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