Friday, January 25, 2013

Digest of scripophily readings IX

New online scripophily articles and references, January 2013

Pre-World War I American railroads
The following image depicts a stock certificate printed by the American Bank Note Company.

stock certificate of the Western New York and Pennsylvania Railroad Company
Western New York and Pennsylvania Railroad Company
certificate for 5 shares of $100, 1888
identified in the Cox catalog as  WES-748-S-39 iu
double-click image to enlarge
This rare and fine specimen of an engraved stock certificate can be seen, along with many others, on Pete Angelos' website showing American railroad stocks and bonds. Besides issued scripophily papers, separate sections contain proofs and specimens. A special section is dedicated to Confederate issues. All these beauties, can be seen here . Peter, thank you for sharing!

French shipping companies and their house flags
Dominique Cureau has listed more than 2300 French shipping companies and 900 house flags on his website. Interesting to see that several of the flags illustrated are details from shares and bonds.
Try to identify this flag on 

If you have a share certificate depicting a French shipping flag, you can research the company or the flag in the following ways :
  • alphabetical index on company name
  • search by flag characteristics
  • or use a term with the search engine.

Merci for sharing your expertise !
Who can help Dominique in completing his inventory of house flags of French shipping companies ?

History of the Norwegian stock exchange
The offices of the Christiania Børs, English: Christiana Exchange, opened in 1819. A new building was opened in 1829. It was the first monumental building since Norways independence declaration from Denmark in 1814 and it took another 52 years, in 1881 to be precisely, before the first securities were listed. Before that, it was a place for trading currencies, bills of exchanges, commodities, ships and parts. 

In the original trading room you can still still see the weather clock, connected with a weather vane on the roof. Depending on the wind direction, prices of commodities and securities went up and down depending on the direction. Why, and much more, can be read on the following pages of the Oslo Stock Exchange  :

der aktiensammler magazine December 2012

der aktiensammler
In addition to the articles above, the latest December 2012 No.6/12 issue of der aktiensammler magazine, and at the same time the last issue, contains the following stories (in German) :

  • Der Goldstandard - kein Allheilmittel, aber immer noch vertrauensbildend, about the gold standard and our monetary system in the past (part 12 in a series on the evolution of money)
  • Echte und unechte Eiffelturm-Aktien : Auf die Nuancen kommt es an, in English: True and unreal Eiffel Tower shares: It's all there in the Nuances
  • HEAG: 100 Jahre Eisenbahn und Strom in Südhessen, about the history of the Hessen railway company and its growth into a larger concern with interests in electric power utilities, telecommunication et cetera
  • Spekulation: Schlummernde Schätze oder doch nur Nonvaleurs ?, a collector tells us about his (disappointing) adventures when trying to sell so-called speculative certificates
  • Warum die Schmidheinys keine Banker waren (Teil 2), about the Schmidheiny industrial entrepreneurs family and the Holderbank cement business (part 2)
  • other periodical topics : Auction Reviews, Collector's Portrait, Events Calendar, Classifieds

I am sorry to learn from the editors that the magazine will no longer be published.


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Hunt down your collectible with Google Images

A picture is worth a thousand words.

In this article you will learn about an alternative and easy way to seek information about your collectible. The method is applicable to any object such as a coin, a banknote, a postage stamp, et cetera. And because scripophily is the main subject of this blog, I'll use a share certificate as an example in the procedure explained below.

Sine Laboratory Compay Limited
Share certificate, 1948, Shanghai
double-click image to enlarge

When conventional search methods yield nothing at all
Do you recognize this situation? I 'google' for a company name that appears on a share certificate and find no results. Then I retry the search with other search engines. OK. Now I initiate a search operation on my local computerfiles and hope some Excel or PDF document will show up in the results. Alas. I do not want to give up yet. Next I check out my bookcase for any reference books in which the name might appear in their indexes. As I was beginning to fear : nada, nothing, rien de knots, niente. When this happens, well .. %&$#?@!  ... there are no words for it. Stuck with a certificate I know nothing about, I end up storing it in an album and hope another attempt,  maybe next year, will yield better results. 

Google Images
Most of us already know how to use Google Images : you enter a search term and the result shows images that correspond to the term or phrase entered. However, in 2011 Google came up with a new feature. It allows you, instead of entering a search term, to upload an image. Any image, therefore also an image of your collectible. Holy smokes!

You can take out that untraceable certificate from its album, the one you put away a year ago. Scan it, or take a picture of it with your smartphone, and upload the image to Google Images. Unless your certificate is a rare piece, Google will likely find you similar images and links to corresponding webpages. It doesn't matter if the text on your share is in your familiar alphabet or not.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Exhibition : Bubbles and bankruptcy

"Even the most reasoned investment can occasionally fail."

Scripophily in The British Museum
The Coins and Medals department of the British Museum recently opened its exhibition Bubbles and bankruptcy - Financial crises in Britain since 1700.

The exhibit brings us stories of mismanagement, speculative frenzy and fraud, bubbles, manias and crashes in Britain from the 1700s until the present. On display are original prospectuses, banknotes, and naturally, share certificates and bonds play a prominent role. 

Included as well are modern cartoons, antique satirical prints and modern works of art, representing satire and protest about financial crises.

Gregor MacGregor persuaded investors to buy shares
in a country in South America that he called Poyais. Many
investors poured their savings into the scheme and boarded
ships to begin a new life in a non existing colony which was
made up by MacGregor’s imagination.

Poyais loan of 100 Pounds Sterling, 1823
double-click the image to enlarge

© The Trustees of the British Museum

Practical info
  • location : room 69a, The British Museum, London
  • duration : 29 November 2012 - 5 May 2013
  • opening hours : daily 10:00 - 17:30 (closing 17:20), on Fridays open until 20:30 (except Good Friday 29 March 2013 )
  • entrance fee : free

Further reference

Why not combine an IBSS London meeting with a visit to the museum ?

Interested in other scripophily events ? Check out the calendar.