Saturday, June 27, 2015

Printers : Kelly Print

The share certificate below is printed by Kelly Print from Denver, Colorado. Except for the Colorado state seal, the print looks rather plain. 

Amity Canal, Reservoir and Improvement Company, share certificate from 1891
The Amity Canal, Reservoir and Improvement Co. 
(name as indicated on the embossed seal in the bottom left corner)
Incorporated under the laws of Colorado.
Capital stock $400,000 in shares of $50; issued in 1891.
double-click image to enlarge 

As so often is the case with plain looking certificates, the little hidden details are cheating you. Only when you take your time to have a closer look, you'll be surprised. 

The left and right borders contain two tiny bird vignettes, a dove and a rooster. Both measure only 7 mm each (0.28 inch).

tiny dove vignette measures 7 mm

The paper contains also a nice watermark. By means of some image edits, I was able to make the watermark visible. Double-click the image below, and you can recognize a large turkey. 

watermark of turkey
Watermark shows 'Turkey Linen' and a turkey.

Kelly Print is not often seen in scripophily. A Colorado certificate of the Rossiter Mining & Milling Company, auctioned as lot 1463 by Holabird's Western American auction #9, was also printed by Kelly Print. Any more information about Kelly Print or certificates printed by this printer is welcome.


Monday, June 15, 2015

Archives International Auctions - New York Summer Auction 2015

Banco Popular
Santiago, Chile, 1910
100 Pesos share, specimen (lot 1040)
In contrast with the eagle, the condor appears rarely on vignettes.
From 1834, the condor comprises, together with a huemul (deer), the coat of arms of Chile. 
In the 1950s Condor and Medio Condor coins were struck (1 Condor = 10 Pesos).

Archives International Auctions 
The Rudolph P. Laubenheimer Master Engraver, Die Sinker & Medailleur Family Archives
This auction includes additional consignments of
 U.S. & Worldwide Banknotes, Coins, Scripophily, Medals & Ephemera

This auction contains approximately about 170 lots of scripophily

  • Date : 25 June, 2015
  • Place : New York
  • Further info : see here


Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Booklet : Münchens Stadtanleihen

Münchens Stadtanleihen
English: Munich City Loans
double-click image to enlarge

  • Title: Münchens Stadtanleihen, in English: Munich City Loans
  • Publisher : Landeshauptstadt München Stadtkämmerei, 2004
  • ID : no ISBN number
  • Languages : German
  • Number of pages : 37
  • Images : more than 40 large color images
  • Index : no index

In 1922 the U.S. dollar rose from 192 German Mark to 420 Mark. Hyperinflation in Germany reached its height in 1923. In November of that year, the city of Munich issued a loan with a principal amount of 96,700,000,000,000 Mark. That sum is pronounced as 96.7 trillion (over here in Europe we say also 96.7 billion).  By the time the loan appeared on the market, one dollar was worth 4,200,000,000,000 Mark.

City of Munich, capital of Bavaria - 1920 bond
Bayer. Landeshauptstadt München - City of Munich, capital of Bavaria
4% Bond of 200 Marks, 1920
Sold at HWPH's 38. Online-Auktion, April 2015 for 22 Euro.
Source: HWPH, see

Munich started to issue loans in 1838 and still does today. In this publication, the certificates are depicted with large images, and discussed in their historical context. In recent times, Munich's "Schmuckanleihen", freely translated: "popular artwork loans", try to charm potential investors all of over the world.

  • Was sind Stadtanleihen ? What are city bonds ?
  • Die Stadtanleihen im 19. und zu Beginn des 20. Jahrhunderts (1838-1921) The city bonds in the 19th and early 20th century (1838-1921)
  • Die Stadtanleihen in der Zeit der Inflation (1922-1923) The city bonds in the period of inflation (1922-1923)
  • Die Stadtanleihen in der Zeit der Rentenmark und der Reichsmark (1923-1948) The city bonds in the period of the RentenMark and the Reichsmark (1923-1948)
  • Die städtischen Auslandsanleihen (1925 und 1928) The municipal foreign loans (1925 and 1928)
  • Die DM-Anleihen der Stadt München (1953-1995) The DM bonds of Munich (1953-1995)
  • Schatzanweisungen und Privatplatzierungen Treasury bonds and private placements
  • Schmuckanleihen, die nie auf den Markt kamen "Artwork bonds" that never appeared on the market

1925 U.S. dollar loan from the city of  Munich
City of Munich, Germany (Landeshauptstadt München)
7 % Serial Gold Bond of $1000, 1925, Series XVI, due 1941
Sold at HWPH's 38. Online-Auktion, April 2015 for 60  Euro.
Source: HWPH, see

A truly interesting booklet, with lots of history and artists. As long as copies are available, you can still request your own from the Munich city council here .


Tuesday, June 2, 2015

How to identify U.S. state seals on a Kentucky & Great Eastern Railway bond

The word zero originates via the French zéro from the Italian zero, 
in turn an Italian contraction of  the Venetian zevero, which in turn 
came from the Arabic ṣifr ( صفر).  (wikipedia)
Whether you call it zero, nought, nil, nada or zip, the zero 
shown above is arguably one of the finest zeros seen in scripophily.
Double-click the image and notice how the shadows around the scrollwork 
seem to make the number levitate.

Kentucky and Great Eastern Railway Company bond from 1872

Kentucky and Great Eastern Railway Company
$1000 Gold Bond 7%, free of U.S. taxes, 1872
Printed by American Bank Note Co.

The Kentucky and Great Eastern Railway Company
The wonderful zero was printed on a 1872 bond from the Kentucky and Great Eastern Railway Company (KGERC). From this company, no stock certificates are known; I believe, only this type of bond. I must confess that this railway stays a bit of a mystery to me because I could not find out to what degree the railway has been operational. Some pieces of information found:
  • 1871, Jun: Kentucky and Great Eastern Railway Company, organized under the laws of Kentucky. (0)
  • 1871, Oct: Mason County subscribes $400,000 to the KGERC. (1)
  • 1871, Nov: The KGERC closes a contract at Ceredo, West-Virginia, with  the commissioners of West Virginia, by which they acquire the franchise and property of the West Virginia Central Railroad Company. (2)
  • 1871, Dec: Lewis County agrees to subscribe $100,000 to the KGERC. (1)
  • 1872, Feb: Authorization of a $2,190,000 bond issue. (0)
  • 1872, Mar: KGERC announces a 146 miles railroad, from Newport along or near the south bank of the Ohio river to Catlettsburg, is under contract to be built by Alton & Beach of New York city.(1)
  • 1873, Mar: A mortgage of the KGERC to the Farmers' Loan and Trust Co., of New York, for $2,190,000, is recorded in the clerk's offices for Mason, Campbell, and other counties. In the same month, ground is broken at Maysville for the line. (1)
  • 1873; Aug: First locomotive is put to work upon that portion of the KGERC now building, along the Ohio river between Maysville and a point opposite Portsmouth, Ohio; 350 hands at work. (1)
Sources :
(0) Information printed on KGERC's bond certificate
(1) History of Kentucky, by Lewis Collins, Richard H. Collins, see here .
(2) The Ohio Statesman, Nov 30 1871

vignette of approaching train with white flag
Lovely vignette of a locomotive with a white flag.
In the U.S., any train operating not on a published schedule was an "extra" train,
indicated by white flags (or lights) on the front of the engine. 

(Source: )
double-click image to enlarge

Despite wonderful bonds, investors stay away 
You know, researching this company made me lose all sense of time for a while. So, before I address the topic of the title, I'll dive a little further into KGERC's remaining history. 

Poor's Manual of Railroads 1874-1875 reports for the year 1873 that the company planned a 146.5 miles line from Covington, Kentucky to Catletssburg, Kentucky. The railway intended to open communication between the coal and iron mines of Eastern Kentucky and West Virginia and the system of railroads centring at Cincinnati. Poor's further states that the KGERC planned to extend the line to Huntington, the western terminus of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad, 13 miles from Catlettsburg. Grading was done from a point opposite Portsmouth, Ohio, to the eastern boundary of Bracken County, 60 miles. That portion was to be completed in the same year with negotations for the iron being in progress. The company's financial situation is described as follows :
  • Capital stock authorized: $10,000,000
  • Capital subscribed: $500,000 (by Mason and Lewis Counties, see before)
  • Capital paid in: $100,000. 
  • Bonds authorized ($15,000 per mile), $2,200,000, 7% gold, dated Feb 15, 1872, no bonds yet issued. (the bond shown above)
The Poor's Manual 1877-1879 mainly repeats the same information for the year 1876, but speaks now of an 1872 $2,250,000 loan (still the same loan). Also here: no bonds have yet been soldWe see no further reports in the subsequent Poor's Manuals. 

After two years in business, only 1% of the capital was paid in. Four years after the authorization of the loan issue, the number of bonds that were sold was still zero, nought, nil, nada or zip. On Coxrail, this bond is known as KEN-580-B-50, see here, and all registered serial numbers have been reported as uu, unissued and uncancelled. My guess is that the company went bankrupt, but why no capital could be attracted is not clear to me.

The other side of the bond certificate above depicts three U.S. state seals.
Can you identify them ?

Surprise on the other side
When you look at the other side of the certificate, you'll see four large, rounded rectangles made of guilloche patterns. Three of these contain a U.S. state seal. State seals appear on many American stocks and bonds.

On Wikipedia's Seals of the U.S. states page, see here, you can compare the seals one by one and try to identify which seals are depicted. But, over time, state seals may have changed slightly in appearance. Terry Cox tells us that state laws often prevented engravers from using "official" state seals. Engravers often modified the most important elements of official state seals and then added new surrounding features. In other words, a difficult and time consuming task.

Luckily, Mr. Cox conceived for us a finding system, some kind of decision tree that helps us quickly identify state seals by looking only at key details. Here below, you'll see the individual state seals in high resolution images. Go ahead, try and identify the state seals, by using the Cox state seal finding system, see here. You'll see it is fun and it is fast.


Related links :

Interested in sigillography (seals)?
Then check out this series of related posts .