Wednesday, December 21, 2011

This was 2011

2011 was the year of the The Smurfs. This movie brings the blue creatures created by the Belgian cartoonist Peyo alive into a 3D experience. Papa Smurf, Gutsy Smurf, Smurfette, Brainy Smurf, Clumsy Smurf and the others experienced a crazy adventure in New York City.  

Scripophily Smurf  was too busy to play a role in the movie. 

In 2011 scripophily collectors had something to say online
More scripophily related blogs turn up and there is a good reason for it. People like to tell their story about some research done or an interesting find. In some cases, they enjoy making the news, in this case the scripophily news. Blogging is an excellent way to do this and the tools supporting the blogger can quickly be mastered. Admit it, there is a lot to write about Scripophily.

New blogs noticed :
Some of these blogs are not in English but with the help of Google Translation the fun isn't spoiled.

Google Analytics is another web tool that helps you analyse the web traffic on your blog.
4792 absolute unique visitors were visiting this blog in the period 1 Jan 2011 - 19 Dec 2011 :
roughly 60 to 220 per week.
Double-click to enlarge

Scripophily on Twitter : a gently but firmly participation
Initially some dealers started using Twitter to announce new entries in their stocks. More and more  non commercial information is broadcasted through the Twitter channel as well. Twittering, posting short Twitter messages or tweets, is as easy as pie. Here is a small tip for the twittering collector : add the number sign or hash (#) to your key words in order to let others easily find your tweets. An example : #scripophily.

Returning visitors to this blog make out 30%.
This comes down to about 1400 returning visitors in 2011.
This doesn't mean all of the visitors are collectors.

What about social media platforms ?
Well, LinkedIn, the social media platform for professionals, has a Scripophily group since 2008. It  counts more than 50 members from all over the world. It's first discussion was posted in 2008 but overall activity still remains modest in contrast to the Scripophily groups on Facebook. If you have a LinkedIn account, log in and apply for your membership.

Yes, there is more than one scripophily related Facebook group. Initially these groups generated  hardly any activity at all. This has changed this year. Notable groups are :
Facebook's Scripophily Group counts more than 150 members and the Osmanli Hisse Senetleri group counts more than 320 members with both groups having plenty of activity. Clearly, Scripophily on Facebook gained sufficient momentum to take off. Even some dealers and collectors created their own  Facebook pages.

Newcomer Google+ looks promising but the platform is still too young, so it has not been picked up yet by scripophily enthousiasts.

The German collectors club EDHAC has a Sammlerforum (in German), see here. The forum is conceived as a classic online billboard. Set up in August 2010 the forum is bursting with activity. Well done EDHAC !

About 63% (down 7%) of this blog's visits come from Western Europe and Northern America.
The new number 3 is South-Eastern Asia overtaking Northern Europe (2010 report see here).
Double-click to enlarge

Scripophily on YouTube ?
People can add comments to your YouTube video or link to it from their sites. Yes there is Scripophily on YouTube, however the activity can be compared with that of the LinkedIn group: very, very modest. Currently searching on the keyword scripophily yields about 30 video results. As video is one of the most powerful ways to bring your message, I find this an astonishing low number.

Locations visiting this blog in the period 1 Jan 2011 - 19 Dec 2011 

By staying in touch online, one can connect in the real world.
Ofcourse nothing replaces the real thing of attending a bourse, strolling through a flea market or sharing some thoughts on a share certificate with someone else. But participating in these online channels makes us, collectors, less isolated than we used to be in the past. Scripophily is awaiting a bright future.

By alle means, thank you for the many visits and for the occasional comments which is great feedback to me about my blog posts.
Merry Christmas and best wishes for the New Year !


By the way, signed the guest book yet?

Friday, December 9, 2011

Book : Terra Australis

  • Title : Terra Australis - An Adventurous Financial History of Australian Shares and Loans / Abenteuer australischer Finanzgeschichte in Aktien und Anleihen
  • Authors : Michael P.A. Liebig
  • ID: ISBN 3-89090-706-7, published by Markt & Technik Verlag AG, 1988
  • Languages : English, German
  • Number of pages : 175
  • Images : black & white, multiple images on almost every page
  • Indexes : no indexes
In this book the author takes the reader on a journey through the historical development of Australia. Many images from share certificates, maps, engravings and other ephemera are included. Certificates seen from the following themes : banking, agriculture, schools, state bonds, textile, tobacco, mining (coal, copper, tin, etc.) , gold, food, oil, railways, transport, forestry, shipping, automobiles, aviation, metal works, film, breweries, sports.
Chapters :
  • A Passage through History
  • The Share conquers Australia
  • 50 Years after James Cook
  • Pressing for Gold
  • Australia under Steam
  • From Hell to Hope
  • Australia becomes mobile
  • Flying Doctors, Cackling of Hens and a School in the Air
  • And to conclude
A must have for the serious collector of Australian scripophily !
Did anyone compile an index of the shares illustrated in this book ?
I would be happy to add the index to this post.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Exhibition : Checks & Balances - Presidents and American Finance

The Museum of American Finance recently opened its new exhibition Checks & Balances : Presidents and American Finance. The exhibit focuses on fiscal policies and budget issues that faced American Presidents George Washington, Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, Woodrow Wilson and Franklin D. Roosevelt. The exposition is on view through November 2012.

George Washington
painting by Charles Peale Polk

 There is also an online section, see here, containing
  • plenty of historical material in PDF format that can be downloaded
  • images of paintings and photographs
  • financial ephemera
  • banknotes
  • bond and share certificates issued to/signed by the presidents
  • confederate state bonds, liberty loan bonds, ...

When you visit the exhibition, do tell us how you experienced it.


Signed the Guest book yet ?

Sunday, November 27, 2011

To the pyramid of Cestius please !

There is no such thing as coincidence
In my previous post I portrayed the Romans as Egyptomaniacs. While doing some research for that article I found out about the pyramid that was built in Rome as a tomb for Caius Cestius. Shortly after the post was published, I continued reading the Women in Finance exhibition catalogue. To my big surprise, the catalogue showed that pyramid depicted on a share certificate. Well, some people say that coincidence does not exist. Wow !

S.A. per il Servizio Delle Automobili da Piazza in Roma e Altrove
Share of 100 Lire, Rome 1908

image source Wertpapierwelt, Olten
The share was issued by the Italian Public-Auto company in 1908. Lovely designed in Stile Liberty, the Italian version of Art Nouveau,  the shares of this public transport company show two of the attractions in Rome that every tourist was supposed to see : the Castel Sant'Angelo and the Pyramid of Cestius.

Piramide Cestia
We already know the pyramid was built as a tomb for the Roman Caius Cestius, a Roman magistrate. It was built around 12 BC outside the city walls. It measures almost 30 m square at the base and is 37 m high. Like many ancient Egyptian pyramids, also this one was already plundered in Antiquity. In the year 270 the Vandals and the Juthungi, Germanic tribes, invaded northern Italy. The Roman emperor Aurelian responded with the construction of the Aurelian Walls, a 19 km long line of defensive walls around the city. In order to save expenses and speed up the completion existing buildings were incorporated into the structure. The Cestius pyramid was one of these and that explains largely why it is one of the best-preserved ancient buildings in Rome.

In the Middle Ages, people forgot about the origins of the pyramid. Overgrown with vegetation, the citizens of Rome believed it to be the tomb of Remus.  Between 1660-1662 Pope Alexander VII ordered the excavation of the pyramid upon which the ancient Roman inscriptions were rediscovered. The pope would later order Bernini to create an obelisk for him.

Today, Cestius pyramid is more than 2000 years old. It is located near the Porta Ostiensis, perhaps these days better known as the Porta San Paolo. Clearly Cestius wanted to be commemorated forever. I'm pretty sure that he'd loved to know about this remarkable piece of scripophily.


Reference link : Wikipedia's Pyramid of Cestius

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Doctor's diagnosis : Egyptomania

Which definition is most applicable to you?
  1. Mania : an excessively interest, enthusiasm, or longing; a craze
  2. Egyptomania : the fascination with ancient Egypt
  3. Egyptology : the study of ancient Egyptian history, language, literature, religion, and art
As far as we know today, the oldest hieroglyphs, the writing system of
the ancient Egyptians, date from more than 5200 years ago (3200 BCE).

Egyptomania existed in Antiquity
Actually you are wrong if you think that Egyptomania is a modern phenomenon.  The Romans were Egyptomaniacs, at least a part of them. When their legions came home back from Egypt after long field marches and a voyage on a hot Mediterranean, they shipped most of Egypt's obelisks to Rome. Emperor Constantius II decorated the Circus Maximus with an obelisk. Wealthy Romans ordered the production of obelisks as replicas of the originals. These were manufactured in Egypt and even in Rome. It is known that the Romans held Egyptian costume parties: always a fun thing to do. Some of their villas were decorated with mosaics of Nile sceneries. Caius Cestius, a Roman magistrate even let built his own tomb in the shape of a pyramid.

Action Ordinaire, 1899, Bruxelles
Société Belge-Egyptienne de L'Ezbékieh
Printed by Lithog. du "Messager de Bruxelles"

Rediscovered by the Renaissance after nearly 1000 years
After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, European interest in ancient Egypt almost disappeared for nearly a 1000 years. During the Crusades a few returned from Jerusalem with stories that spoke of Egypt and its monuments. Except for the attempts by medieval Muslim egyptologists, there was  no one anymore that could read the old hieroglyphs.

The Renaissance with renewed interest for Antiquity brought ancient Egypt back under the attention. In this period the first western travellers wrote about their voyage in Egypt. Here and there motives of lotus flowers, papyrus, sfinxes, scarabs and pyramids became decorative elements in various art disciplines. Even Pope Alexander VII commissioned the exceptionally gifted Bernini, sculptur and architect, to design an obelisk. Adventurers, not only coming from Europe, went on a treasure hunt after reading medieval manuscripts written by Arabs.

1 Share of 4 Egyptian Pounds, 1951
Credit Agricole D'Egypte

Napoleon sends a military and scientific expedition into Egypt
Under the pretext of protecting the French interests in Egypt, Napoleon sent his Armée D'Orient (Army of the Orient) on expedition to Egypt in 1798. A direct attack on Great Britain was beyond his possibilities, but by occupying Egypt he would try to establish French hegemony in the Orient and bar Great Britain's commerce route to India. Already in 1801 the Armée needed to withdraw. Napoleon's adventure in Egypte was a military fiasco and a human catastrophe with 15,000 French troops killed in action and another 15,000 by disease.

Bonaparte devant le Sphinx, 1867-1868
(Bonaparte before the Sphinx)
Jean-Léon Gérôme (1824-1904)

However the Egyptian campaign would mark the beginning for modern Egyptology and in its wake Egyptomania as well.  Opponents saw it as propaganda, the fact is that Napoleon sent, along with his troops, not less than 167 "savants" : mathematicians, astronomers, engineers, botanists, geographers, chemists, doctors, archaeologists, writers and artists.

Experts believe that the Pyramid of Cheops was built
in approximately 20 years around 2500 BC.
The pyramid consists of more than 2 million blocks put into place
at an average of more than 12 blocks per hour, day and night.
Remark: check the resemblance with this photo.

Napoleon's scientific team in Egypt had many tasks :
  • mapping out roads for the army
  • investigating the possibilities for a canal between the Mediterranean and the Red Sea
  • building mills for food supply
  • describing as much as possible the ancient monuments of Egypt
  • observing and drawing flora and fauna

5 Shares of 4 Pounds Sterling, 1908, Cairo
Banque Egyptienne de Commerce
Printed by B. Arnaud

Two publications ignite modern Egyptomania
Vivant Denon, who had joined Napoleon's expedition to Egypt as an archaelogist and an artist , published in 1802 his sketches of Egyptian monuments and art objects in his Voyage dans la basse et la haute Egypte (Journey in Lower and Upper Egypt). Denon would later become the first director of the Louvre museum. The monumental Description de l'Egypte (Description of Egypt) was a series of volumes published between 1809 and 1829.  It is the extensive compilation of the field reports, sketches and descriptions made by the members of Napoleon's scientific team during the expedition in Egypt.

When the Sphinx of Giza was rediscovered by Napoleon's
troops, it was largely buried up in sand. In 1817 its chest was
uncovered by Giovanni Battista Caviglia. It would take
another 119 years before Émile Baraize would excavate
the sphinx in 1936 completely.

Both works, illustrated with great engravings of the country and its ancient buildings and art objects, were a succes. The public was enthusiastic. In the next 100 years, each next major archaeological discovery or public event further stoke up the Egyptomania:
  • 1822 Champollion deciphered the Rosetta Stone hieroglyphs 23 years after its discovery by Napoleon troops
  • 1836 Louis Philippe placed the Ramses II obelisk from the Luxor temple, a gift from Muhammad Ali of Egypt, in the center of Place de la Concorde
  • 1869 The Suez Canal, "the Highway to India", was opened.
  • 1878 Erection of the Tuthmosis III obelisk in London
  • 1881 Another Tuthmosis III obelisk was set up in New York
  • 1922 Howard Carter  discovered Tutankhamun's tomb

25 Shares of 1 Pounds Sterling, 1908, London
The New Egyptian Company

Egyptian Revival movement
Not only the public was enthusiast. Also artists and architects, fascinated by the descriptions and numerous engravings in the publications mentioned above found inspiration in Egyptian motives and imagery for their creations. Although most of them would never see a sphinx or a pyramid in their life.

View on the pyramids, seen from Cairo
Architectural examples :
  • Egyptian Bridge, St.-Petersburg
  • Fountain of the Fellah, Paris
  • Highgate Cemetery, London
  • Washington Monument (an obelisk)
  • Egyptian Court at the Crystal Palace for the Great Exhibition in London
  • Egyptian temple in the Antwerp Zoo
  • amongst many more also several Masonic temple buildings

Examples in painting :

1 Ordinary Share of 250 Francs, 1906, Cairo
The Cairo Electric Railway and Heliopolis Oases Company
Printed by Bradbury Wilkinson

In the 19th century expensive furniture, clocks, lamps, dinnerware and jewelry designed with lotus flowers, scarabs and sphinxes quickly found buyers. Egypt became popular in literature, in opera, in the theater and at the movies. These days Egyptomania is collective and masses of kitchy objects can be spotted on almost every flee market : a pharao figurine, a sphinx bookend, a used pyramid board game.

Egyptomania in scripophily
As you can see in this post, many Egyptian stock and bond certificates issued by Egyptian, French or English companies. These stunning papers are often printed by Arnaud, Chaix, Bradbury Wilkinson, Waterlow, Ventura, Della Rocca and Publications Egyptiennes. Their designs make you easily start dreaming and muzing. Unexplainable. And that's the secret of Egyptomania: it permits anyone to find affinity with another world of ideals. 

Shares of $1, Colorado Springs, 1901
The Prin-Seti Gold Mining Company
Sold at Boone Auction 47, Oct 2011, for 1200 Euro

Therefore it is no surprise, that Egyptomania found also its way in American culture and scripophily as well. Some American shares and bonds are very explicitly designed with pharaonic elements. A nice example is the share certificate of the Prin-Seti Gold Mining Company.  On other certificates, the presence of ancient Egypt is more subtle, as can be seen on the details on some American railroad stocks and bonds.

Sphinxes on US railroad certificates
from left to right :
Rio Grande Junction Railway Co., see Cox RIO-357-S-50
Indiana and Lake Michigan Railway Co., see Cox IND-337-S-30
Duluth Huron and Denver Railroad Co., see Cox DUL-103-B-50

Do I suffer from Egyptomania ?
Ok, ok, ok, ok. Yes, I admit it. But just a little. Really not much. Occasionally. Not continuously, if you know what I mean.  As an 8-years old kid I read comic books like Spike and Suzy (Dutch: Suske en Wiske), The Adventures of Tintin and Asterix. Together with my heroes in these stories I experienced many wonderful adventures in Egypt. (Sigh) I wonder if I will ever make it to Egypt.

I wrap up this posting with some final words about mummies:
What did the baby pyramid say to the other pyramid?
How's your mummy?

  • Wikipedia's Obelisks in Rome
  • In search of forgotten Egypte (Dutch : Op zoek naar het vergeten Egypte) , Jean Vercoutter, ISBN 90 02 18033 0
  • From Delacroix to Kandinsky - Oriëntalism in Europe, Editions Hazan - Koninklijke Musea voor Schone Kunsten van België, ISBN 978 2 7541 0520 0
  • Wikipedia's Revival Art

Related links

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Uncharted - Belgian artist Posch

Many Belgian shares and bonds issued at the end of the 19th century are beautifully designed by the artist Charles Posch. I believe there is no other artist in the world that has been as productive in the field of securities.  His artwork is often signed with C. Posch or Ch. Posch.

Nevertheless Posch remains a mystery because I simply can not find any information about him or his work. Regrettable !

Who can provide some information about Charles Posch ?

View on the city of Vienna  (seen from the Belvedere? )
Signature of C. Posch in the lower right corner.
Double-click to enlarge.

Compagnie des Eaux de Vienne
4.5% Obligation de 500 Francs, 1895
Design by Posch
Printed by Lithographie de la Cote Libre, Bruxelles
Double-click to enlarge

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Exhibition : Women and Finance - An evolving image

The Women and Finance exhibition
How have artists portrayed women on securities through the centuries ? To what extent are important female investors and businesswomen represented on our scripophily treasures ? That is what the Women and Finance exhibition is all about. The exposition is organized by the Wertpapierwelt museum :
  • The exhibition has been open since 8th September 2011 until April 2013.
  • Place to be : Wertpapierwelt Museum, Baslerstrasse 90, Olten, Switzerland
  • Opening hours : Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m

Exhibition catalogue
A choice and colorful catalogue has been issued on the occasion of the exhibition :
  • Title : Woman and finance - An evolving image
  • Authors : Dagmar Schönig, Thomas Fenner
  • ID : no ISBN applicable, published by Wertpapierwelt, 2011
  • Languages : German and English version available
  • Number of pages : 116
  • Images : color images, almost on every page
  • Indexes : no indexes, certificates are grouped by chapter

  • Godesses, patron saints and allegories
  • Housewives, workers and consumers
  • Exotic and erotic
  • Famous women
  • Nobility and politics
  • Businesswomen, investors and heiresses

Many rare and decorative shares and bonds appear in the catalogue which makes it interesting for both advanced and starting collectors. The price is 15 CHF. Only 300 copies are printed in the German edition and 100 in the English edition.


Related links

Other events ? Check out the calendar.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

How to create nice scanned images that are smaller in size ?

Did you know that with a little trick you can reduce your scanned images to one fourth of the original file size ? The trick is called Microsoft Paint. Time for a little experiment.

Step 1: Scan a bond certificate
I deliberately choose a certificate that includes a design and is printed in more than one color : a bond issued by the French administration for postal services and telecommunications (French: Postes, télégraphes et téléphones). I use a regular scanning configuration : a resolution of 200 dpi, True Color coding. The resulting image measures 1413 by 2082 pixels and has a size of 2169 kB .

14,80% French P.T.T. bond of 2000 Francs 1983
This public administration was split in 1991 into La Poste and France Télécom.
The bond was issued only one year after the PTT launched Minitel.
Minitel was the first large scale succesful pre WWW online service.

Step 2 : Open the file with MS Paint and save it.
Open the image with MS Paint. Do nothing except for saving it. As a result the image has still the same measurements 1413 by 2082 pixels, but surprisingly its file size shrunk to 557 kB !
I can not explain it fully but I guess the outcome is caused by the Paint software that somehow converts the True Color coding scheme to an older less precise type of color coding.

Anyway, the dimensions are still intact, and equally important, the image looks as good as before. I tested this procedure with a more plain certificate printed in one color and lacking any decorative features : same results.

  • original : 2169 kB
  • open and save with MS Paint : 557 kB

Step 3 (optional) : 75% Resizing
In a final step, I usually use MS Paint, or another software, to reduce its size to 75% of the original. Applying this step to our example brings us to the following result : 1060 by 1562 pixels, file size 323 kB. 


Friday, September 30, 2011

SFO exhibits aviation scripophily

The San Fransisco International Airport (SFO) Museum will be home to more than 40 stock certificates  between September 2011 and March 2012.

Pan American World Airways, Inc.

1959, 100 Shares of $1
facsimile signature of Juan T. Trippe
the most common share certificate in scripophily ?

Financing Pan Am
The Financing Pan Am exhibition presents over 40 different stock certificates from Pan American World Airways.  The SFO Museum is located in the international airport of San Francisco which counts almost 40 million passengers per year. Practical information about the exhibition, see here .

Aviation Corporation of the Americas
holding company of Pan Am
100 Shares without nominal or par value, 1930
facsimile signature of Cornelius V. Whitney
printed by Quayle & Son, New York

The certificates were donated to the SFO Museum by Jon E. Krupnick in 2010. Although I am not sure, I believe, he was also the author of the book Pan American's Pacific Pioneers: the Rest of the Story.


Related links :

NB: If the San Fransisco International Airport is on your schedule, do let us know how you experienced the exhibition.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The double-headed eagle of the Third Rome

The internet technology company Google has one of the most famous and recognizable logos. In scripophily, this title is taken by the double-headed eagle of the Russian Tsar. During the 19th century, until the Russian Revolution in 1917, millions of securities have been issued to finance the Russian state, its railways, Russian companies and Russian cities. They were distributed all over Europe and the rest of the world. But have you paid any attention yet to the imperial eagle that has been printed on so many certificates? Have you noticed how many shields that eagle bears ?  Ever heard of the Third Rome ?

collage of old Russian bonds
Collage of bonds from the Russian Empire.
Image sources provided by Mr. and Mrs. A. Kamyshin

Nine coats of arms represent 500 years of history
When looking carefully, you can distinguish 9 coats of arms on the eagle. However, in most cases, these shields are printed so tiny that few details can be revealed.

Russian Kopek coin 1917
click to enlarge and distinguish the 9 shields

The center shield on the eagle's chest is the one with the arms of Moscow. Then, in clockwise order starting from the heads, we see the arms of Astrakhan, Siberia, Georgia, Finland, Kiev-Vladimir-Novgorod, Taurica, Poland and Kazan. As you will read further, you'll see that this double-headed eagle represents about 500 years of Russian imperial history. To be honest, I was unaware of the rich past of Russia and while reading about it I found myself consuming one story after another. I can only recommend you to do the same.

1866 bond of the Russian empire with detail on the Russian double-headed imperial eagle
2e Russ. 5% Inner. Anleihe mit praemien-verloos.
1866, Bond for 100 Roubles
Double-click for details
At the end of the post, I'll highlight some more remarkable appearances of the Russian eagle, but to start with, here is a brief overview the shields and the history that is represented by them, given again in their clockwise order.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Book : Polish Securities

front cover of the book Polish Securities

  • Title : Polskie Papiery Wartościowe - Polish Securities
  • Authors : Lesław A. Paga, Leszek Kałkowski
  • ID: ISBN 83-900695-8-X, published by Rosikon Press, 1995 (2nd edition) 
  • Languages : Polish, English
  • Number of pages : 200
  • Images : color, almost on every page, large format images
  • Indexes : no indexes, certificates are discussed in chronological chapters

This large format book gives an overview of Polish certificates grouped in chronological manner.

  • Securities issued in partitioned Poland before 1918
  • Securities issued in the Second Polish Republic before 1924
  • Securities issued in the Second Polish Republic after currency reform
  • Securities issued in Poland after 1945
An interesting book on Polish stocks and bonds.
Did anyone compile an index of the many companies mentioned in this book ?
I would be happy to add the index to this post.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Ypres exhibits its rail history archives

Did you know that Ypres counted several railroad stations and 2 types of rail gauges were in use ? All of this and much more can be discovered in the new exhibition set up by the city's archives office. Good to know, the exposition features a handful of old shares and bonds of the first railway companies serving the city of Ypres and its neighbourhood.

Railroads and tramways in Ypres
The "Railroads and tramways in Ypres" exhibition (Dutch: "Trein en tram in Ieper") showcases photograps, postcards, design documents, and other material from the archives of Ypres. Images of  railway certificates, not the actual shares and bonds, are present too.

Click to enlarge

Details for this free entrance exhibition
  • The exhibition runs from Sep 9th until Oct 10th, 2011.
  • opening hours : 9.30 - 18.00 (saturday 13.00-17.00)
  • free entrance
  • address : CC Het Perron, Fochlaan 1, Ypres
Lille-Flandres, in the north of France, is the nearest high-speed rail service station. From there, a regular rail service via Kortrijk, takes you to Ypres in about 90 minutes, whereas a more straight route by car brings you on the spot in about half an hour. So, if you are planning a city trip, then a visit to the exposition can be a nice diversification.


NB : Signed the Guest book yet?

Related links

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Digest of scripophily readings I

Scripophily is gaining momentum on the Internet ... again ! I googled the word scripophily today with the following outcomes :
  • 470,000 results on web pages (50% related to Ebay)
  • 92,900 results on images
  • 26 results on videos
Ofcourse not all results are relevant to the serious collector, but still, the numbers are impressive. People are writing more about scripophily on the Internet. This posting will highlight newly discovered notable articles. You can expect similar posts on a  periodical basis.  If you don't like it, just tell me in the comments !

So, let's get on with it, here's the digest.

How I collect scripophily
An experienced and enthusiastic collector tells us about the joys, some why's and how-to's in his article, published as a part of the How I Collect series of The Ephemera Society of America.

Library Scripophily
.. is the latest posting on Larry T. Nix's Library History Buff Blog, see here. More library scripophily is shown here.

North American railroad certificates with price history details
Terry Cox offers an improved reporting page on price history details, see Price history details improved .

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Do you know what type of collector you are ?

Are you a mixed type or not ? Simply replace the word 'coin(s)' with 'scripophily' or 'certificate(s)' in this great article written by Ursula Kampmann. I am sure you will find some of your collecting friends described or even yourself. I'm looking forward to your reactions and comments !

The Nine Types of Coin Collectors
written by Ursula Kampmann
by courtesy of CoinsWeekly, Ursula Kampmann
copyright the MoneyMuseum, Dr. Jürg Conzett

You will find them everywhere in their natural surroundings: at coin shows, auction sales, in coin shops, at the flea market... But, there is only very few information about the genus of coin collector. It seems to form a part of the biological family of collectors, which for its part belongs – without any doubt – to the human beings. This is the first attempt to describe the nine hitherto known species of coin collectors.

Bank notes and coins depicting King George VI
detail from a certificate of
The National Finance Of India Ltd

The sex of the collector
The typical coin collector is male. There is at the most one serious female collector for every 1000 male collectors. Nobody has yet found a sensible explanation for why that should be so. Let us try therefore to find one by going back into the dim and distant past. In his hunt for the one and only coin that he wants for his collection, the man becomes the prehistoric hunter in search of prey. He wants to look out for, hunt and kill his prey and then take it back home. What happens after that does not interest him. He places the coin he has captured in a box where there are already many other coins which in past years spurred on his hunting instinct. His pleasure in collecting lies, with few exceptions, (compare the Self-exposer, the Researcher and the Historian) not in possessing something, but in the hunt.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Double denomination on Wildwood and Delaware Bay Short Line Railroad

There are several types of printing errors on bank notes, bonds and shares (or minting errors in coin collecting). A double denomination is a very special one. 

Train 1995 passing signal bridge.
Vignette on the 100 Shares certificate, see below, of the
Wildwood and Delaware Bay Short Line Railroad.
Wildwood and Delaware Bay Short Line Railroad
According to the 1932 edition of Moody's Steam Railroads, this company was incorporated May 10, 1910:
  • The capital stock $378,000 was divided in 7560 shares $50 each.
  • On Dec 1 of the same year the company issued a loan for $470,600, due Dec. 1, 1940. Surviving certificates of these bonds have not been reported yet.
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.

The line from Wildwood Junction to Wildwood
connected further to the Atlantic City Railroad.
Detail from map below, double-click to enlarge.
source : Moody's Steam Railroads 1932

WDBSL becomes part of the Reading railway system
We also read in Moody's Steam Railroads 1932 that the company became less and less profitable on its operational activities in the late 1920s. In 1929 the Great Crash on Wall Street initiated the Great Depression.

source : Moody's Steam Railroads 1932

The Atlantic City Railroad Company acquired control of the company in July 1930. This company purchased  $428,500 of the outstanding bonds and 52,5% of the shares. The Atlantic City RR in turn was a subsidiairy of the Reading Company. The latter also owned $36,300 of the Wildwood's Co's bonds.

Double-click to enlarge this map of the Reading railway system.
The Wildwood linelocated on the map in the lower right corner, 
eventually became part of the Reading railway system.
source : Moody's Steam Railroads 1932

Double denominations in scripophily
Many printing errors are caused by mechanical defects, such as a damaged impression cylinder and ink spills. Some errors are caused by human error, such as faulty alignments of printing designs or inverted backs. A special kind of error is the double denomination. In this case, on bank notes the face is printed with one denomination and the back with another denomination.  Apparently, such errors can occur on scripophily items too. In this example, two different denominations can be seen on the face.

share of the Wildwood and Delaware Bay Short Line Railroad company
100 Shares of $50, 1914
Wildwood and Delaware Bay Short Line RR
click to enlarge

This certificate for 100 shares of the Wildwood and Delaware Bay Short Line Railroad was issued in 1914. From the Moody's book we know it represented a par value of $50. Yet the green underprint clearly says "SHARES $100 EACH".
The other, correct denomination - 50 Dollars - is printed just under the main title, the company name.

Double denominations in scripophily are quite exceptional.
Do you know of any other double denomination examples in scripophily?

Related links

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Reference catalogue : Swedish Share Certificates Before 1850

  • Title : Svenska Aktiebrev Före 1850 - Swedish Share Certificates Before 1850 - Schwedische Aktien Vor 1850
  • Authors : Birger Strandberg, Björn Franzén
  • ID: ISBN 91-630-0421-6, published by AB Aktiesamlaren BJB, 1991
  • Languages : Swedish, English, German
  • Number of pages : 220
  • Images : mostly in black and white, a few in color, almost on every 2 pages
  • Indexes : index by date of issue on page 14
This catalogue gives an overview of Swedish share certificates issued before 1850 :
  • 16 shares dated between 1728 and 1799
  • 80 shares dated between 1800 and 1850
Many companies listed were active in the field of mining, canals, bridges, banking, shipping, shipyards, early trading companies, health resorts, sports and recreation and many more. Less usual themes included : a billiard club, swimming and horse riding schools, and even a 'share in a stallion' is present.  Many rarities.

Friday, July 8, 2011

When the ICE age started

The reason why I base this posting on content published earlier by another blog author, is that I felt this topic was important for scripophily collectors.

Before the ICE age
I used to spend a lot of time in assembling a decent image from the separate scans made of the parts of large certificates. Summarized, this was my procedure for large certificates :
  1. Scan the upper half, sufficiently overlapping with the other half (1 - 3 cm).
  2. Similar, scan the lower half.
  3. With an Image Manipulation Program (IMP), crop the upper half so that the lower blurry border, is cut away. The blur appears in the generated image because that side of the certificate reaches beyond the scan surface.
  4. Straighten the upper half and save the image file.
  5. Similar, crop the lower half, so that the upper blurry border is cut away.
  6. Straigthen the lower half and save the image file.
  7. Import both cropped and straightened halves into the IMP.
  8. Align both halves, so they make up a nice whole again. This is a very accurate and time-consuming part of the procedure.
  9. Crop, sharpen, ... the final result and save.

Usines et Visseries de Haren
Share of 100 Francs, issued 1899, Haren, Belgium
(click image to enlarge) 

When the ICE age started, things were never the same again.
ICE is a brilliant image stitching program that was probably designed for stitching together landscape photographs into landscape panoramas. But it also works great for stitching together the separately scanned parts of large shares and bonds.

My large certificate procedure now looks like this when using ICE:
  1. Scan the upper half, sufficiently overlapping with the other half.
  2. Similar, scan the lower half.
  3. Drop the set of images into ICE and save. You can even enable the creation of a thumbnail image.
  4. Crop, sharpen, ... the final result with an IMP and save.Wow ! The stitching operation is accomplished in a few seconds.

Check this out on the Coxrail blog !
Working with ICE is straightforward. The software is free but there is a little software setup involved. You can read all about it on the Coxrail blog, see here. Terry, a great find ! Thank you.

Give it a try. You'll have no more excuses for not scanning your large ceriticates.