Sunday, May 8, 2022

HSK's upcoming auction in Hamburg features more than 1100 lots of historic securities

28 May is the day when HSK's 41st auction takes place in Hamburg. This time HSK brought together more than 1100 scripophily lots. Bonds and shares from Berlin real estate developers, the Wolfgang Tartz collection, are part of many top-quality items included in this sale.

The event starts with a talk by Claus Müller titled The beginnings of the Russian mining industry in Ukraine, financed with foreign capital. After the auction a collector's bourse precedes a joint dinner.

From the American auction section,  L(ot) 62 is a rare bond from The Colorado Bonanza and Union Tunnel and Mining Company issued in 1891. The company was founded that year to dig for Colorado gold in Gilpin County. The upper vignette shows its mining operations near Bates Hill and Maryland Mountain. Remarkable, a cross-section of that same view tells us about the Bonanza and Union tunnels that were to be excavated. 

Scripophily from all continents is represented in the auction. Major sections are dedicated to America and Germany with in particular Bremen & Niedersachsen, Hamburg, Schleswig-Holstein & Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.

Some noteworthy items from the European section :
  • L256 is a 1886 share in the Compagnie Générale des Bateaux Parisiens with riverboat vignette. The company operated commuter riverboat services around Paris. 
  • Illustrated with a Roman! pyramid, L298 is a lovely share certificate from the Public-Auto SA per il Servizio delle Automobili da Piazza in Roma e Altrove, a public transport company in Rome.
  • The Manchester Race Course Association share from 1848 features a detailed vignette of the company's grandstand, L287. 

The Eidgenössische Bank AG, aka Banque Fédérale SA, Zürich, was one of the most important Swiss commercial banks. It became part of the Schweizerische Bankgesellschaft (SBG) in 1945 (later UBS). The sale features two of the company's sought-after share certificates. L260, dates from 1893, see image, and  L261, from 1917. 

Before I discuss the Berlin real estate developers collection, let me point out some interesting German certificates :
  • L881, a "Stamm" (Kux, mining share) in one of the earliest mercury mining companies from Germany is a top item in HSK's auction. The share in the Quecksilberwerke am Lemberg, issued in 1846, shows excavation activities, the smelting of mercury ore, and is adorned with leaf scrollwork in beautiful blue printing. Check the word 'STAMM' in detail : each letter is designed as a trunk (another meaning of the word STAMM). A very rare, small work of art.
  • Carosseriewerke Schebera Aktiengesellschaft from Berlin dealt in automobiles and produced car bodies. The 1922 specimen share, L692, illustrated with a horse carriage and two of the company's automobiles, bears the facsimile signature of Jacob Schapiro, car dealer, taxi entrepreneur and stock market speculator, who became a large shareholder of Daimler-Benz.
  • Art Deco enthousiasts will love L941, a 1923 issued share from the Textil-Kunst Aktiengesellschaft from Dresden.

Architect Ludwig Richard Seel designed the city hall for Königsberg, known today as the Russian city of Kaliningrad. Seel is known for building the Parliament and Ministry of Justice in Tokyo. Königsberg's city hall, completed in 1912 and illustrated on this Stadthalle Königsberg share from 1907, included concert halls, a restaurant and a cafe. During the Nazy era, many artists lived in Königsberg to work independently of state control. The building was destroyed in World War II. Restored in the 1980s, it is now home to the Kaliningrad Regional Museum of History and Arts. L930 

The Wolfgang Tartz Collection counts over fifty bonds and shares from Berlin real estate development and property companies.  The collection was assembled over a period of many decades. Lot range 570 through 624.
Between 1750 and 1850 Berlin's population tripled to over 400,000 people. In 1871 Otto von Bismarck unified Germany. Berlin, the capital of the new German Empire, became the center of politics on the European continent. Von Bismarck created a favorable investment climate for the city's development. A large numbers of industrial workers and their labour unions, bankers, entrepreneurs, scientists and artists made Berlin a thriving but fast growing city. By 1910 the number of Berliners amounted to 2,000,000. 

The public square and transport hub of Alexanderplatz is recognizable from afar thanks to Berlin's nearby 368m heigh Fernsehturm. With hundreds of thousands of passers-by and visitors  Alexanderplatz is the most visited area of Berlin. 
Founded in 1912, the Aktiengesellschaft Alexanderplatz managed a number of houses at Alexanderplatz and nearby, including Hotel "Alexanderplatz". This 1000 Reichsmark share from the same year is part of the Wolfgang Tartz collection. L572 

There is a lot more to discover in the sale, so here are the details :

Though called a share certificate (Anteil-Schein) this is an interest-free lottery bond from the still existing Ski-Klub Oberstaufen. It was issued in 1920 for "the purpose of building a first class ski jump". Since the 1960s several international slalom competitions were held in Oberstaufen won by champions like Vreni Schneider and Ingemar Stenmark.  Note the logo with skis. L902 in the auction. 


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Sunday, April 24, 2022

Scripophily Puzzle No. 6 - solution

I'm sure you recognized the Disney vignette as one of the three visual cues from Puzzle No. 6 . Even with the other vignettes provided, solving the puzzle was not straightforward. Yet I did receive one correct answer.

The three visual cues were clippings from three different stock and bond certificates. The common link between the cues was a particular object.

The correct answer for the puzzle was ... (drumm roll in the background) ... the Liberty Bell.

Shares from the American Union Fire Insurance Company from Philadelphia, PA, show the Liberty Bell in front of the city's Independence Hall. Printed by the Security Bank Note Company, this share certificate was issued in 1910. Things were not going well for the insurance company. It liquidated in 1913. 

The Liberty Bell was made in Great Britain by a foundry that became known as Whitechapel Bell Foundry, a producer of many famous bells such as the Big Ben in London.

Pennsylvania commissioned the Liberty Bell in 1751 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of William Penn's Charter of Privileges, Pennsylvania's original constitution. After a rough passage across the Atlantic, the bell cracked when it was first rung.

Two Philadelphia workmen, John Pass and John Stow, recasted the bell. Its large distinctive crack, also visible in the vignette above, originated somewhere in the first part of the 19th century. The bell was placed in the tower of the Pennsylvania State House, aka Independence Hall. This leads us to the first cue.

These bonds, issued by the City of Philadelphia in 1866 (upper right image) and 1861, feature the same vignettes, including the city's Independence Hall that housed the Liberty Bell for about two centuries. It is now located in the Liberty Bell Center. This pair of bonds was sold at Holabird Americana's Dec 2020 auction at $50 without buyer's premium. 

The bell became a symbol of freedom. In the 1830s several anti-slavery journals featured the bell in their publications. In 1853 President Franklin Pierce visited Philadelphia. He spoke of the bell as the symbol of the American Revolution and Liberty.

George Lippard writes his "Fourth of July, 1776" in 1847. In that story a young boy instructed an aged bellman to ring the bell on America's Independence Day. But that was not correct. Historians assume that the Liberty Bell rang on July 8th to summon the people to hear the Declaration of Independence read out aloud for the first time. Anyway, Lippard's story was widely reprinted and retold as 'historical fact' for many decades to come.

On the occasion of Philadelphia's 1876 Centennial International Exhibition a replica of the Liberty Bell was cast. It weighed 13,000 pounds (5900 kg), more than six times the weight of the original bell.

The Liberty Bell was not displayed at Philadelphia's Centennial Exhibition. But it made several trips to various other expositions and celebrations in the years thereafter. This brings us to the second cue of puzzle No. 6.

The World's Columbian Exposition, aka Chicago's World Fair, took place in 1893 to mark the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus' arrival in the New World in 1492. With 46 countries participating, it attracted over 27 million visitors. This $10 shares certificate from 1893 was printed by the Western Bank Note Company. It sold for $400 excluding buyer's premium in Holabird Americana's 2018 October auction. 

In 1893 the Liberty Bell was sent to Chicago's World Columbian Exposition as a highlight of the festivities. It was not the only big bell on display there.

For the World's Columbia exhibition a much larger Columbian Liberty Bell was casted. Two days before the end of the exhibition, Chicago's Mayor Carter Harrison sounded his "new" bell at his final speech on 28 Oct 1893. A few hours later Harrison was assassinated.

The original Liberty Bell returned from Chicago bearing a new crack. Wherever it went, the bell attracted millions of people, more cracking occurred, and souvenir hunters chipped pieces away from it. After 1915 Philadelphia refused any further requests for having the bell featured in events like that.

There was also a third "bell" present at the Chicago event. It was a full-sized model of the Liberty Bell made out of oranges by the State of California. This brings us to our last cue for this puzzle which showed Walt Disney and several Disney figures.

In Holabird Americana's May 2021 auction this Walt Disney stock certificate went $120 excluding buyer's premium. The company displays a full-sized replica of the Liberty Bell in Walt Disney World, Florida. 

As part of the US Liberty Bell Savings Bond Drive, the US government ordered 55 full-sized replicas of the Liberty Bell in 1950. These were casted by Fonderie Paccard in France. Shipped as gifts to US states and territories the bells were to be displayed and rung on patriotic occasions. 

In 1989 Walt Disney ordered another bell casted by the same foundry from the same mold. It stands now on Liberty Square in the Magic Kingdom, Bay Lake, Florida.

The Liberty Bell sometimes appears on coins, stamps, bonds and stock certificates. I'm interested to see other examples from the latter category. Several American corporations have used the bell's name and image, but none so daringly as the restaurant chain Taco Bell.

On April 1, 1996, Taco Bell launched an ad in the newspapers posting that it had purchased the Liberty Bell and renamed it the "Taco Liberty Bell". Thousands of outraged people had called Taco Bell headquarters and the bell's caretaker, the National Park Service. By noon it was told that the story was a joke. The company's publicity stunt allegedly led to nearly a $1,000,000 rise in sales that week.

I received one joint correct answer on this puzzle from Randy & Scott. Well done! You are now entitled a portion of "eternal fame".


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