Sunday, April 8, 2018

Antwerp puts treasures from Egypt on the block

The 60th auction of Mario Boone takes place on 14 April with an exceptional large range of high quality collectibles from all over the world. The sale offers about 8,900 antique stocks and bonds spread over 1,939 various sized lots. The items to be sold represent nearly 100 countries and span 800 years of financial history (13th -21th century). 


Before getting into more details on the numerous rarities and remarkable certificates, I have to talk first about the unprecedented, top-notch scripophily from Egypt that is at stake in this auction. Boone's sale includes 1,171 bond and shares certificate from Egyptian companies and governments. Collectors and investors interested in such an unparalleled variety of Egyptian scripophily have several auction sections to look into.

Chemin de Fer Keneh-Assouan 3.5% bond of £20 Cairo, 1925 part of the "Pharaonic Collection" lot 1877


Chemin de Fer Keneh-Assouan 
3.5% bond of £20, Cairo, 1925 
part of the "Pharaonic Collection" lot 1877
click image to enlarge

The regular Egypt section, lots 248 through 261, contains a Canal Maritime de Suez, starting at a modest €200, and a Ciments d'Egypte Massarah (Caire) share, €500, equally rare and stunning. 

Another series of Egyptian rarities can be found in the Simar Empain collection which also comes under the hammer. For many decades the late Jacques Simar built up a scripophily collection related to Baron Edouard Empain. Simar published a book on the subject, see here. Edouard Empain, Belgian captain of industry, is known for building the Paris Métro and the district of Heliopolis in Cairo. You can find the Empain Egypt items in lot range 549-576 which includes several sought-after certificates like specimen bonds from the Tramways du Caire, from €200, and the Heliopolis Palace Hotel du Caire, starting at €100.

The sale of Egyptian scripophily peaks with the most complete collection ever brought together. The "Pharaonic" collection includes 1,096 bonds and shares representing Egypt's financial history from the 19th and 20th century. Included are numerous interesting, decorative and historic securities, to name a few : Soufrière d'Égypte, Egyptian Guaranteed 3% Loan, Canal Maritime de Suez, City of Alexandria, Bank of Abyssinia, Banque Egyptienne de Commerce, Marconi Radio Telegraph Co of Egypt, Kodak (Egypt), Investment Bank of Egypt, Nationalization-Loan of the United Arabic Republic and many more. The collection is offered as one lot (1877) and may be acquired from €79,000.


Another, much smaller collection, to be sold in a single lot consists of 134 classic Egyptian certificates. Bids for this lot (1892) are invited from €1,400.

Apart from all those pyramids, sphinxes, scarabs, cobras and hieroglyphs, the sale offers more than 7,500 bonds and shares from other countries as well. And as is the case with Egypt, countries are presented either by their own regular section, as a part of the Simar Empain collection, or may be found as a collection or group lot. Let me discuss some of the highlights.

Banque Hypothécaire Franco-Egyptienne, 1910, share certifcate


Banque Hypothécaire Franco-Egyptienne 
F500 shares, Paris, 1910 
 part of the "Pharaonic Collection" lot 1877

As you can expect from a Boone auction, the Belgian section is substantial (lot range 328-456) and opens with a medieval loan on vellum from 1469. Written in Latin, the document, lot 328, is one of the oldest financial documents related to the region of Kortrijk and is expected to fetch at least €2,000. A rare and decorative highlight will certainly interest collectors of zoo scripophily. The share in Société d'Histoire Naturelle à Gand, dated 1852, illustrated with vignettes of a lion, tiger, ostrich, peacocks, crocodiles and many more animals, can be obtained from €2,000.

More remarkable Belgium scripophily can be found in the Empain collection, lot range 457-511. Here, Banque Industrielle Belge (Ancienne Banque E.-L.-J. Empain) is historical to Belgium's financial history. The bank was Edouard Empain's major investment vehicle. The number 1 certificate offered in the sale, represents 76% of all shares, is issued to Empain and starts at €500.


In the Austro-Hungarian Empire section, an extremely rare Thiergarten-Gesellschaft in Wien from 1862 can be fetched from €800. The Grandhotel Pupp, a location for movies Last Holiday (Queen Latifah) and Casino Royale (James Bond Daniel Craig), can be acquired from €50. Hey, movie locations, wouldn't that be an interesting theme to collect.

Denmark scripophily is not often seen. The sale includes 11 certificates (lots 692-702) including a Kjobenhavns Sommer-Tivoli share from 1918. The Tivoli amusement park opened its doors in 1843. Start price €500.

Thé Tôt-Lam, F100 share, 1912, Indochina lot 134 in the auction, start price €600

Thé Tôt-Lam 
F100 share, 1912, Indochina
lot 134 in the auction, start price €600

The Compagnie Royale de l'Assiente, one of the earliest French companies, was active in slave trading. Only one other share is known, bids are welcome from €10,000 (lot 709) for its 3000 Livres share, issued 1704. France has left us so many decorative bond and share certificates and this occasion is not an exception to that. Great work of art can be admired on a share from the L'Union des Mines, start price €60. Further, you should check out how Bacchus is having the time of his life on Cave des Affaires, €200.

Probably the most fascinating, lot 1433, is a Spanish financial loan document from the year 1279! Latin script on parchment, this notary act of a bank deposit of 500 solds to a Catalonian banker is the earliest known privately owned banking document.  €15,000 start price.




Viet Nam Ngan Hang - Banque du Vietnam
first bank in Vietnam founded and managed by Vietnamese 
share of 15.000$, Saigon, 1973
lot 177 in the auction, start price €1,400

Some highlights from the big scripophily countries China, Russia, USA and Germany :

  • A $1000 Republic of China 6% Secured Gold Loan Treasure Note from 1919, with pagoda vignette, should have been redeemed by a 1937 bond issue. A rarity like this starts at €1,000.  
  • The Bukharan People's Soviet Republic was a short-lived city state from 1920 to 1925 located in today's Uzbekistan. The sale includes a rare, Bukharan bond from 1923 and can be obtained from  €200.
  • In the US section, you can't miss a Proprietors of the New Theatre share. Issued 1791, with a huge vignette of the Philadelphia theatre to be constructed, this is the oldest theatre scripophily seen yet. Bids are invited from €5,000. You can find out more about the American railway section here on the Coxrail blog.
  • The German section starts with two bonds, dated 1808, from Napoleon's Kingdom of Westphalia. Bids can start at €400 and €300.


There is lots more to discover from other countries and all kinds of collecting themes in this sale. Dig through the auction catalogue, 263 pages, and/or use the indexes on countries, themes, Belgian provinces, autographs, artists & engravers and printer companies to find your treasures.

The day after the sale, Mario Boone organizes his regular scripophily bourse internationally attended by dealers and visitors.

Auction details
  • Location : Antwerpen, Belgium
  • Date : auction 14 April 2018, bourse 15 April 2018
  • Further info : online catalogue  here, and PDF version there 
  • The "Pharaonic Collection" can be viewed in detail here 

F.L.

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