Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Archives International Auctions sells American, Hispanic and World Wide securities in River Edge, New Jersey

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 Thursday, June 20th 2019 at their offices in River Edge, New Jersey. 

The scripophily part in this auction sale includes about 450 lots of antique stocks and bonds from the USA, Mexico, China and much more. Here are some of these stunning items.

The Jiangxi Soviet, also known as the Chinese Soviet Republic, was established by Mao Zedong and others in November 1931. The short-lived state was made up from discontiguous territories that now belong to China and Mongolia. Issued in 1936, this 1 yuan construction bond bears the name and seal of Mao Zedong. Lot 186 in the sale.

This 1000 Pesos specimen bond, printed in the 1880s, emerged from the American Bank Note Company Archives. The Banco Agrícola was founded in 1868. Its initial headquarters were located at Santiago de Chili in the house of Melchor de Concha y Toro who became a Minister of Finance and a wine-maker. Lot 687 in the auction

The Akron Street Railway and Illuminating Company was incorporated in 1896 with an initial capital of $1.5 million. This $1000 First Consolidated Mortgage Five Per Cent Gold Bond specimen, 1896, is equally rare as it is grandiose in design. Lot 974 

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 : River Edge, New Jersey
  • Date : 20 June 2019
  • Further info : see here, live and absentee bidding here and a downloadable PDF catalogue there 


Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Reference Book : Stocks and bonds from the Corinth Canal

Not so long ago the Greek mainland was still connected to the Peloponnesus peninsula by a land bridge, 6.4 km wide, named the Isthmus of Corinth. When you sail, let's say, from Patras, in the northern Peloponnesus, all the way around the peninsula, to Piraeus, Athens' ancient navy base, you cover a distance of about 420 nautical miles, or 780 km. The same trip over land takes only 220 km. 

Roman emperor Nero was the first who started the construction of a canal through the narrow Isthmus of Corinth. He must have thought that transporting goods and troops from the Ionian coast cities to the ports on the Aegean Sea could go faster. It's hard to imagine now, but before, labourers, slaves, rolled boats on logs across the land to bridge the gap, so to speak. Nero's project started in 67 AD and employed thousands of slaves. When he died the next year, so did the project.

Cover of the book "Der Kanal von Korinth" by author Hans-Georg Glasemann

In Der Kanal von Korint, author Hans-Georg Glasemann brings the story of the Corinth Canal from both a historical and a financial angle. The shares and bonds issued by the three companies that built and operated the Corinth Canal are featured in the book's catalog section. The book, written in German, is aimed at the collector of old securities, and anyone who is interested in the historical background of this interesting canal project.

detail from a vignette on a Canal Maritime de Corinthe share certificate showing sea routes around Greece

This is a detail from a vignette on a share from the Société Internationale du Canal Maritime de Corinthe. You can recognize the boot of Italy on the left, Greece in the middle and the Asian part of Turkey on the right. Dashed lines show the ancient sea routes around Greece. New routes running through a canal near the city of Corinth are marked by full lines. Note, when this share was issued in 1882, large parts of the Balkans, including the northern part of Greece, belonged to "Turquie", the Ottoman Empire. 

Here is an overview of the book's chapters :
  • Historische Betrachtung
    • Träume vom Korinther Kanal in der Antike
    • Internationale Gesellschaft des Seekanals von Korinth 1882
    • Griechische Gesellschaft des Kanals von Korinth 1890
    • Neue Gesellschaft des Kanals von Korinth 1907
    • Kanal von Korinth - heute
    • Biografien
      • István Türr (1825-1908), ungarischer Freiheitsheld
      • Béla Gerster (1850-1923), ungarischer Ingenieur
      • Ferdinand de Lesseps (1805-1894), französischer Diplomat und Kanalbauer
  • Katalogteil
    • Erläuterungen zu den Wertpapieren
    • Société Internationale du Canal Maritime de Corinthe 1882-1890
    • Société Hellénique du Canal de Corinthe 1890-1907
    • Nouvelle Société Anonyme du Canal de Corinthe 1907-1980
  • Literaturhinweise

Freely translated, these are the chapters in English :
  • Historical consideration
    • Dreams of the Corinthian channel in Antiquity
    • International Company of the Sea Canal of Corinth 1882
    • Greek Corinth Canal Company 1890
    • New Corinth Canal Company 1907
    • Channel of Corinth - today
  • Biographies
    • István Türr (1825-1908), Hungarian freedom fighter
    • Béla Gerster (1850-1923), Hungarian engineer
    • Ferdinand de Lesseps (1805-1894), French diplomat and canal builder
  • Catalog section
    • Explanations on the securities catalogued
    • Société Internationale du Canal Maritime de Corinth 1882-1890
    • Société Hellénique du Canal de Corinth 1890-1907
    • Nouvelle Société Anonyme du Canal de Corinth 1907-1980
  • References

vignette showing cross section of the proposed Corinth Canal project

Another vignette on the Canal Maritime de Corinthe share shows a cross section of the proposed project. The canal would be excavated at sea level requiring no locks. 

In the first part of the book, the author pilotes the reader through the canal's history. It starts more than 1800 years after emperor Nero's attempt, in 1882, when the Société Internationale du Canal Maritime de Corinthe initiated the excavation of the Corinth Canal. At the head of the company stood the hungarian István Türr (1825-1908). He appointed Gerster Béla (1850-1923), also a hungarian, as the project's chief engineer. The expenses grew bigger than planned and the company went bankrupt in 1890.

But the digging was continued by a new Greek company, the Société Hellénique du Canal de Corinthe, with success. The official opening of the canal took place in 1893 in the presence of King George I. In 1907 the Nouvelle Société Anonyme du Canal de Corinthe took over the canal exploitation until 1980. The canal's depth turned out to be insufficient for the large cargo ships of today. The canal is now a leisure attraction.

500 French francs share in the Société Internationale du Canal Maritime de Corinthe, 1882

500 French francs share in the Société Internationale du Canal Maritime de Corinthe, 1882 
Catalog number KK-010, part of an issue of 60000 bearer shares of 500 francs 
image : eWertpapiermuseum EDHAC 

The book's catalog section groups the Corinth Canal securities by company and by issue. Entries include a catalog number, a value indication, an image, circulation and other details on the particular issue. Some more details about the book :
  • Title : Der Kanal von Korinth - Historische Wertpapiere 1882-1977, in English : The Corinth Canal - Securities 1882-1977
  • Author : Hans-Georg Glasemann
  • ID : ISBN 978-3-74945-231-6, published by BoD - Books on Demand, Norderstedt, 2019 
  • Languages : German
  • Number of pages : 60
  • Images : over 40 color images, mostly from securities, including some black and white pictures
  • Index : no index, but companies and securities are organized in the catalog section by company and issue

The 500 French francs share in the Société Internationale du Canal Maritime de Corinthe, 1882, is illustrated with both faces of a Corinth Stater.

The designer of the Canal Maritime de Corinthe share clearly invested some time in researching the ancient city-state of Corinth. The columns drawn on both sides of the print are typical Corinthian with capitals decorated with acanthus leaves. The coins placed on both columns are actually both sides of a Corinth Stater, ca 345-307 BC. The obverse shows a flying Pegasus with a Koppa sign Ϙ below its belly. The Ϙ is used in the archaich spelling of the city name Ϙόρινθος (Korinthos). The reverse shows the goddess Athena with an upward tipped Corinthian helmet.  
image : via Wikipedia, Classical Numismatic Group, Inc.

Hans-Georg Glasemann's work can be ordered from BoD in print and as an E-book, here. The book is part of a trilogy on historic canals. The second book, about the Panama Canal, appeared just recently. The third one will cover the Suez Canal. 

F. L. 

PS : 
Hans-Georg Glasemann maintains his own blog about antique securities. 
Please check his Nonvaleurs Blog 

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

River Edge, New Jersey, sees over 1000 numismatic lots going over the block

Archives International Auctions offers more than 1,000 lots of banknotes, coins, scripophily and security printing ephemera at its sale this Tuesday, 14th May 2019. This public and online event takes place at AIA's new offices in River Edge, New Jersey.

Interesting, the auction includes over 600 lots of stunning, antique stocks and bonds. One of the many highlights is this ultra rare production specimen IPO stock certificate from the McDonald's Corporation

Richard and Maurice McDonald founded McDonald's in 1940 as a restaurant in San Bernardino, California. It was Ray Kroc, who joined McDonald's in 1954, that set the stage for national and global expansion. 

In 1961, Kroc had McDonald's file for a trademark on a new logo, an overlapping, double-arched "M" symbol. The logo was used from 1960 until 1968, and appears on this stock certificate. 

Under Kroc McDonald's initiated its first public stock offering at $22.50 per share on April 21, 1965. If you'd have purchased 100 common McDonald's shares during that initial public offering, your investment would now be worth over $12 million (source www.investopedia.com).
Coming from the original archives of the American Bank Note Company, this certificate represents a milestone in MacDonald's history and forms a crucial asset for collector's of historic marketing artefacts. Bids for Lot 683 are invited from $525. 

Besides American scripophily, the sale includes antiques securities from China, Mexico, Israel, Russia, and much more states. The US railroad section is unusual weighty.

This antique share from the Wildwood and Delaware Bay Short Line Railroad Company was issued in 1915.  Its designers gave it a superb vignette showing "the 1995 passing a signal bridge". The railroad was opened for traffic Dec. 12, 1912 . Indeed, this was a "short" line. Its 4.20 miles long line ran from Wildwood to Wildwood Junction, New Jersey. There, it connected with the Atlantic City Rail Road. Lot 931 in the sale. 

Much more wonderful antique securities can be seen in the auctioneer's catalog. Practical info :
  • Date : May 14, 2019
  • Location : River Edge, New Jersey
  • More info : see here, live and absentee bidding there
  • PDF auction catalog : here 


Monday, May 6, 2019

Denver exhibition shows New York Stamp Taxes on Bonds

" Bonds bearing New York’s Mortgage Endorsement, Secured Debt and Tax on Investments stamps are arguably the most visually stunning items ever to bear stamps. "

Secured Debt 25¢, 75¢, $3.75 and $7.50 issued in 1916 to enable payment of the 75¢ per $100 tax rate 
courtesy Michael Mahler

Author Michael Mahler is an expert in American fiscal philately : "For a century the stunning bonds and the stamps they bore were unknown to philatelists. Only now, one hundred years later, these stamps and the bonds that bear them, have emerged as a significant subfield of fiscal philately."  

Each type of stamp discovered tells its own chapter in the fiscal history of the State of New York. With a unique exhibit of bonds bearing these stamps, Michael Mahler will participate in the 2019 George Brett Cup Competition

This $50,000 bond from the United States Steel Corporation was issued in 1901 to Andrew Carnegie. The bond is stamped with Secured Debt $100 (x2) and $50 (upper right corner). The stamps were canceled July 23, 1912, but the bond was canceled only a year later. 
courtesy Michael Mahler

The George Brett Cup competition, for best 20th century philatelic exhibit, is organized at the annual ROMPEX show in Denver May 24-26. 

The New York State Stamp Taxes on Bonds, 1910-1920 exhibit features 40 display panels of about 18x24 inch, each one having one to four bonds. Probably about 120 bonds will be on display. 

New York Stamp Taxes on Bonds, 1910-1920 
book by Michael Mahler 

Michael Mahler wrote also a book on this topic. New York Stamp Taxes on Bonds 1910-1920 counts more than 200 pages and is illustrated with hundreds of color images of bonds and stamps. 

The book can be ordered from Amazon here. But, if you know the International Bond & Share Society, you should check out the IBSS site. For Michael Mahler has provided a PDF version of his latest book there.

Good luck to Michael with the exhibit competition !


Related links

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Historisches Wertpapierhaus AG surprises with top-notch scripophily auctions

When it comes to antique stock and bond certificates Historisches Wertpapierhaus AG (HWPH) is a major player in the field. Manager Matthias Schmitt and his dedicated team bring us next weekend a double-session sale. About 2200 lots of scripophily and related documents will go on the block.

Club de Regatas do Flamengo, Titulo de Sócio Patrimonial, 1966, L(ot) 618, €120 start price
"Flamengo" is a Rio de Janeiro sports club best known for their football team. The share shows 18 different vignettes of sports and is one of several in the sale that were issued by famous football teams (lot 615 through 630). 

The first sale is a live auction at Würzburg, Germany, on the 4th of May 2019, followed two days later by an online auction. Both sales offer together nearly 2200 lots of historic and beautiful antique stocks and bonds from all continents.

The 13th-18th century section deserves special attention. It includes about 50 lots of historic and museum-caliber securities. One of these is a founder's share in the Iron Bridge Company "for Building a Bridge across the River Severn" from 1777. This company marks the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. Its amazing and extremely rare share starts at €22000, L635 in the auction. 
Another highlight is a Bank of Alexandria share from 1796. It is issued to George Washington, first president of the United States of America. Only one known, in other words unique, L672 starts from €15000.
Top item in the sale is a 500 Flemish Pounds bond from the Dutch East India Company (VOC), dated 1623, see next image!

The Dutch East India Company (in Dutch : Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie or VOC) was established in 1602 for the purpose of trade, exploration and colonization. The VOC was involved in shipbuilding, production and trade of East Indian spices, sugarcane from Formosa, wine from South Africa and lots more. In some parts of the world, the VOC produced its own gunpowder like in its refinery at Chhapra, West Bengal, where it processed saltpeter from Patna. The company became one of the first globally operating corprorations. In its overseas colonies, the VOC had governmental powers, including the ability to wage war, imprison and execute convicts and strike its own coins. It was the first corporation to be listed on an official stock exchange. L632 in the auction is expected to realize at least €30000.

Collectors of Chinese government securities will notice several specimen bonds previously unseen before. HWPH tells more about these in an in-depth article in Scripozine.

The auctioneer provides four downloadable PDF catalogues with extensive descriptions, available for free (see links further below):
  • 50 Highlights
  • 52nd Auction (Public)
  • 53rd Auction (Online)
  • Russia and former USSR

The latter presents all Russia-related lots in the Russian language.
Remote bidding is also possiblie through Invaluable.com where the auctioneer listed each lot with corresponding images. Here are some more examples of highly remarkable scripophily.

This bilingual Russian-English specimen bond from the State Bank of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics dates from 1927. Also known as Gosbank this state bank was for about half a century the only bank in the USSR. L746 in the sale starts at €250

Great Cariboo Gold Company, share, issued by the Standard Finance Company, New York City, 1905. 
Registered in South Dakota, USA, the mines were located in British Columbia, Canada. Fabulous design of gold mining scenes and eight nuggets printed in gold colour. This certificate is the only survived example known. L636, €2000 start price 

Gewerkschaft des Steinkohlenbergwerks Lippermulde, coal mine, Hamborn am Rhein, 1923
Rare, this Kuxschein (mining shares certificate), is issued to industrialist August Thyssen, signed by him and Julius Thyssen, transferred on the back to August's son Heinrich, and signed on the back by Fritz Thyssen and again by Julius Thyssen. Bidding on L639 is invited from €2500 

You can find more of these fascinating stocks and bonds in HWPH's sale catalogues. Here are the auction details :
  • Dates
    • 4 May 2019, Würzburg, Germany, public auction
    • 6 May 2019, online auction
  • Further info and downloadable PDF's, see here on HWPH


Tuesday, April 23, 2019

The Taylor and Sanderson Steam Shipping Company

In North East England, at the mouth of the River Wear, lies the city of Sunderland. Since mediaval times the city grew as a port, trading coal and salt, and a place where ships were built. Once called the "Largest Shipbuilding Town in the World", Sunderland was also home to Short Brothers Limited. This shipbuilding company built several steel screw steamers for another Sunderland company, The Taylor and Sanderson Steam Shipping Company Limited (T&S). 

John Wallace Taylor and John Sanderson established Taylor & Sanderson in 1877. Incorporated in 1899 as The Taylor & Sanderson Steam Shipping Company, Limited, the company exported coal with its own ships. Several of its vessels, built by Short Brothers, awaited a remarkable fate. 

The Thornhill, a steel screw steamer, was built in 1897 by Short Brothers for T&S. On 16 April 1907, the general cargo vessel caught fire. It sank about 800 miles of Barbados on passage New York for Pernambuco, Brazil.

Short Brothers completed the Coronation for T&S in 1903. On 12 January 1913, the ship made the passage Bremen for Sunderland in balast (without any cargo but with containers filled with sea water for stability). Close to its home port, it was wrecked at Ravenscar, North Yorkshire. The salvaged ship was sold to F W Horlock & Co.

August 1914, the Coronation, renamed Coralie Horlock, was captured at Hamburg. In 1917 she became a part of the Imperial German Navy where she served as a transport vessel and as a submarine target !

The Coronation survived World War I and was sold again, this time to a Spanish company. On passage Genoa for Barcelona, in ballast, there was a bunker explosion. Two days later on 6 June 1921 the ship sank in Cavalaire Bay, France. 

The Taylor & Sanderson Steam Shipping Co. Limited 
Ordinary shares of £5, 1913 
The company went into liquidation in 1917. 

The Wallace was another steel screw steamer that was constructed by Short Brothers in 1905 for T&S. Possibly named for John Wallace Taylor, managing director of T&S, the vessel was requisitioned by the Admiralty for service as a collier, a bulk cargo ship which carried coal. Sold in 1917 when T&S went into liquidation.

detail from the Taylor & Sanderson Steam Shipping Company share certificate
signatures from John Wallace Taylor and John Wallace Taylor Jr as Directors of the company 
John Wallace Taylor (1834-1927) was a member of the River Wear Commission. One of the stained-glass windows in St John's Methodist Church, Sunderland, is dedicated to him. His second son, Frederick William Taylor was a director of Sunderland Association Football Club. 

Short Brothers built two ships for T&S in 1905. Besides the Wallace, there was the Alexandra. First sold in 1916 and 1920 to British companies, it found a new owner from Norway in 1924. A/S Inger, Bergen, renamed the Alexandra into the Ingerfire. On 11 April 1943, in the middle of World War II, the ship, on passage Barrow for Halifax in ballast, was torpedoed by a German submarine U-571 in 51.29N - 42.59W, far away from any port as you can see here

The ships mentioned in this post were all general cargo steal screw steamers that were built by Short Brothers Ltd. Their sizes were more or less the same with these average dimensions : 355ft length (108m), 49ft breadth (15m), 22ft depth (7m). Their volumes were on average 3759 grt and 2376 nrt. 

In 1911 Short Brothers built a second Thornhill for T&S. This collier was requisitioned in 1915 by the Admiralty. She was modified into a "Q-ship". Q-ships were very special mystery ships also known as Q-boats or decoy vessels. The Thornhill became an armed merchant ship with concealed weaponry. 

A Q-ship was designed to lure German submarines into making surface attacks. By seeming an easy target, the U-boat captain was tempted to make a surface attack using the deck gun instead of one of his limited number of torpedoes. In that scenario the Q-ship had a chance to open fire and sink the submarine. 

The Thornhill was sent to operate in the Mediterranean as the HMS Wonganella. On its way back from Malta to the UK, early March 1917, a German submarine attacked the ship near Gibraltar. It suffered gunfire damage and carried casualties. Then, after having crossed the Atlantic first, she left Halifax, Nova Scotia, in early June and returned to the UK. During that passage the ship again was involved in actions with German submarines on 18 and 19 June near Queenstown (Cobh), Ireland. 

The Thornhill survived both World War I & II and was sold consecutively to 5 English and 4 Yugoslavian shipping companies. In 1959 the vessel ended at Yokohama with collision damage and was sold for breaking up at Kawasaki.

The T&S share has a vignette of its shipping flag bearing the company's initials. The flag is skilfully reproduced in the embossed company seal (lower left corner of the certificate). Flag colors: dark blue stripes on a white background, white 'T&S' letters in a red oval 
click image to enlarge 



PS:  Interested in shipping flags or company seals? Then you may want to check the categories 'vexillology'  and 'sigillography'.

Friday, April 19, 2019

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

Exactly 443 lots of scripophily will go on Spink's E-block. This online sale already started Apr 12 15:00. The bidding window closes on April 30 11:00. At stake are antique stocks and bonds from many countries. Larger sections include China, Japan, Australia & New Zealand, UK, Confederate States of America and the USA. 

5% Japanese Imperial Loan, Meiji 42 (1909), bond for 500 yen 
Historically, Japanese dates were expressed as years of a named era. Emperor Meiji, who ascended the throne in 1868 tied the era name to the reign of the current emperor. Meiji 42 indicates the 42th year of Meiji's reign. As the first year of the reign is year 1 and not year 0, one has the subtract 1. So Meiji 42 stands for 1868+42-1 = 1909. 
L(ot)89 in the auction, scarce 

Dun Mountain Copper Mining Company, Limited, 10 shares of £1, London, 1857 
Dun Mountain, named for its brown (dun) colour, is located near the city of Nelson. In the 1850s and 1860s, chromite and copper were mined on the mountain leading to the building of New Zealand's first railway. Marvellous embossed seal of a miner at work, click image to enlarge.  L136 is estimated at £80 

The oldest certificate in the sale, L237, is a handwritten warrant authorising a payment from 1655 and handsigned by Oliver Cromwell, see here. Estimated between £5000-£6000, it is expected to realize also the highest result.

The most rare certificates in the sale are indicated with R12. Rarity 12 stands for 'only one known'. The auction includes a handful of these. You can use 'R12' in the online search function to find them, e.g. L240, a specimen $5000 bond from The Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, dated 1916.

The largest group lot is L158 and counts 2200 bonds from several loans issued by the Österreichische Staats-Eisenbahn-Gesellschaft  between 1855 and 1885.

£50 may buy you this stunning Casino Municipal de la Ville de Nice bond from 1881. 
L168 in the auction  

The Modern Comedies Company, Limited was a British company producing theatrical comedies. Founded with a £10,000 capital, very few certificates have been issued. The then famous actors Frank Curzon and Gertrude Silver aka Gertrude Kingston signed this share in 1902. L321 

More auction details :

  • Location : this is an Internet only sale
  • Date : April 12 15:00 - April 30 11:00. 
  • Further info : see here 


Thursday, April 4, 2019

The most expensive share sold at auction in 2018

What was the highest priced scripophily sale at auction in 2018 ? Was it an American stock certificate, a German Aktie, or maybe a Chinese government bond ? None of these. It was a French share and it was sold in Boone's 60th Auction, at Antwerp on 14 April 2018.

Top sale in 2018, reported by the International Bond & Share Society (IBSS), was a 3000 Livres share from the Compagnie Royale de l'Assiente, issued in 1704. The company was created in Nov 1701 by King Louis XIV of France. On Aug 27, 1701, Philip V, King of Spain and Louis XIV signed a treaty granting France the exclusive privilege to supply the Spanish colonies in the Americas with African slaves. This right was called the "Asiento". In 1713 the Compagnie Royale de l'Assiente lost the privilege to Great Britain and its slave-trading business was taken over by the South Sea Company.

Compagnie Royale de L'Assiente, 3000 Livres share, 1704 
Top scripophily sale in 2018, €26,000 excl buyer's premium 
Boone auction, 14 April 2018 
courtesy Mario Boone

With the exception of a 1664 share of the first Compagnie des Indes, this is the oldest French share certificate reported so far. Only one other similar share is known. The certificate, printed on vellum, has the signatures of several company directors, such as Antoine Crozat, Marquis du Châtel (c.1655-1738). Crozat, slave merchant and financial counselor to Louis XIV became the propriety owner of French Louisiana.

Consigned at the Boone auction of 14 April 2018, the share's start price was set at €10,000. A historic certificate, it is an awful but important evidence of imperialistic slave-trading practises in the 18th century. The share was the best-selling item in the auction and reached €26,000, and that's withouth the buyer's premium.

As usual Scripophily 109, April 2019, is full of auction reports. 
One of the highlights is an Isaac Newton signed bond. 

Top auctions in the scripophily market are extensively covered in Scripophily magazine, a publication by IBSS. The magazine brings you in-depth articles, compelling stories, and memorable personalities. A substantial part of the magazine is dedicated to reports on auctions that took place all over the world. Three issues per year discuss remarkable sales from over 70 auctions in this field of collecting.


Related links

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Hunters of vintage stock certificates expected in Antwerp

During the weekend of April 6-7, the Crowne Plaza Hotel Antwerp becomes a mecca for scripophily. Many people have yet to discover this part of numismatics. Collecting antique and vintage stock certificates, aka scripophily, took off in the 1970s. People from all over the world are fascinated by the beauty and historic importance of these artefacts.

Antique stocks and bonds are, in comparison to coins, banknotes and stamps, much less available on the collector's market. Yet, keen collectors can still snap up amazing certificates at affordable prizes. The Boone auction house has been a specialist in scripophily for over four decades and is now holding its 62nd sale on the 6th of April in Antwerp.

share certificate in the Paul Boeckel trading company  with vignette of factory

Kohlen-Handel und Industrie Aktiengesellschaft "Paul Boeckel", 100 Rubel share, 1913, St. Petersburg
The company was formed in 1899 for the trade in coal, coke, pig-iron, cement, bricks and similar and to establish a coal-briquette factory.  Detail of the vignette can be seen at the top.
L(ot) 1255 in the auction, start price €100

More than 1600 lots will go on the block. Included are stocks and bonds from about 100 countries representing an equally large number of economic themes such as railways, technology, theatre, wine, casinos, gold mines, and much more.

The auction catalogue is available as a free PDF download. The work counts over 150 pages, provides a description for each lot and has extensive indexes on collecting topics. Hundreds of these antique securities have a splendid design made by renown artists like Hercule Louis Catenacci, Alphonse Mucha, Constant Montald, just to name a few. Others are signed by, or issued to celebrities like Jean-Baptiste Colbert, Alexander Hamilton and King Willem I.

Columba Belga share from 1894 multicolor print

Société Columba Belge de Navigation - Service direct d'Anvers au Canada 
This 500 Francs share was printed in 1894 by the Imprimerie du Journal La Bourse de Bruxelles. 
In the second part of the 19th century Canada eagerly welcomed Belgian immigrants. Steamship companies offered interesting package deals to farm families. In 1898 a permanent Canadian office in Antwerp provided lectures and specific travel advice. Soon some 2000 Belgians a year entered their new country. The Columba Belge line operated a service from Antwerp to Canada, using four ships. L293 in the auction, this rare example of maritime scripophily starts at €400. 

Boone's 62nd auction offers scripophily from all modern periods. Champagne Mumm, Siemens and Chrysler are some of today's famous names starring in the event. Moreover, the sale features certificates from the earliest modern period as well. These are rare, have a great historical importance and deserve a place in museums. Some examples :
  • L205 Austrian Imperial Loan, signed by Kaiser Carl VI, 1732
  • L773 Scottish bond from 1644 to finance war against England
  • L1540 United States of America government bond signed by Alexander Hamilton 1791
One of the highlights is a certificate from the West-Indische-Compagnie (Dutch West India Company).

Dutch West India Company transport share 1792

West-Indische-Compagnie, Middelburg, Transport share, 1792 
In 1621 investors founded the Dutch West India Company (WIC). The enterprise obtained by charter the rights for a trade monopoly in the Dutch West Indies including jurisdiction over Atlantic possessions and participation in the Atlantic slave trade. The most spectacular success for the WIC was Piet Heyn's seizure of the Spanish silver fleet in 1628. Heyn captured more than 11 million guilders of booty in gold, silver and expensive trade goods. The company further became instrumental in the Dutch colonization of the Americas including New Amsterdam that covered parts of present-day New York, Connecticut, Delaware, and New Jersey. Historic and extremely rare, L892 in the auction is expected to realize €10,000. 

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 6 April 2019, bourse 7 April 2019
  • Further info : online catalogue here, and PDF version there 


PS : You can find out more about the American railroads in the auction in this preview from Coxrail

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 


Tuesday, February 19, 2019

A gift to the Royals

I'd like to tell a story about a special gift that was made shortly after World War II. Therefore I'll use this Indian share from the Jai Hind Limited company. Collectors of antique securities will see that it is a registered certificate because there is a fill-in field for the name of the holder. When a share like this is issued, the share owner has registered his name, address and other personal information with the company.

share certificate from the Jai Hind Limited company

Jai Hind Limited, ordinary shares of 10 Rupees, unissed
The company was incorporated in 1949, possibly the year when its shares were printed.
The certificate shows many tiny holes in the right margin which were caused by insects. 
(click image to enlarge) 

But, as you can see, the name of the holder is not filled in. There is also other important information missing on the certificate such as :
  • the number of shares purchased
  • the serial numbers of the shares purchased
  • the date of purchase
  • signatures from the company officers
  • a duty stamp, maybe a company seal, and possibly other features that once would have made the certificate look valuable
No doubt about it, this is an unissued share certificate. 

Yet, there is something peculiar about this share. Did you observe it too ? My attention was drawn by the name of the company, Jai Hind, not an everyday company name.

Jai Hind logo

Independent India's first postage stamp showed a flag of India with the words Jai Hind (Hindi: जय हिन्द , Bengali: জয় হিন্দ). The words were also adopted as a name for a newspaper, schools, companies, movies and much more.

It was nationalist Subhas Chandra Bose who made Jai Hind a popular Indian slogan. In 1940 India was still striving for independence from the British Empire. The authorities had placed Bose under house arrest because he had organized mass protests in Calcutta. Bose managed to escape his country and fled to Germany.

In 1943 Adolf Hitler arranged Bose a submarine to Madagaskar where he was transferred to a Japanese submarine. After his arrival in Southeast Asia, Bose organized an army from ex-Japanese war prisoners and volunteering Indian expatriates living in Malaya and Burma. His Indian National Army fought along with the Japanese Army against the British forces. Jai Hind, which means "Victory to India" or "Long live India", was one of Bose's calls to motivate his troops.

Since then Jai Hind  became a patriotic slogan that was often shouted in many Indian riots. The Bombay Mutiny of 18 February 1946 was an exemple of this. Indian sailors of the Royal Indian Navy had started a strike in protest against the working conditions. The revolt spreaded to other ships and shore establishments in the ports all over British India. Tram cars and property were set on fire. Europeans were insulted and injured. In some places British men and women were forced to shout "Jai Hind".

In 1947 British India was ravaged by heavy riots and killings between Hindus and Moslims, incited against each other by cries like Jai Hind. Mahatma Gandhi, leader of the non-violent independence movement, disapproved the use of the Jai Hind slogan in these situations. To him, Jai Hind did not stand for victory to Hindus, nor to Muslims. Nor did it mean triumph over the British. Gandhi said that by shouting Jai Hind one honours Mother India and thereby whishes her victory.

More than 150 bells along its margins adorn the Jai Hind Limited share shown on top.

On 15 August 1947 British India ceased to exist and was split in an independent India, for Hindus, and Pakistan, for Muslims. The day after independence, Gandhi stayed in Beliaghata, near Calcutta, with his Muslim friend, Shaheed Saheb Suhrawardy. Both slept under the same roof to show that both a Hindu and a Muslim leader could live peacefully together. Other Hindus and Muslims who saw their example started to embrace each other and shouted Jai Hind and "Hindu-Muslims! Be one". I believe that was the true meaning that Gandhi gave to the words "Jai Hind".

A few months later, the wedding of Princess Elizabeth and Philip Mountbatten took place on 20 November 1947 in London. Gandhi had a memorable wedding gift for the future Queen of the United Kingdom. Lord Mountbatten, India's last Viceroy and uncle of the Princess' husband, and Lady Mountbatten gave the royal bride Gandhi's present.

It was a knitted table cloth that was woven from cotton yarn. The knitting was done by a Punjabi girl who was trained by Gandhi's grandson Kanu. The yarn was spun by Gandhi himself. The table cloth also contained a motif. The motif showed the words Jai Hind.
On his return to India, Lord Mountbatten reported to Gandhi that the Princess was extremely touched by his gift.


I can't tell you much about the company of the Jai Hind share. Is there anyone who can tell me more about this company ? 

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