Sunday, April 27, 2014

Artemon - Mail bid auction May 2014

Numismatics and Financial History - Artemon auction
This German mail bid auction is described from lot 501 and 
features banknotes, coins, documents 
and about a hundred scripophily lots.

Aktiebolaget Stockholms Rederi & Skeppsvarv
in English: Stockholm Shipping & Shipyard Company
Share of 500 Kronor, 1918
double-click image to enlarge

  • Date : May 7, 2014
  • Place : not applicable, this part of the auction, starting from lot 501, is a mail bid auction only
  • Practical info, see here
  • Auction catalogue can be downloaded here 


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

HWPH - Auction 33 and 34

HWPH Auction 33 - Part 1
cover image: Compagnie Anglo-Française des Champs-Élysées 
share of 100 francs, 1860s
double-click image to enlarge

image on cover bond from Dutch East India Company

HWPH Auction 33 - Part 2 - 50 Highlights
cover image: Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie (V.O.C.)
in English: Dutch East India Company
6.25% bond for 3300 Flemish pounds, 1623

HWPH Online Auction 34
cover image: Resavska Zadruga za Kredit i Stednju 
in English: Resava Credit and Savings Cooperative
share of 100 Dinar, Swilajnaz, 1912

  • Date: 26 April 2013  - Auction 33 ;  28 April 2013 - Auction 34
  • Place: Auction 33, Würzburg, GERMANY 
  • Further info, see here 


Thursday, April 10, 2014

About the mill and the arcade game industry

"That the Money of Account, to correspond with the division of coins, .. 
proceed in a decimal ratio, agreeably to the forms and manner following, viz.
  • Mills: The lowest money of accompt, of which one thousand shall be equal to the federal dollar, or money unit __ 0.001
  • Cents: The highest copper piece, of which one hundred shall be equal to the dollar __ 0.010
  • Dimes: The lowest silver coin, ten of which shall be equal to the dollar ... 0.100
  • Dollar: The highest silver coin __ 1.000 "
Source : Journals of the Continental Congress, Tuesday August 8, 1786

The US mill currency
The term mill was used for the first time by the Continental Congress in 1786, only 10 years after the country's Declaration of Independence. One mill represented 1⁄1,000 of a dollar or 0.1¢. As such, the mill - also written as mil - was never released as an official coin or note. 

During the 1930s, the Great Depression period, some cities and a number of American states introduced sales tax tokens, expressed in cents but also in mills. Most of these tokens were produced in denominations for one mill, one and a half mills, two mills and five mills. They were struck in aluminium, brass, copper, zinc, pewter or produced from plastic, wood and even cardboard. After the 1960s virtually none were made anymore.

Missouri sales tax token 5 Mills, Zinc
Missouri 5 mills sales tax token in zinc
Notice the map of Missouri in the design

It is interesting to know how these tokens were used. Shopkeepers and merchants had to pay sales taxes to the state on the sales amount realized in a day. On small sums, e.g. a 10c purchase for a chocolate bar, it was difficult to tax the shopper a percentage of the sales price as there were no coins for such small amounts. Sales tax tokens form the solution. Now, the merchant gave back change in mill tokens and the shopper could pay its next purchase with regular coins and taxes with tokens. This enabled the shopkeeper to collect taxes on each transaction.

No banknotes, no coins, but scripophily !
No official banknotes nor coins have been issued in the mill currency unit. But apparently there are such stock certificates. American stock certificates often mention the official par value, the initial selling price of a single share of stock. One can find certificates of $100 par value, $1 par value, 1ct par value, and in other combinations as well. Lots of companies issued stock mentioning a par value of $.001, the equivalent of a mil. Yet, very few securities actually mention the mil denomination. Here is an example from the Game-A-Tron Corporation, a producer of computer-controlled arcade games.

detail from a Game-A-Tron stock certificate stating the ownership of
shares of One half (1/2) mil Par Value Capital Stock
double-click image to enlarge

The arcade game industry
Early mechanical arcade games were already installed in the 1920s in public places like bars and amusement parks. Fortune telling and pinball machines are examples of these coin-operated entertainment machines. In the 1960s new types of electro-mechanical arcade games were introduced such as Sega's Periscope : a submarine simulator and light gun shooter, see here. By the 1970s a video terminal was introduced in the concept. In 1972 Atari releases Pong, see there, a two-dimensional table tennis video game and became the first commercially successful video game.

arcade game
Photo of hybrid arcade game Galaga and Ms. Pac Man machine
Source: Brian Katt at the English language Wikipedia

These early arcade machines were designed around discrete logic circuits comprising each element of the game itself. These so-called "finite-state machines" perform a predetermined sequence of actions depending on a sequence of events with which they are presented. Some of these arcade games became extremely popular. In 1978 the Japanese Taito Corporation launched Space Invaders. The game caused a national shortage of 100 yen coins in Japan, leading to a production increase of coins to meet demand for the game. 

share certificate of the Game-A-Tron Corporation
Game-A-Tron Corporation
Shares of 1/2 mil par value, 1981
double-click to enlarge image

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Archives International Auctions - Spring Auction 2014

Chinese and Asian Banknotes, Coins & Scripophily
in association with Dynasty Auctions Company, Ltd
This auction offers about 30 scripophily lots.

Guangshen Railway Company Limited ADR certificate
Guangshen Railway Company Limited
American Depository Receipt (ADR) shares certificate, specimen

  • Date: 12 April 2014
  • Place: Hong Kong
  • Further info : see here