Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Scripophily magazine reveals early Fiji scripophily

The International Bond & Share Society (IBSS) recently launched its 105th issue of Scripophily magazine. IBSS started 40 years ago and since then has been encouraging collecting of antique securities. The society publishes its flagship, Scripophily magazine,  three times a year and also offers a free newsletter.

This time the magazine counts over 50 pages illustrated with more than 100 images of bonds and shares.  An overview of the stories :
  • Digging scripophily at the Carrera Marble Quarries 
  • "Numismatics, meet Scripophily" exhibit at the American Numismatic Association Convention 
  • The Newport Casino 
  • Rogues Gallery, extract from Hollender's Financing the World
  • Scripophily of the Gold Coast and Ghana 
  • Animal vignettes 
  • U.S. Presidents on Scripophily 
  • Profile and history of the Warner Company 
  • Southern Revenue-stamped stock certificates of the Civil War Era, part II 
  • "Selling the Stock", about the use of securities as advertising and promotion material 
  • The New York Produce Exchange 
  • Cox's Corner, the periodical column on our hobby 
Other recurring topics are : society matters, news, bourse reviews, auction reviews, events calendar, member classifieds, book reviews, interviews, letters to the editor and the like. 

The auction section includes tens of reports from sales in Australia, Belgium, China, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, UK and USA. Noted top sellers were shares from the Compagnie des Indes, Bank of China and a BMW founder's specimen share. The magazine provides more details on these and hundreds of other lots auctioned over the past months worldwide. One eyecatcher was a Fiji share sold by Downies, Australia, illustrated below.

Downies 324th sale ran from 18th to 20th July 2017. The auction took place in Box Hill, Victoria, Australia, and included a remarkable, early Fijian share certificate from The Polynesia Company, Limited. 

Polynesia Company share certificate

The Polynesia Company, Limited 
certificate for £2 shares, 1869 
An alert collector purchased this early Fiji scripophily 
for (only) A$120, buyer's premium not included. 
image : Downies

Before Fiji became a British colony in 1874, its government was dominated by European settlers. The Polynesia Company incorporated 7th Dec 1868 after purchasing around 200,000 acres of land around Suva in Fiji. The land was bought from local chiefs including warlord Cakobau, a former cannibal before he was christened in 1854. Because of the rising price of cotton following the American Civil War (1861-1865), the company had become interested in acquiring land in Fiji for planting cotton. However, several legal issues arose when it turned out that the land Cakobau had sold was not completely his to give. 

Not a member of IBSS yet ?
Then these links should help you out :


Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Historic canals for sale in Spink London's scripophhily auction

Spink's upcoming Bond and Share Certificates of the World sale will take place on 29 November.  Over six hundred lots of scripophily are to come under Spink's London hammer. Represented are certificates from the UK, Ireland, USA, China, South Africa, Middle East & North Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, Russia and Latin America. 

In particular wide ranges of collectible securities from Mexican railroads and US railways, bonds from the Confederate States of America, and a high quality collection of historic British canals, deserve a closer look from the advanced collector.

Spink UK's auction features a collection of canal companies, introduced as 'The property of a gentlemen'. Included are 49 lots with bond and shares from companies covering three centuries. Some of the highlights are a Mercy and Irwell Navigation share as early as 1724, a share in the Derby Canal Company, 1793, and a rare Basingstoke Canal Navigation mortgage bond from 1795.  

The share shown above was issued by the The Ribble Navigation Company in 1863. The company was formed to straighten the meandering Ribble river. Click the image to enlarge and notice how the company's printed seal (see detail on top) reappears in embossed form on the dark red paper seal. The share is part of lot 255 and is expected to fetch a minimum of £80.

Auction details
  • Location : London, UK
  • Dates : 29 November 2017
  • Further info : see SPINK , online catalogue here and PDF version there 


Thursday, November 9, 2017

Beautiful Contagious Scripophily at AIA's 45th Sale

Spread over two sessions, Archives International Auctions 45th Sale features banknotes, coins, security printing ephemera, historic documents and autographs. Over 180 lots of U.S., Chinese & worldwide scripophily are included. One of many fascinating lots is a proof Contagious Disease Hospital Bond of the City of Detroit. Unknown to the collector's market, only one hundred of these bonds were issued in 1908 as part of a $100,000 loan. This unique proof is likely the only remaining scripophily from this part of Detroit's modern history. 

Contagious Disease Hospital Bond of the City of Detroit 
$1000 3.5% Coupon Bond, 1908, printer proof 
large vignette of boats out on lake
seal of the city of Detroit (left) and of the state of Michigan (right)
A printer proof, which is basically a printed prototype, 
usually bears  the original notes from the printing company 
regarding specifications of certificate.

Despite an attractive interest rate and the full guarantee by the city of Detroit, the hospital loan was not popular. The Detroit Free Press, May 21, 1908 reports : 
"A healthy tone in the local money market was indicated by the bids opened yesterday by Controller Doremus for the $249,000 of public school bonds and the $100.000 of contagious disease hospital bonds. The school bonds, paying interest at the rate of 3.5 per cent, were over subscribed, ... . A feature of the bidding was that there were practically no offers for the hospital bonds except one made by the city sinking fund commission at par, although the full credit of the city of Detroit is pledged equally in both cases, and one bond as good as the other in point of security, rate of interest and every other respect. "It is all in the name," said Matthew Finn, representing one of the bidders. "A public school bond has a good reputation and is easy to sell, while a contagious disease hospital bond makes one think of the smallpox and other disagreeable things. Some people might even be afraid of catching the measles by handling one of the documents." 
Mr. Finn's statements may sound bizarre but were relevant to Detroit at the time. Smallpox plagued the city since the 1830s. A city hospital, operated by the Sisters of Charity to care for patients with contagious diseases, was destroyed by fire in 1892. To continue the care for patients the city's Health Board leased a steamboat, the Milton D. Ward Contagious Disease Hospital, for two years until a small hospital building was erected to treat smallpox patients. Due to more outbreaks of smallpox, tuberculosis and other diseases, construction of a more suitable facility started in the 1900s. In 1911 the first two pavilions of a new Contagious Disease Hospital were opened which became known as the Herman Kiefer Hospital for Contagious Disease.

U.S., Chinese & Worldwide 
Banknotes, Coins, Scripophily and 
Security Printing Ephemera and Autographs

Auction details
  • Location : Fort Lee, New Jersey
  • Dates : 16 November 2017
  • Further info : see AIA , online catalogue here and PDF version there 


Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Titanic victim Benjamin Guggenheim scripophily for sale in AIA's auction

Archives International Auctions sets its next auction date to Monday, 30th October 2017. Nearly four hundred US, Chinese & worldwide banknotes, ephemera, stocks and bonds are ready for a new owner. Among other beautiful certificates, the scripophily section also includes a bond from the International Steam Pump Company.

Lot 259 : International Steam Pump Company 
First Lien Twenty Year 5% Sinking Fund Gold Bond, specimen 1909 
Click image to enlarge, check the vignette and notice 
the size of the steam engine powered pump in comparison to the person. 

Benjamin Guggenheim, born in Philadelphia, Oct. 26, 1865, was the fifth of seven sons of Meyer Guggenheim. By the time he was 20 years old, his father sent him to Leadvilie, Colorado, to manage the Guggenheim's mining interests. In 1903 Benjamin Guggenheim built a plant at Milwaukee, Wisconsin, for the manufacture of mining machinery. Three years later the business was merged with the International Steam Pump Company. He became the latter's Chairman of the Executive Committee, until Jan 1909, when he was elected President.
Following a trip to Europe in 1912, Benjamin Guggenheim boarded the RMS Titanic and was accompanied by his entourage and his mistress, the French singer Léontine Aubart. After the Titanic's collision with an iceberg, he and his valet, Victor Giglio, helped the rescue of women and children. Subsequently they changed clothes and headed for the ship's Grand Staircase foyer. Guggenheim remarked, "We've dressed up in our best and are prepared to go down like gentlemen." Both men went down with the ship, Léontine Aubart survived.

Auction details

  • Location : Fort Lee, New Jersey
  • Dates : 30 October 2017
  • Further info : see AIA , online catalogue here and PDF version there 


Spink auction presents American winemaking history

Spink USA plans its next New York auction in The Numismatic Collector's Series for Oct 30 and Nov 1, 2017. The sale includes coins, decorations, militaria, paper money, antique maps, autographs and other historical documents. Also on the menu are more than fifty, mainly American, bond and share certificates. One of these is a share from The Company for Promoting the Cultivation of Vines in Pennsylvania, one of the earliest wineries in America.


Company for Promoting the Cultivation of Vines in Pennsylvania
Lot 1916, share of $20, issued 1811, embossed seal with a bunch of grapes, surrounded by "SEAL OF THE VINE COMPANY OF PENNSYLVANIA.
click to enlarge

Peter Legaux fled from prerevolutionary France in 1785. He boarded a ship bound for Philadelphia. There he found many compatriots and applied for citizenship. Legaux soon purchased an estate by the Schuykill River at Spring Mill. He discovered that native grapes were prolific and that the soil and climate conditions were comparable to those in Italy and France.
Legaux decided to produce his own wine and established one of the first vineyards in America. The wine he produced was a success. An entry in Legaux’s diary on July 22, 1787 states, “This day General Washington, General Thomas Mifflin and four other members of the Constitutional Convention did the honor of paying us a visit in order to see our vineyard and the bee business.” Peter Legaux could later persuade President Jefferson to support a duty on imported wines to encourage home production.

In 1802, Legaux incorporated The Company for Promoting the Cultivation of Vines in Pennsylvania. The company's first President was Peter Muhlenberg, a Revolutionary Brigadier General at the battles of Brandywine and Yorktown. In the same year Muhlenberg became also Philadelphia's customs collector.
Source: History of the Company for Promoting the Cultivating of Vines in Pennsylvania, Earl Moore, Financial History, Issue 65, 1999, Museum of American Financial History

Auction details
  • Location : New York City
  • Dates :  30 Oct  - 1 Nov 2017 
  • Further info : see here 


Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Uranium from Belgian Congo and more at Boone's 59th Auction

This Saturday, Boone's upcoming sale will take place in Brussels. The auction includes over 1,300 lots of historic bonds and shares and ends with the sale of a phenomenal, you can say epic, collection of Belgian banknotes. The event concludes with an international scripophily bourse on Sunday.

The auction's scripophily section features material from almost 90 countries. Top piece is a 1777 share in the Iron Bridge Trust, regarded by UNESCO as the symbol of the Industrial Revolution. Second highlight in the auction is a 1922 specimen certificate from Union Minière du Haut-Katanga, a star item in any Belgian Congo or world mining collection.

Lot 136 in the auction : Société Union Minière du Haut-Katanga , 1922

Union Minière du Haut-Katanga (UMHK) mined copper, uranium, radium, cobalt, gold and other minerals in Belgian Congo between 1906 and 1966. By the 1930s the company had a virtual monopoly of the world uranium market. The rich uranium ore was refined in UMHK's plant at Olen, Belgium. In the 1940s the Americans purchased tonnes of uranium to be used for their atomic bomb program. During WWII the Nazis captured over 1000 tonnes of uranium stored at Olen. It was recovered by US forces at the end of the war.
click image to enlarge

Mario Boone, 59th Auction and Bourse of Historic Shares and Bonds
Depicted is lot 525, Iron Bridge Trust, 1777.
According to UNESCO, the company marks the beginning of the Industrial Revolution.

A special catalogue has been printed for the sale of a unique collection of Belgian papermoney from as early as 1848 right until the introduction of the euro.

Auction details

  • Location : Brussels
  • Dates :  21 Oct  (Auction) 2017, 22 Oct  (bourse) 
  • Further info : see here 


Sunday, August 20, 2017

AIA's 44th Auction features hundreds of early US, Chinese and Worldwide stocks and bonds

Nearly 150 years after issue, a bond from The Franklin Silver Mining Company of Colorado, carrying a high content of American history, turns up in Bob Schwartz' upcoming auction of Banknotes, Scripophily, Coins and Security Printing Ephemera

The Franklin Silver Mining Company was established in 1868 near Idaho Springs, Colorado. Its Franklin Lode was a large and rich vein of solid mineral. By 1906 the mine produced over a million dollars. The company's bond, lot 831 in the auction, is signed by Civil War hero Benjamin Franklin Fisher.

Sixty of these gold ink printed $100 bonds were part of a $60,000 loan
 issued in 1869 by The Franklin Silver Mining Company of Colorado.
The bond was "convertible into the stock of the corporation at its par value,
and redeemable at the option of the company at any time after three years."
Signed by civil war hero Benjamin Franklin Fisher as the company's President.
Click image to enlarge

Two months after the outbreak of the American Civil War, Benjamin Franklin Fisher (1834-1915) went into service as 1st Lieutenant, Company H, 3rd Pennsylvania Reserves in June 1861. He was detached to the Signal Corps where he produced intelligence reports from observation posts. Promoted to the rank of Captain, he commanded a detachment of signallers from February 1862 with General Hooker, and on the Peninsular Campaign under McClellan. During the movement to Chancellorsville Capt. Fisher was the first to detect and report Confederate General Lee's movements up the Rappahannock river at the beginning of the campaign into Pennsylvania. 
On June 17, 1863, while tailing Confederate lines near Aldie, Virginia, Fisher was captured and sent to Libby Prison in Richmond. There he was joined by Lieutenant Causten, his future brother-in-law. On February 9, 1864, 109 prisoners tunneled out of Libby Prison, including Fisher and Causten. That night they passed guards unnoticed, hided through the day in the thickets and the swamp jungles of the Chickahominy river, and continued their escape at night time. Both endured a two-day lasting snow storm and evaded search parties for several days. Then on February 18, they ran into the enemy and were shot at. His future brother-in-law was recaptured but Fisher escaped and found his way to Union lines at Williamsburg, February 21 1864. Fisher, Brevetted Brigadier General, resigned November 15, 1866 and started practising law in Philadelphia.

US, Chinese, Middle Eastern & Worldwide Banknotes,
Scripophily, Coins, and Security Printing Ephemera
featuring additional selections from the
Alexander I. Progrebetsky Family Archives of Rare Chinese Banknotes

Archives International Auctions' 44th sale takes place on Tuesday, August 29th, at Fort Lee, New Jersey. The sale includes about 300 antique stocks and bonds spread over several sections such as Chinese government bonds, treasury bills from Russia, US mining, US railroads and much more.

Auction details

  • Date : August 29, 2017
  • Place : Fort Lee, NJ 
  • Further info : see there and PDF version of the catalogue here 


Monday, August 7, 2017

Chinese Civil War scripophily in Spink's upcoming auction

Spink's next Hong Kong auction goes on for three consecutive days, starting on 15 August 2017. Over 2,500 lots of Chinese, Asian and World banknotes and coins will be offered for sale. Chinese Scripophily is represented with 40 lots. Highlight is a 1941 bond from the Shaan Gan Ning Border Area Construction Loan.

Shaan Gan Ning Border Area Construction Loan, 1941
lot 20 in the auction, estimated HK$20,000 to HK$24,000
Shaan Gan Ning Border Area was named after
the northern provinces of Shaanxi, Gansu, and Ningxia.
click image to enlarge

The Chinese Civil War, started in 1927, was fought between the Kuomintang (KMT) government of the Republic of China and the Communist Party of China (CPC). During the following decade millions of people died in the conflict. When Japan invaded the mainland of China in 1937, the KMT, led by Chiang Kai-shek, and the CPC formed a brief alliance against Japan, called the Second United Front. As part of the policy the Shaan Gan Ning Border Area was created by the CPC in agreement with the KMT as a replacement for the former anti-Kuomintang Soviets.
While the pact existed on paper until 1945, all collaboration between the two parties had ended by 1940 - the bond dates from this turbulent period - and the Chinese Civil War resumed. Eventually, Mao Zedong's CPC would defeat Chiang Kai-shek's forces. The latter retreated to Taiwan and formed the Republic of China. Mao declared the People's Republic of China in 1949.

Auction details

  • Date : 15, 16 and 17 August 2017
  • Locaton : Hong Kong 
  • Further info : see here, catalogue there 


Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Subscribe to free Newsletter and stay informed on scripophily

The International Bond & Share Society (IBSS) offers lots of expert content freely available online to non IBSS members.  Its web site continues to expand. Several archives of newsletters and in depth articles were added, such as  

And there is more to discover: upcoming events, news items, publications and books, links to museums, associations, auctioneers and dealers, and the like.

You can sign up with the IBSS Newsletter for free, here.

share from the Japan Air Transport Co
Nihon Koku Unso Kabushiki Kaisha
Japan Air Transport Co
1928, 50 Yen share

Friday, July 7, 2017

Over 1000 lots in Archives International Auctions Summer Internet Sale

AIA's 43rd sale features U.S. & worldwide banknotes, scripophily, coins and historic ephemera. The auction includes nearly 800 lots of antique stock and bond certificates largely from the American Bank Note Company Archives. 

For sale are certificates from famous companies like Pizza Hut, Coca-Cola, Procter & Gamble, General Motors and Boeing. Most U.S. themes are represented - automobiles, aviation, mining, navigation, steel, oil, utilities, state & city, and lots more. The railroad section counts over 250 lots. Among China, Canada, Cuba, Israel and other countries, there is an interesting series of Chile scripophily.

Banco Hipotecario de Chile
1000 Pesos, series B 6% specimen bond , early 1900s
printed by the American Bank Note Company
lot 1127 in the auction
click image to enlarge

Nice engraving work from the American Bank Note Company can be seen on Banco Hipotecario de Chile specimen bonds. Their main vignette show the arms of Chile, which was designed by the Irish-born artist and engineer Charles Chatworthy Wood Taylor (1792 – 1856).  
Charles Wood Tayler emigrated to the United States in 1817. In Boston he earned a living as a landscape painter. The U.S. government hired Wood Taylor in 1819 to embark on a scientific expedition that took him to the coast of Mexico, Ecuador, Peru, and Chile. The following year he accepted the post of Lieutenant of Artillery of the Army of Chile, and was added to the corps of engineers. After taking part in several military activities Wood Taylor was promoted to the rank of Captain of Engineers. He designed the coat of arms of Chile which was adopted in 1834. Wood Taylor also designed the first stamps of Chile. Other Chilean bonds in the auction show variations in the arms.

Auction details
  • Date : 18 July 2017
  • Locaton : This is an Internet only auction.
  • Further info : see here, catalogue there 


Monday, June 12, 2017

Two-Footers for sale at Spink New York

In The Numismatics Collector's Series sale, Spink will auction more than 800 lots of coins, medals and banknotes. Seventy-six lots from the US, Canada, China and Russia complete the scripophily section.

Lot 829 is a group of railroad bonds including a $500 dollar bond issued in 1901 by the Wiscasset, Waterville & Farmington Railroad. Two $100 dollar denominations from  the same issue and a 1908 $1000 bond from the Sandy River & Rangely Lakes Railroad complete the group. Both lines were nearly neighbours and were built as "Two-Footers".

Wiscasset, Waterville and Farmington Railroad Company bond from 1901
Wiscasset, Waterville and Farmington Railroad Company
5% First Mortgage Gold Bond
$1,000,000 loan, 1901, due 1921
issued in denominations of $1000 $500 and $100

"Two Footers" are narrow-gauge railways which are cheaper to build. They require lighter construction, smaller tunnels and bridges, and use smaller cars and locomotives. Most narrow-gauges were built for industrial railways. The term (track) gauge refers to the distance between both rails. "Two-Footer" tracks were built with rails so close together that a pair of large shoes set "heel-to-toe" could span the distance between the rails. source: Wiscasset, Waterville & Farmington Railway Museum

Auction  details
  • Location : New York
  • Dates : June 19-20, 2017
  • More info : See here 


Saturday, June 3, 2017

Olympic history at AIA's upcoming Summer Auction 2017

Archives International Auctions announces details of their upcoming sale on Thursday June 15th 2017, at Fort Lee, New Jersey. The sale includes nearly 250 stocks and bonds spread over several sections such as China, imperial Russian specimen bonds, US Federal Bonds & Liberty Loans, State of Israel bonds, US City and US Railroad bonds and  more.

One of the remarkable items in the auction is a California Tenth Olympiad Bond Act of 1927 bond proof. The Act authorized a $1 million dollar loan to finance the 1932 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.

$1000 bond proof "California Tenth Olympiad Bond Act of 1927"
Below the Olympic rings there is a motto printed : Citius, Altius, Fortius,
which is Latin for  Faster, Higher, Stronger.

The  Games of the X Olympiad took place during the Great Depression. There were no other cities that made a bid to host these Olympics, except for Los Angeles.  It was here that for the first time an Olympic Village was built, for male athletes. The Chapman Park Hotel was home to the female athletes. Another premiere introduced was the victory podium. These were the first Games that exceeded one million spectators. 

This proof bond offered in the auction is a historic Olympic item that helped finance the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics. Only two of these were found in archives as proofs, no specimens were found. The first one sold for $1400 in AIA's January 2007 auction.

Auction details

  • Date : June 15, 2017
  • Place : Fort Lee, NJ 
  • Further info : see here, virtual catalogue see there and PDF version here 


Sunday, May 28, 2017

Kawasaki in the year 2889

We are in the year 2889. By then, all objects in museums are virtualized. People can download a perfect but scaled copy of any thinkable museum object and have it rendered in their living room as a tangible three-dimensional image. The objects that are speaking volumes are the ones the general public like the most. And you? Well, you are an archaeologist specialized in 20th century financial artefacts.

That day you are excavating a chamber at an ancient site which seems to be an office building from the 1960s. Yes, that is funny, back then people used to assemble all day long in a dedicated building to do office work. Anyway, the chamber you are working on, contains a safe weighing about 100 pounds. Your hand-scanner tells you there are documents inside the safe. With your tools, you manage to open it in no time. Wow, the parcel inside contains a set of old stock certificates. In the 20th century, people printed shares on paper for representing ownership in companies. Most of these certificates perished. One of the shares stands out from the others. It is speaking volumes.

With a PhD in Ancient Oriental Languages and Cultures, you translate the long line of characters on top. It is ancient Japanese, and you need to read it in the old way : from right to left. 

'Kabushiki Kaisya', 株式會社 are the first words and mean stock/limited company. A common term on Japanese certificates. You mouth the following word much slower : 'Kawa', , and 'saki', 崎, 'together Kawasaki', 川崎. Aha, that's interesting, halfway now. 
Already from the start you identified the last two symbols, 'Kabuken',  株券, 'share certificate'. Then you speak loudly, 'Zōsen', 造船, 'shipbuilding .. Tokoro, place', 所. 'Wait a minute, together they form Zōsensho, shipyard !',  造船所. You have figured it out : 'Kabushiki Kaisya Kawasaki Zōsensho Kabuken! I found a share in the Kawasaki Shipyard Co. Ltd '. With your hand-scanner you look up the flag printed on the share. Yep, that is the one.

Six months later, a new exhibition of the objects unearthed by you is launched at the Central Museum. The Kawasaki share is one of the highlights. As one of the museum's educators, you are leading a school group around the show. Of course, you spend time on the Kawasaki and explain all about the way business initiatives and innovations were financed 900 years ago. Some of the kids are babbling on anything but the tour, others look a bit bored. One of the kids raises its arm. 'Yes ?'. The group now turns quiet and looks at you first, then at the kid who says, 'If this piece of paper was meant to finance a business, what type of business would that have been?' The other kids are speechless and are now all staring at you.

Happy with the question and all the attention you have, you clarify 'Well, that could be anything you can think of, but in this case, you can see from the vignettes, the little pictures on the certificate, what this company was all about.' Now, for the first time, all the kids turn to the display case and inspect the Kawasaki share. 'They made ships !', shouts one of them and they all look at you again. 'That is correct ! The Kawasaki Shipyard Company was founded in 1896 and already one year later the company completed the Ivomaru, its first ship. If you look carefully, you can see a drawing of the shipyard behind the lettering. At Kawasaki they were very inventive. In 1906 they completed their first submarine. They even made battlecruisers like the Haruna, which was a warship of the Imperial Japanese Navy during World War I and II !'.

After reducing contrast, the underprint of the Kawasaki share reveals 
an image of a dockyard with ships under construction.
click to enlarge image

'And they also made cars .. and airplanes .. and locomotives !', they tell each other and leave their finger prints all over the display case. The kid that posed the first question, raises its arm again. 'Yes?', you wonder amused, 'What's your name ?'. The whole group answers instead, 'Sidney!'. 'Yes, Sidney, what is it ?'  Again, the group turns quiet and Sidney continues, 'These large vertical signs, they look like a cartouche. Is this from a Pharaoh ?' To everyone's reassurance you can not suppress a smile. 'Sidney, that's is actually a good question. A cartouche, an oval with a horizontal line at one end, encloses a royal name and was used in Ancient Egypt.' The boys and girls look disappointed but turn their heads to the share certificate again when you proceed, 'But, as is the case with this Kawasaki share, a signature of a high official or very important person was often printed in such a vertical way.'

printed signature of Matsukata Kōjirō, president of Kawasaki Shipyard company
'Do you see these five large vertically written characters over here?', and with your light pen you point out the position on the share. 'The first two stand for Matsukata.' , 松方. Some children try to mumble the word. 'The last three are Kōjirō.', 幸次郎 . 'So from top to bottom you read Matsukata Kōjirō.', 松方幸次郎. 'Now repeat all together !' They all chant Matsukato Kōjirō in unison. 

'Matsukata Kōjirō was born in 1865, that's more than a 1,000 years ago, and he was the son of the Prime Minister of Japan. Kōjirō became president of the Kawasaki Shipyard Company in 1896.' 

'Was he rich ?', someone asks. 'Oh yes, his business was very successful for some time. Kōjirō also wanted to give something in return to the people in his country. With the fortune he accumulated, he bought lots of Western European and Japanese art and wanted to build an art museum. Unfortunately he died in 1950 before he could realize his dream. But soon large parts of his collection found a home in Japan's National Museum of Western Art in Ueno and the Tokyo National Museum.'

'I have another question', adds Sidney, 'My dad rides a Kawasaki motorbike, why don't we see a motorbike on the share ?'  Some kids nod, they obviously know Sidney's father. 'Great question Sidney.' The group is proud to have Sidney on board. 'You see, this share was issued in 1921', and you point out the date 大正拾年 on the Kawasaki share. 'In Japan, years were then expressed as the number of years in the reign of the emperor starting with 1. 大正 represents Emperor Taishō, 拾 stands for 10 and 年 is the word for year. Taishō's first year of reign is 1912. So the date we see here is 1912 + 10 -1 which results in 1921. Now, that was easy, isn't it ?'. Everyone in the group tries to convince one another that it was easy. So you continue, 'Kawasaki started producing motorcycles more than 30 years later; therefore we see no motorbike on the share. The first motorbikes were produced by Kawasaki's Aircraft Division. That's why the emblem's on their fuel tanks looked like the Kawasaki flag within a wing.'

Later at home, Sidney tells mom and dad about the museum visit. The child activates the home visualizer and downloads a virtual replica of the Kawasaki share. It rotates slowly in the air when Sidney walks around it. 'Omigosh!'  The floor lamp shines through the image and a large watermark becomes visible.

Reading from right to left the watermark of the Kawasaki share says 
壹拾  株券 : 1x10  share certificates
株式 會社 : Kabushiki Kaisya  = Co., Ltd.
川崎 造船所 Kawasaki Shipyard
In 1969 the Kawasaki Shipyard company merges with its earlier spin-offs, 
Kawasaki Rolling Stock Manufacturing and Kawasaki Aircraft, 
into Kawasaki Heavy Industries.


Related links

The Tokyo Motor Show 2013 featured the Kawasaki J Concept motorbike.
Image by Morio [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Friday, May 12, 2017

Spink auction includes historic London Underground share certificate

Spink announced details of their upcoming Bonds and Shares of the World sale. The auction will feature nearly 800 lots of world wide scripophily ranging from the 17th century till present. Several memorable items are awaiting a new owner such as this early London Underground stock certificate.

London's "underground" railway opened in 1863. It became the world's first metro system in 1890 when traffic started on its electrified underground line. In 2015 the Underground carried over 1.3 billion passengers serving 270 stations. The system counts over 400 escalators. It's longest continuous tunnel is 27.8 km long (East Finchley to Morden via Bank). Total length 402 km (250 miles).

London Underground share certificate 1912
The Underground Electric Railways Company of London Limited
certificate for "A" Ordinary shares, issued 1912
printed by Waterlow & Sons Ltd, London
double-click image to enlarge

In 1863 the Metropolitain Railway (MR) opened the world's first underground railway between Paddington and Farringdon Street. The world's first deep level electric railway was opened in 1890 by the City and South London Railway (C&SLR). It ran between Stockwell and King William and became known as the Tube.
The American financier Charles Tyson Yerkes (1837–1905) who also played a major role in developing Chicago's mass-transit systems formed in 1902 the Underground Electric Railway Company of London (UERCL)The UERCL, a holding company for underground lines, became known as the Underground Group.
There was another American banker that also tried to make its entrance into the London Underground field. John Pierpont Morgan (1837–1913) wanted to build the Piccadilly, City and North East London Railway, a competing subway. But Yerkes was able to prevent that.
Before World War I, except for the MR, mergers had brought all lines, including the C&SLR, under control of the Underground Group. In 1933 the London Passenger Transport Board took control of all the city's ground transport services. That incorporated both the Underground Group and the MR.
In the Second World War tube stations were used as air-raid shelters. The Central Line was even converted into a fighter aircraft factory with its own railway system. Stations like the Piccadilly line, Holborn - Aldwych branch, were closed to store the treasures of the British Museum. 
The London Passenger Transport Board was nationalised in 1948 and became the London Transport Executive.

Details of the auction
  • Dates: 19 May 2017
  • Location : London
  • More info : see here 

ps : The International Bond & Share Society has its scripophily bourse scheduled the next day in London. 

Suez Canal bond from 1885 showing map, sphinx and pyramids
Lot 58 in Spink's auction is a 500 Francs bond from the
Compagnie Universelle du Canal Maritime de Suez, dated 1885.
Engraved by Stern, Paris, the certificate shows a  bird's-eye view of the Suez Canal.
Click image to enlarge.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Archives International Auctions sale features legendary Hammond Organ Company

Deep Purple's Child in Time, Procul Harum's A Whiter Shade of Pale, Easy Livin' from Uriah Heep, and The Great Gig In The Sky written by Pink Floyd, all these songs have in common the greatest of all organs: a Hammond.

A specimen stock certificate from the legendary Hammond Organ Company is now to be auctioned in Archives International Auctions' upcoming sale (lot 605). AIA's 41th auction features nearly 1,100 U.S. & worldwide scripophily lots, largely from the American Banknote Company archives. Included as well are historic and security printing ephemera, and banknotes.

stock certificate from the Hammond Organ Company with stamp 'name changed to Hammond Corporation'

The company was organized in 1928 as the Hammond Clock Company by Laurens Hammond. Together with John M Hanert, Hammond invented an electromechanical pipeless organ. They sold it to churches as a lower-cost alternative to a wind-driven pipe organ. By means of an ingenious system of mechanically driven tone weels, electromagnetic pick-ups and drawbar controllers, a Hammond organ could create millions of potential sounds. Soon production rose to several hundreds per month. Automaker Henry Ford was one of Hammond's first customers. The company became the Hammond Instrument Company in 1937. Models equipped with bass pedals and harmonic percussion features were well received in small jazz bands.
In 1953 the company adopted the name Hammond Organ Company. The Hammond organ became even more popular when used with a Leslie speaker, a combined amplifier with rotating loudspeakers. Jazz virtuoso Jimmy Smith used the organ in new ways and became the star on stage like a modern guitar hero. In 1967, after the acquisition of glove manufacturer Wells Lamont, the parent company became the Hammond Corporation, and the Hammond Organ Company became its division. 

The sales' scripophily section features railroad, automobile and aviation certificates. More topics include banking & finance, brewery and alcohol related certificates, mining, utilities, navigation, sports, and state and municipal bonds of several countries.

Submarine Monitor Company of New York stock certificate, 1885
Submarine Monitor Company of New York
100 shares of $10, 1885
lot 626 in the auction

Auction details

  • Date : May 16, 2017
  • Place : Fort Lee, NJ 
  • Further info : see here, virtual catalogue see there and PDF version here 


Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Internet Scripophily Museum of Computing in the making

I've been blogging about computing before on this site. Click the label computers in the left margin to find some related content. There is so much to reveal on this field of scripophily. Yet, the nature of a "general" blog like this one doesn't lend itself very well for providing much information at one time. That is why I decided to set up a dedicated website.

Intel Corporation, specimen bond certificate from the 1980s
Intel Corporation, specimen bond from 1980
Intel is known as a maker of semiconductor chips and became famous 
for its microprocessors like the 8086, 80386, Pentium and Itanium. 
The organization also made early microcomputer kits and since the 1980s supercomputers.

The ISMOC project is about scripophily and computer history. ISMOC stands for Internet Scripophily Museum of Computing. That's right. I'm working on a virtual museum of historical securities from organizations involved in digital computers. Though still in an early stage, you can have a look there

So far the following entries have been put online :
  • organizations
    • Addressograph-Multigraph Corporation
    • Gould Inc.
    • Idaho Maryland Mines Corporation
    • International Business Machines Corporation (IBM)
    • PolyComputers Inc. 
  • people
    • Cary, Frank Taylor
    • Opel, John Roberts
    • Ylvisaker, William Townend
ISMOC has a Site History page informing about further developments. You can also follow along on Twitter, here.

Some concepts in scripophily can not be illustrated with a single image. Here is a video showing an Intel specimen bond and a production model for a stock certificate, both from the Security-Columbian US Banknote CorporationA specimen is a printed sample of the real thing. An example of that is shown at the right. The item on the left is a production model for a possible design of an Intel stock certificate. Designers of securities used to cut up portions of existing engraved items such as company logos, vignettes, scrollwork, borders, titles, corporate seals, text, et cetera.These items were then reapplied (pasted) in a different design, a new model. When the model was accepted, a proof, basically a printed prototype, could be printed.

In the video you will notice a transparant plastic overlay on the production model. That overlay also contains printing elements. In this case, it contains a standard 'CERTIFICATE OF STOCK' line. The overlay simulates the underprint for the main certificate text. In case the text changes, like in the case of a bond, only the overlay needed to be changed to 'REGISTERED'. 
At the end of the video, I focus on the facsimile signature of Intel's Chairman of the Board. Ever heard of Moore's law. Yep, that's the man. When working as R&D Director at Fairchild Semiconductor, Gordon Earle Moore observed that the number of electronic components in an integrated circuit would double every year. Later he revised the forecast to every two years. 

It will take me several years to complete the ISMOC project. Frankly I hope this turns out to be a neverending story. This is a scripophily venture that will take me on a worldwide journey through modern times. Will you join me on the ride once in a while ?


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Related links

Monday, April 17, 2017

HWPH auctions scripophily from Albert Pick

Das Historisches Wertpapierhaus (HWPH) offers over 2,400 lots of historic securities in two upcoming auctions. The sale includes a section of bond and share certificates, promissory notes and checks which were collected by numismatic pioneer Albert Pick (lots 896 through 927).

From the Albert Pick collection :
6% 100 soles government bond, 1875, Lima Peru
The sol was introduced in 1863 when Peru completed its decimalization.
It replaced the real at a rate of 1 sol = 10 reales.

Albert Pick (1922-2015) is the most famous numismatist in the field of banknotes. He started collecting banknotes as a child. In 1964 Pick had assembled 180,000 banknotes, a collection he gave to the Bayerische Hypotheken- und Wechselbank. In exchange for that, the bank appointed him curator of the collection. Since then, and having lots of material at his disposal, Pick started to write books and paper money catalogs. The first edition of his Standard Catalog of World Paper Money was published in 1975 and is used all over the world. It assigns every banknote issued the well-known 'Pick number'.

Auction details

  • Dates & location
    • HWPH Auction 45 (lots 1-927): 29 April 2017, Würzburg
    • HWPH Auction 46 (lots 928-2425): 1 May 2017, Internet only
  • More info 


Thursday, March 30, 2017

Spink US April 2017 auction

Spink US schedules its next Numismatic Collector's Series Sale next week. Amid hundreds of coins, medals, militaria and banknotes nearly forty lots of stocks and bonds are ready for a new keeper.

Now take auction lot 935 which consists of a scarce trio of Central Railroad Company of New Jersey bonds. Coxrail tells us that these types are not known as issued examples. The Central Railroad of New Jersey (CNJ) with origins in the 1830s became known after WW II as the Jersey Central Lines. Over the years, the business grew into a Class I railroad company. In 1911, when the Interstate Commerce Commission classed railroads by their annual gross revenue, Class I railroads had an annual operating revenue of at least $1 million. 

The Central Railroad Company of New Jersey $50,000 General Mortgage 4% 100 Year Gold Bond specimen printed by American Banknote Company
The Central Railroad Company of New Jersey
$50,000 General Mortgage 4% 100 Year Gold Bond, 1887
specimen printed by American Banknote Company
part of lot 935 in the auction
click image to enlarge

In 1929 CNJ introduced The Blue Comet, a train designed to provide passengers with a luxurious accomodation and service. Capable of doing 100 miles per hour, this train catapulted its passengers from Jersey City to Atlantic City in three hours. A frequent rider of the Blue Comet was toy manufacturer Joshua Lionel Cowen. Admiring the train's elegance, beauty, speed and power, Lionel offered a popular standard gauge model of the train in 1930.

Details of the auction
  • Dates: 4 & 5 April 2017
  • Location : New York
  • More info : see here