Saturday, October 27, 2018

Archives International Auctions goes for a Rat Trick

AIA presents over 500 lots of historical stocks and bonds in a double sesssion auction. The sale takes place at Fort Lee, New Jersey, on 1 November 2018. At stake are fascinating securities that will interest both international and US regional collectors. Some examples from the catalogue :

  • L(ot) 117 Chinese Government 23rd Year (1934)  6% Sterling Indemnity Loan £1000 bond (note £1000 -not £100 as mentioned in the catalogue)
  • L271 Durant Motor Company of California, 1920s
  • L371 The New York Times Company, 1985
  • L391 The Crusader Films Corporation of America, 1920!, pair of stock certificates
  • L433 Banco de Concepcion, Chile, 1880s, great vignettes
  • L450 City of Marseilles, France, 1919
  • L540 Neptune Mining Company, Connecticut, 1880
  • L582 Talladega and Coosa Valley Railroad Company, 1889
  • L614 Gary Street Railway Co, 1917
  • L739 City of Chicago, Cook County, 1933

Among the many certificates is an incredible stock from the Florida Panters Holdings, Inc.

Lot 734 in the auction : Florida Panthers Holdings, Inc.
1996, specimen stock from the American Bank Note Archives, uncirculated
facsimile signature of Harry Wayne Huizinga Sr  

It was Florida Panther player Scott Mellanby who made the first "Rat Trick". The term, a wordplay on "Hat Trick" (scoring three times in a game), was coined by goaltender John Vanbiesbrouck. Before the game against the Calgary Flames on Oct 8, 1995, Mellanby "one-timed" a rat, astray in the locker room, against the wall with his stick and killed it. That evening Mellanby scored two goals with the same stick, a "Rat Trick".
The Florida Panthers were formed in 1992 after the National Hockey League awarded entrepreneur Harry Wayne Huizinga Sr the franchise for a hockey team in the Miami metropolitan area. Huizinga took the Florida Panthers Holdings public in 1996 seeking funds to pay debts and cover losses. He fostered fan ownership and offered 4.6 million shares at $10 per share. Huizinga retained a 51% ownership but would later sell the team.
In the Panther's 1995-1996 season, fans picked up Mellanby's rat trick. Some started threwing rubber rats on the ice in celebration of a goal. The number of rats thrown went to over a few thousands per game during the 1996 playoffs. The Panthers made then their first-ever appearance in the Stanley Cup Final against the winning Colorado Avalanche team. 
After that season the NHL amended its rules : if fans throw debris or rubber rats onto the ice, the referee can eventually issue a penalty to the home team. However, tossing hats onto the ice following a special occasion, e.g. a hat trick goal, was exempted from the rule.

Along with antique stocks and bonds AIA's Fall Sale 6 presents 
hundreds of US, Chinese & Worldwide banknotes and related financial ephemera 

Auction details
  • Location : Fort Lee, New Jersey
  • Date : 1 November 2018
  • Further info : see AIA , online catalogue here and PDF version there 


Sunday, October 21, 2018

Historic figures and Rumanians star in Boone's next auction of antique securities

Boone's 61th Auction of shares and bonds features more than 1600 lots covering about all fields of scripophily interest. The sale catalogue is available online and as an offline PDF document. Nearly all of its 200 pages include color images and background stories of the certificates to be sold. For easy retrieval purposes, search indexes help the collector on his quest for engravers, artists, security printers, Belgian provinces, more than 80 countries and an equal number of special interest themes. 

I noted several certificates signed by or issued to historic figures in the Autographs index. Here are some dazzling names. The Great Britain section begins with a royal series of financial documents : King Charles I, 1632, L(ot) 521, Queen Anne, 1713, L523, King George I, 1723, L524, King George II, 1745, L525 and King George III, 1790, L526. All, unique, representing the Early Modern Britain period, welcome bids from €2000.

Compagnie Universelle du Canal Maritime de Suez 
Dividend share, 1884, Paris, signed as Director by (Ferdinand) V(icomte ) de Lesseps 
Hercule Catenacci designed the share with pharaonic motifs and Egyptian street views. 
click image to enlarge 

Few personalities have made such an impact on global trade as Ferdinand de Lesseps. Right at the outset of the Second Industrial Revolution, de Lesseps' Suez Canal opened in 1869. Combined with the American transcontinental railroad, it allowed the world to be circled in record time. L182, a dividend share in the Compagnie Universelle du Canal Maritime de Suez, 1884, is the only known scripophily with an original autograph de Lesseps. Start price €2000. 

From 1839, a share in the Moulins à Vapeur de Sclessin, a steam-powered grain mill, L218, is issued to industrialist John Cockerill from Lancashire. Cockerill is considered the founder of the Belgian manufacturing industry. Surprisingly, bidding on this extremely rare and one of the most important Belgian scripophily objects can start as low as €800. 

Of course, the Americans are also part of the show. Bidding can start at €500 for an Oroya Leonesa Ltd gold mine share, L1133, signed by Herbert C. Hoover, 31st President of the US. You can find John Paul Getty and George F. Getty II on a duo lot, L1275, comprising a Mission Development stock and a pay roll check. A Northern Pacific Railroad Company share, L1195, signed on the back transfer note by John Pierpont Morgan may be acquired from €100.

Another stunning signature certificate from the Neamul Romanesc Societate Cooperativa, a company formed for the commerce and industry of printing, packaging and publishing. The company printed its own shares. This one, dated 1908, is signed by historian, playwright and Prime Minister of Rumania (1931-32) Nicolae IorgaA commando of the fascist Iron Guard party assassinated "the greatest-ever mind in Rumania" in 1940. Lot 1591 in the auction. 

The Nicolae Iorga share, L1591, is one of an exciting group of about 360 rare, historic and superbly designed bonds and shares from Rumania. In pole position here is a bond of 100 Austrian Ducats issued by the Principality of Wallachia in 1834. Twenty-five years later, Wallachia would form together with Moldavia the State of Romania in 1859. The certificate, L1281, can find a new owner from €1400.

The Banca "Oborul" is named after the Obor district in Bucharest. Its 50 Lei  share, Art Nouveau style, starts at €200. L1403  

Art Nouveau became also in Rumania a popular style around the 1900s. Decorative elements, inspired by natural forms and the curved lines of plants, found its way on many gorgious security designs like those of the Creditul International, L1410, Banca Grivita, L1406 and Bukowinaer Landesbank, L1390.

This share in the Allgemeine Versicherungsbank Transsylvania A.G. was issued on Jun 21, 1918, only a few months before Transylvania, also known as Siebenbürgen, became a part of Rumania Dec 1, 1918. Illustrated are the arms of the seven provinces of Transylvania. L1420, €100 

The Rumanian sales section consists of the following subsections, between parentheses the number of lots is mentioned to illustrate the extraordinary range of scripophily : State & City Bonds (36), Railroads (27), Oil (23), Banking (138), Various Industries (135).

Soviet related scripophily can often be fascinating. At the end of WW II, the country was occupied by Soviet troops. In Feb 1946, the Uzinelle Metallurgice "Vulcan" issued new shares. In the same year the Communists organized and "won" the elections in Rumania. The company recovered from the war and already at the end of the decade production increased quickly. L1639 contains a duo of these 1946 issued "Soviet" shares and starts at €60.

The Romania Carbonifera certificate for 10 shares of 500 Lei was issued in 1920. Click the image to enlarge and admire the drawing of coalminers at work. L1556, €100 

On top of what has been discussed so far, another 1200 scripophily lots, 1639 in total, will be part of the sale. A few of the many worth looking at :

  • L118 Kathiawar Industries, India
  • L132 Manufactures Indochinoises de Cigarettes, Indochina
  • L150 Nanyo Yashi KK, Southern Coco-Nut Estate & Trading Co, Japan
  • L240 Expedition Antarctique Belge, Belgium
  • L472 Baden-Baden Co Ltd, Germany
  • L580 Agricultural and Commercial Bank of Ireland
  • L793 First Society of Silkworm Breeders in Kutaisi Government, Russia
  • L861 Stora Kopparbergs Läns Och Bergslags Enskilde Bank-Bolag, Sweden
  • L902 Ottoman National Economic Joint Stock Company of Konya, Turkey
  • L1075 Cardenas Sabanilla Petroleum, Cuba

One of the French top pieces in the sale, this 100 Francs share in the Société de Constructions de Levallois-Perret, a successor to the Compagnie des Etablissements Eiffel, was issued in 1939 but printed in the 1890s. Only a handful known, this historic piece may be acquired from €1200. L456 in the auction. 

There is lots more to discover from other countries and all kinds of collecting themes in this auction. The day after the sale, Mario Boone organizes his regular scripophily bourse internationally attended by dealers and visitors.

Auction details

  • Location : Antwerpen, Belgium
  • Date : auction 27 October 2018, bourse 28 October 2018
  • Further info : online catalogue  here, and PDF version there 


PS : You can find out more about the Americal railroads in the auction in this preview from Coxrail

Thursday, October 18, 2018

French scripophily terms 2.0

Do you agree that France is the nation that has left us the most decorative bond and share certificates  ? If you know a little French, it is often possible to derive from the lettering on those certificates what the issuing companies were all about. 

Actually, we can find bonds and shares from all over the world with text written in French. Besides France, some of the better known examples of French speaking countries are Canada, Switzerland, Belgium and Luxembourg. 

Let's spin a globe and pick a spot. There is a good chance we know "French" scripophily from a country marked by our finger, such as : Madagascar, Vietnam, New Caledonia and Guadeloupe. In fact, every continent has some states with bonds and shares written in French. Then there are also the many French language certificates issued by companies operating abroad, many of these were Belgian. We find actions de capital and parts de fondateur in Russia, Egypt, China, Ottoman Empire, Spain, Brazil, and again, much more. 

One of the readers of the blog, came across the 100 French Scripophily terms on this site and suggested some extra entries for it. Wonderful, thank you for that. You can check out the enhanced list here.

Here is a little test to help you sharpen your French skills. Try to find the meaning of following terms printed on the illustrated share below :
  • magasin
  • bois
  • scieries
  • société anonyme
  • capital social
  • part de fondateur
  • sans désignation de valeur
  • administrateur
Of course, you can use the 100 French Scripophily terms cheat sheet.

Click the image of this Belgian share to enlarge. 
Can you locate the French terms from the little test ? 

Test passed ? You will see that exercising your French scripophily skills will not only keep your mind sharp, but it will also prove to be useful soon :
  • the upcoming Boone auction features hundreds of French scripophily certificates, and, 
  • rumor has it that a new, free scripophily newsletter, in French, is born, but more on that in the next issue of Scripophily magazine and in a later blog post. 


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Wednesday, October 10, 2018

SPINK to sell New Zealand stock at online auction

SPINK's next scripophily auction is set for October 17, 2018. This online sale counts about 500 lots of antique bonds and shares from the UK, Russia, China, Mexico, Egypt, USA and many more states. The auction starts with an important range of New Zealand scripophily.

share from the Land and Loan Company of New Zealand, 1884

The Land & Loan Company of New Zealand Limited provided credit for farmers and traders in wool and frozen sheep meat. Meat and dairy exports to Britain would form the basis for economic growth in New Zealand. Bids for this rare 1884 share, lot 15 in the auction, can start at £60. 

detail from a share in the Land & Loan Company of New Zealand comparing vignettte and embossed company seal

Detail from the Land & Loan Company of New Zealand certificate above. 
The vignette illustrates the company seal showing a ship and sheep. The vignette's design is skillfully repeated in the company's embossed seal. 
Click image to enlarge. 

Bonds and shares from New Zealand are hardly seen at auctions. SPINK included this time more than sixty lots. Among the highlights you can find a share from the Dunedin Stock Exchange, L(ot) 13. The New Zealand Times Company share, L18 in the auction, issued in Wellington, 1900, may be purchased from £120. Some certificates show a Māori vignette, such as L39 and L40, two different types from The London & New Zealand Exploration Company, but also on a Taitapu Gold Estates certificate from 1899, L54.

early share in the Timaru Landing and Shipping Company, 1868

From Timaru, located on New Zealand's South Island, this £10 share in the Timaru Landing and Shipping (Limited), L57, was issued in 1868. Equally rare and early, it is estimated at £120-150. 

The Far East section contains mainly lots from China. An uncancelled Shanghai Power Company share, L139, printed by American Bank Note Co, with text in Chinese and English, starts from £180. L141 is a 200 silver dollar share in the Tai Seng Opium Firm from Macau, dated 1918. £400 may buy you this extraordinary topic in scripophily. The section counts many Chinese government loans offered either in group lots or as a single item such as a 1912 5% Gold 'Crisp' Loan, bond for £1000, L99.

share certificate from The Shanghai Land Investment Company with Chinese drawing

L137, two shares from the Shanghai Land Investment Company, incorporated in Hong Kong, show a Chinese workman painting a house at the top of a ladder. Both certificates, signed by philantropist Sir Horace Kadoorie, can be acquired from £80. 

Some twenty lots of African company securities are next, often richly decorated, e.g. L170 Compagnie Impériale des Chemins de Fer Éthiopiens,  L172 Compagnie Générale de l'Afrique Française, French Congo, L174 Charterland Goldfields Limited, Rhodesia.

share from The Ottoman Company Limited with vignette of Ottoman merchant and dromedary

The Ottoman Company Limited, formed in 1865 to finance the Bank of Turkey, failed the following year as a result of the Panic of 1866. Its £20 share, 1865, printed by Bradbury, Wilkinson & Co, has one of the finest engravings in scripophily. L159, in the auction, estimated at £50-60.

Great Britain contains over 50 lots including several pre-Irish independence ones. L253, The Derby Canal Company share, printed on vellum, with waxed paper seal and rare, was issued in 1793.  L269, a trio, contains a share in The Atlantic Royal Mail Steam Navigation Co Ltd, 1860, wonderful vignette of a paddle steamer and issued to "The Most Honorable The Marquis of Clanricarde of Portumna Castle County Galway" (sic). Another share, from The Boy Messengers and Electric Call Company, L273, is signed by Patrick Bowes-Lyon, uncle of Elizabeth the Queen Mother, who won the mens doubles Wimbledon championship in 1887. Modestly estimated at £40-50.

share from The Navan & Kingscourt Railway Company

The Navan and Kingscourt Railway Company opened the section that connected the Irish towns of Kingscourt and Navan in 1875, at that time still part of Great Britain. This £10 share, issued 1871, Dublin, is part of a trio, L297 in the auction. 

The sale covers many other European countries. E.g. collectors of 18th century securities will be impressed by the caligraphy and the fine printing of the company seal on a Canal de Richelieu share from 1753, L206, bids welcomed from £200 onwards. Lots of Art Nouveau, Jugendstil and Belle Époque material ready for the block, such as a Théatre-Concert du Moulin-Rouge share from 1904, with the famous windmill logo's inclusive, £80, L220.

vignette of sailing ship on Confederate States of America Treasury Note

The SPINK auction features scripophily from the Confederate States of America as well. This $100,000 5% treasury note, was issued in the last months of the American Civil War on February 1, 1864, Richmond. Click the image and see the enlarged sailing ship vignette. L381, estimated £120 to £150. 

Matching time zones, scripophily from The Americas tops off the sale with over 150 lots. Bidding can start at £140 for an extremely early Peruvian Treasury Loan issued during the Peru's fight for independence from Spain, L368. A specimen share from the Canadian Western Lumber Company, with felled timber in the vignette, was printed circa 1910 by Waterlow & Sons, L358. Catalogued on as LAC-360-B-30, the only one known, L422, a $1000 bond in the Lackawanna and Bloomsburg Rail-Road Company, 1855, can possibly be snapped up for £80.

Banco de Buenos Aires share with large underprint scene

Banco de Buenos Aires, share of 10 Pesos, 1911, with a nowadays controversial but mega underprint scene of natives listening to a conquistador with priest. L346 in the auction. 

You can find more of these fascinating stocks and bonds in the SPINK online catalogue. Here are the auction details :

  • date : 17 October 2018, 11:00 AM
  • location : online auction
  • online catalogue and further info, see here  


Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Gold mining and lots more at Gallica

Gallica is the digital, online library of the Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF). Users can query over 4 million documents, about 2 million newspapers and magazines, half a million books, and a tremendous amount of other digitized objects. You are correct, Gallica provides access to interesting material for scripophily detectives like you.

For instance, pay attention gold mine collectors, here is a link to a digital version of the Annuaire des mines d'or, Afrique du Sud, Australie, Amérique, Europe. This investment manual was published in 1896 by Annuaire de la finance (Paris). The book counts more than 200 pages and briefly describes hundreds of gold mining companies operating all over the world.

One of the companies mentioned in the book is The New Chimes Gold Mining Company, Limited. The book tells us that this company was registered in 1890, Natal, South Africa. The purpose of the company was the exploitation of 27 mining claims at Benoni Farm, Heidelberg districht, Witwatersrand.

share in The New Chimes Gold Mining Company (South Africa)

The New Chimes Gold Mining Company, Limited 
Shares of £1, issued London, 1895 
click to enlarge image 

Melanie de Bussière Comtesse Edmond de Pourtalès (1836-1914), one of the most famed salonniéres during the Second French Empire, subscribed to the illustrated share in the New Chimes Gold Mining Company on 30 Oct 1895. She was appointed lady-in-waiting to empress Eugénie de Montijo, wife of Napoleon III. From her father, Melanie inherited the Château de Pourtalès where she received important guests like George V King of the United Kingdom and Albert Schweitzer.

Our Gallica book reports that The New Chimes Gold Mining Company was successful and paid out a 55% dividend in 1895. No doubt, Melanie invested wisely, but back then there were no social media that unveiled the poor working conditions of the miners.

Besides reference books, you can search Gallica for other objects such as letters, patents, and maps. Let's try if we can find a map of the area where the New Chimes Gold Mining claims were located. I used the French terms "mines d'or afrique du sud" (gold mines South Africa). There it was, a nice map of the region from that period.

Map of the gold mines of Witwatersrand from 1895

Map of the gold mines of Witwatersrand in the districts of Pretoria, Heidelberg, Potchefstroom (Transvaal) 
with indication of the orientation and position of the gold veins, 1895.
click image to enlarge
source: / Bibliothèque nationale de France

That's nice. Over 130,000 maps can be viewed on Gallica. What about our shareholder ? The magic key words for Gallica's search engine here are : Melanie de Bussière Comtesse Edmond de Pourtalès ..  et voilà !

portrait Melanie de Bussière Comtesse Edmond de Pourtalès

Melanie de Bussière Comtesse Edmond de Pourtalès 
source Bibliothèque nationale et universitaire de Strasbourg 

As you see, Gallica is a great place for your scripophily research, e.g. the keyword Siemens or Hispano-Suiza yield hundreds of results. And in case you need some French key words,  here is a reference list of 100 French scripophily terms.