor
    • Opel, John Roberts
    • Ylvisaker, William Townend
ISMOC has a Site History page informing about further developments. You can also follow along on Twitter, here.

Some concepts in scripophily can not be illustrated with a single image. Here is a video showing an Intel specimen bond and a production model for a stock certificate, both from the Security-Columbian US Banknote CorporationA specimen is a printed sample of the real thing. An example of that is shown at the right. The item on the left is a production model for a possible design of an Intel stock certificate. Designers of securities used to cut up portions of existing engraved items such as company logos, vignettes, scrollwork, borders, titles, corporate seals, text, et cetera.These items were then reapplied (pasted) in a different design, a new model. When the model was accepted, a proof, basically a printed prototype, could be printed.

In the video you will notice a transparant plastic overlay on the production model. That overlay also contains printing elements. In this case, it contains a standard 'CERTIFICATE OF STOCK' line. The overlay simulates the underprint for the main certificate text. In case the text changes, like in the case of a bond, only the overlay needed to be changed to 'REGISTERED'. 
At the end of the video, I focus on the facsimile signature of Intel's Chairman of the Board. Ever heard of Moore's law. Yep, that's the man. When working as R&D Director at Fairchild Semiconductor, Gordon Earle Moore observed that the number of electronic components in an integrated circuit would double every year. Later he revised the forecast to every two years. 

It will take me several years to complete the ISMOC project. Frankly I hope this turns out to be a neverending story. This is a scripophily venture that will take me on a worldwide journey through modern times. Will you join me on the ride once in a while ?


Signed the Guest book yet ?

Related links

Monday, April 17, 2017

HWPH auctions scripophily from Albert Pick

Das Historisches Wertpapierhaus (HWPH) offers over 2,400 lots of historic securities in two upcoming auctions. The sale includes a section of bond and share certificates, promissory notes and checks which were collected by numismatic pioneer Albert Pick (lots 896 through 927).

From the Albert Pick collection :
6% 100 soles government bond, 1875, Lima Peru
The sol was introduced in 1863 when Peru completed its decimalization.
It replaced the real at a rate of 1 sol = 10 reales.

Albert Pick (1922-2015) is the most famous numismatist in the field of banknotes. He started collecting banknotes as a child. In 1964 Pick had assembled 180,000 banknotes, a collection he gave to the Bayerische Hypotheken- und Wechselbank. In exchange for that, the bank appointed him curator of the collection. Since then, and having lots of material at his disposal, Pick started to write books and paper money catalogs. The first edition of his Standard Catalog of World Paper Money was published in 1975 and is used all over the world. It assigns every banknote issued the well-known 'Pick number'.

Auction details

  • Dates & location
    • HWPH Auction 45 (lots 1-927): 29 April 2017, Würzburg
    • HWPH Auction 46 (lots 928-2425): 1 May 2017, Internet only
  • More info 


Thursday, March 30, 2017

Spink US April 2017 auction

Spink US schedules its next Numismatic Collector's Series Sale next week. Amid hundreds of coins, medals, militaria and banknotes nearly forty lots of stocks and bonds are ready for a new keeper.

Now take auction lot 935 which consists of a scarce trio of Central Railroad Company of New Jersey bonds. Coxrail tells us that these types are not known as issued examples. The Central Railroad of New Jersey (CNJ) with origins in the 1830s became known after WW II as the Jersey Central Lines. Over the years, the business grew into a Class I railroad company. In 1911, when the Interstate Commerce Commission classed railroads by their annual gross revenue, Class I railroads had an annual operating revenue of at least $1 million. 

The Central Railroad Company of New Jersey $50,000 General Mortgage 4% 100 Year Gold Bond specimen printed by American Banknote Company
The Central Railroad Company of New Jersey
$50,000 General Mortgage 4% 100 Year Gold Bond, 1887
specimen printed by American Banknote Company
part of lot 935 in the auction
click image to enlarge

In 1929 CNJ introduced The Blue Comet, a train designed to provide passengers with a luxurious accomodation and service. Capable of doing 100 miles per hour, this train catapulted its passengers from Jersey City to Atlantic City in three hours. A frequent rider of the Blue Comet was toy manufacturer Joshua Lionel Cowen. Admiring the train's elegance, beauty, speed and power, Lionel offered a popular standard gauge model of the train in 1930.

Details of the auction
  • Dates: 4 & 5 April 2017
  • Location : New York
  • More info : see here 


Saturday, March 25, 2017

Mario Boone - Auction 58

Boone's sale on 1 April 2017 includes over 1300 scripophily lots. Antwerp's Crowne Plaza is the venue for this event. The offering spans more than 100 different countries including states and territories like British North Borneo, New Hebrides, Dutch Guyana, Trinidad & Tobago, Vatican City and Andorra . 

One of the lots in the auction, lot 1023, is an early 1800s share in a Valencian undertaking for the acquisition and equipment of ships bound for the colonies of America. Back then, a risky and even dangerous business.

During the colonial period (1492-1832) the Spanish Empire extended across the Caribbean Islands, half of South America, most of Central America, Mexico, Florida and the Southwestern and Pacific Coastal regions of the United States. It is estimated that in this period nearly 20 million Spaniards settled in the Americas. 

At the end of the 18th century the European monarchies were at war with Revolutionary France. In the course of these conflicts Spain decided to switch sides and became an ally of France in the latter's war against Great Britain. A wrong move.

The English navy blocked not only Spanish harbours like Cadiz but also the ones across the Atlantic, such as Havana and Vera Cruz. The war against Britain had disastrous consequences for the Spanish economy and trade. 

To ease the situation, Carlos IV of Spain issued a Royeel Decree in 1797. The decree allowed ships from neutral countries and companies to trade with the Spanish American colonies. (*) Soon, the use of neutral ships to trade with America became a common practice among Spanish merchants during the war, even when the decree was later revoked. Within a year ships with flags from neutral companies carried almost two thirds of all Spanish exports to the colonies. With a neutral flag merchants tried to protect their ships from British attack. They were succesfull in doing so at least for a short while. The Anglo-Spanish War was a conflict fought between 1796 and 1802, and again from 1804 to 1808. The share certificate shown here was issued in 1803.

Practical info 
  • Auction date: 1 April 2017
  • Place: Antwerp, Belgium
  • Further info, see here

Tip for 2 April : IBSS Breakfast meeting followed by Boone's International Scripophily Bourse, at the same place.


(*) Clothing the Spanish Empire : Families and the Calico Trade in the Early Modern Atlantic World, Marta V. Vicent, 2006, ISBN 978-1-349-53352-7

Friday, March 10, 2017

Archives International Auctions - 39th auction

AIA's upcoming sale includes an offering of nearly 1,300 scripophily lots from the American Bank Note Company Archives. One of the lots is a specimen stock certificate from The Warner & Swasey Company.  

The Warner & Swasey Company
specimen stock certificate for 100 common shares, 1950-1960s
lot 1112 in the auction 

Warner and Swasey started a machine tool and instrument busines in 1880. From the beginning W&S constructed telescopes and became famous for that. In 1888 they built a 36-inch (91-cm) refracting telescope - the lens manufactured by Alvan Clark - for Lick Observatory, University of California. Astronomer E. E. Barnard used this telescope when he discovered Amalthea, the fifth moon of Jupiter. The planet's first four moons were observed by Galileo 300 years earlier. In the lower left corner of the certificate you can see the company's seal which incorporates a drawing of the Lick telescope.
W&S also produced turret lathes and made the transition to computer numerical control machine tools during the 1950s through 1970s. In 1976 the company introduced the RT-4 computer terminal system intended for industrial applications. It was built around the Intel 4040 microprocessor. 

U.S. & Worldwide Scripophily and 
Security Printing Ephemera.

Auction details
  • Date : 14 March 2017
  • Locaton : This is an Internet only auction.
  • Further info : see here, catalogue there


Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Chennai Museum displays historic stocks and bonds from India

The Chennai Government Museum started in 1851. It holds many archeological and numismatic objects including one of the largest collections of Roman antiquities outside Europe. Its founder, Edward Balfour, a Scottish surgeon, orientalist and pioneering environmentalist, housed once the first zoo of Madras on the museum's grounds. At this very moment visitors can admire antique bond and share certificates in a special exhibition through 17 March 2017.

Telegraph To India Company, 1862 share certificates
Telegraph to India Company
£2 share certificate, 1862

The company had the extremely difficult task to restore
the undersea telegraph cables between Egypt and India.
Image courtesy Sayeed Cassim

"Scripophily" is a temporary exhibition organized by the Government Museum in Chennai. The exhibtion counts 83 historical Indian stocks and bonds from the collection of Sayeed Cassim and his family. The show, well received in the local press, was inaugurated in the presence of British Deputy High Commissioner Bharat Joshi, Dewan to the Prince of Arcot Mohammed Asif Ali and Museum Director Dr. D. Jagannathan.

detail from a share in The Malabar Forest and Rubber Company
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.

The collection includes securities issued during India's pre-independence era from companies like the Imperial Bank of India and the Madras Railway Company. Some of the early certificates are printed on vellum and linen. Other scrip on display are full of artwork illustrating the activity of the issuer. Good examples are the shares from The Malabar Forests and Rubber Company Ltd and The Jaipur Bus Service Ltd. Sayeed Cassim, resident from Chennai, explains that this exhibition helps the younger generation to understand how shares and bonds were sold in the past. Visitors not oriented towards business history will be attracted to the artwork.

visitors of the Scripophily exhibition in Chennai Government Museum
Visiting the Scripophily exhibition
Edward Green Balfour, founder and first officer in charge of the museum,
had much enthusiasm for collection and education, especially for women.
He introduced special days to encourage women visitors.
No doubt, he would have been very pleased with this initiative.
Image courtesy Sayeed Casseem

Practical info 
  • Location : Government Museum, Egmore, Chennai 
  • Duration : 3 March - 17 March 2017 
  • Opening hours : Monday-Sunday, 9:30 am - 4:30 pm
  • Entrance fee : the special Scripophily exhibition is free

The Cassim collection can be seen in Chennai through 17 March 2017, so don't hesitate to visit the event if you have some time to spend in Chennai.

Related links

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Reference book : Michigan Copper Mining Stocks and Bonds by Lee DeGood

Many Michigan copper mining stock certificates are illustrated with mining scenes. Some of these show proud American Indians. To name a few : Adventure Mining Company of Michigan, Indiana Mining Co., Mohawk Mining Co., Ojibway Mining Co. and What Cheer Mining Co. That should not be a surprise. American Indians were the first to mine the copper of the Lake Superior region. Did you know that the word "Michigan", used by the first French immigrants, evolved from the Ojibwa word "mishigamaa" meaning "large water" or "large lake" ? 

  • Title: Michigan Copper Mining Stocks and Bonds by Lee DeGood
  • Author : Lee DeGood
  • ID : 978-1-4507-5395-1, published 2011 by Lee DeGood
  • Languages : English
  • Number of pages : 399
  • Images : more than 500 large color images
  • Index : index by mine company

The author described each company with its location, incorporation date, presidents or trustees, secretaries or treasurers, mine closing date, predecessor and successor mines, a brief description of the status of the mining company and interesting facts about the mine. The book also contains a list of mining company mergers, useful for studying a company's evolution.

Mohawk Mining Company
share certificate, 1900, cat. MOHAMC-1
vignette of  quiver filled with arrows
Large amounts of mohawkite were found on the mine's property.
Mohawkite is a rare rock consisting of mixtures of arsenic and copper.
Due to the amounts of arsenic, ordinary smelters could not treat mohawkite
because of the deadly arsenical fumes driven off. A special smelter was built for
the reduction of this mohawkite at Hackensack Meadows, NJ.
The Mohawk Mining Company was established in 1898, very profitable
and closed after 34 years of operation.
image courtesy Scripophily.Com

Lee DeGood based his work upon nine of the most important known collections of Michigan copper mine securities. About 250 mining companies are included. Company entries are illustrated with large color images of known certificates each one tagged with a catalog number, rarity scale, (un)issued/(un)cancelled status, color description and size. This large format, hard cover edition is the kind of reference book we cherish.


Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Archives International Auctions - US Feb 2017

Spread over two days, AIA's 38th Sale features banknotes, bond and share certificates, coins, security printing and related ephemera. Over 500 lots of worldwide scripophily are included in particular from China and US railway companies. For instance, lot 327 is a specimen bond from the New York Connecting Railroad Company.

This New York Connecting Railroad Company bond shows Hell Gate Bridge.
In 1942 Nazi Operation Pastorius landed secret agents on American soil. Their aim was to destroy the Hell Gate bridge and other strategic targets. The operation failed. 

In 1892, the Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR), together with the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad, founded the New York Connecting Railroad Company (NYCRR). The latter company wanted a rail link between Astoria in Queens and Randalls and Wards Islands in Manhattan. A bridge over Hell Gate, a narrow strait of the East River, was needed to complete that section.

The PRR turned to civil engineer Gustav Lindenthal (1850-1935) and asked him to design the bridge for the NYCRR. Lindenthal was a pioneer in bridge construction. He designed lighter and cheaper bridges that did not need to support the full load of a train. Lindenthal accepted the assignment. Construction of the Hell Gate Bridge started in 1912. When the bridge was completed in 1916 it was the world's longest steel arch bridge (1,017 feet 6 inches, 310.1 meters) and included four railroad tracks. NYCRR's entire track was officially opened on Jan 17, 1918. 

The 1913 4.5% 1st Mortgage Gold Coupon bond specimen, lot 327 in the auction, is a new entry for the Coxrail database of US railway securities (cat. NEW-570 B-66). It differs in the following aspects: $1000 denomination, new color, but also the vertical format (click image to enlarge). 
The vignette is curious. When the bonds were issued 1913, the Hell Gate bridge was not built yet. Amazing how well the bridge on the bond resembles the resulting bridge that was to be finished three years later. 

Archives International Sale 38
Chinese, Asian, U.S. & Worldwide Banknotes, Scripophily & Coins

Auction details
  • Date : Feb 7 & 8, 2017
  • Place : Fort Lee, NJ 
  • Further info : see here, catalogue see there 


Friday, January 6, 2017

Spink US Jan 2017 auction

Spink US is announcing details of their upcoming Numismatic Collector's Series Sale. The auction features more than 1,000 lots of coins, banknotes, medals, and the like. Over sixty lots of scripophily items are included, mainly consisting of US stocks and bonds. Four of these comprise historic Matson Navigation Company securities.

vignette of the brigantine Lurline, Matson Navigation  Company

William Matson (1849-1917) was a Swedish-born American shipping executive. As a youngster he became friends with the industrialist and sugar beet refiner Claus Spreckels while working on the latter's family yacht. With the help of Spreckels, Matson founded in 1882 his own shipping business, the Matson Navigation Company. Its ships carried merchandise from the US Pacific Coast to the Hawaiian islands and returned with sugar. In the early 1900s Matson introduced passenger lines to Hawaii where he soon opened hotels. Its luxurious Matson Airlines operated between San Francisco and Hawaii (1946-1948).

stock certificate from the Matson Navigation Company
The collector's market knows a few types of historic Matson Navigation Company shares. These show vignettes of the company's important ships :
  • The company's blue $100 shares (capital $1,500,000) were issued when the company incorporated in 1901. They illustrate a vignette of the barque Roderick Dhu, the first ship to have a cold storage and electric plant with electric lights on board. 
  • Shortly before World War I, the company increases its capital to $5,000,000. Matson's brown $100 shares depict the SS Lurline (1908),  the company's first steamer. 
  • Spink US now offers four lots, each consisting of about 500 stock certificates issued in the 1940s and 1950s. Printed in green and black by the Western Bank Note & Eng. Co. Chicago, their design show the brigantine Lurline (I) purchased by Matson in 1887. Coming from Hawaii the ship carried 600 tons of sugar and 12 passengers.

Details of the auction
  • Dates: 17 & 18 Jan 2016
  • Location : New York
  • More info : see here 


Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Spink China Jan 2017 auction

The next 13th January Spink China will present nearly 70 lots of antique bond and share certificates from China and Hong Kong. One of the certificates offered is an early bond from Mongolia.

early government bond from Mongolia People's Republic

Earlier, Spink sold a bond from Inner Mongolia, see there. This time a bond from the state of Mongolia will be offered (lot 3341 in the auction, image shown above). In 1924 the Mongolian People's Republic was established with a communist regime. The country suffered from collectivization, economic downturn, unrest, uprisings and during the 1930s from repression and genocide by Stalin. This government bond was issued for 25 Tugrik in 1932. The tugrik (tögrög) was introduced in 1925 at a value equal to one Soviet ruble (18 grams of silver).

Spink China - Jan 2017 auction
Banknotes, bonds & shares and coins of China and Hong Kong
The two days lasting sale features more than 2,000 lots of 
coins, medals, tokens, banknotes and the like.

Practical info
  • Session 1 : Jan 13, 2017
  • Session 2 : Jan 14, 2017
  • Location : Spink, Hong Kong
  • Further info : see here