Monday, November 26, 2018

Archives International Auctions reaches exciting milestone

Archives International Auctions (AIA) has something to celebrate! To mark their 50th auction anniversary, Bob Schwartz, President of AIA, and his dedicated team is holding a two-day sale of rare and captivating banknotes, scripophily, autographs and historic ephemera.

The event happens on 3 Dec at the Collectors Club, 22 East 35th Street, New York City, and 4 Dec at the company offices, Fort Lee, New Jersey. Scripophily collectors and enthusiasts will see over five hundred lots of antique bonds and shares going on the block. Several of these originate from the John E. Herzog Collection.

Wells Fargo Mining Co. stock certificate from 1876, designed by Grafton Tyler Brown (1841-1918). 
Lithographer Brown was the first African American artist depicting the Far West. His work has been displayed in several exhibitions at the Oakland Museum, Walters Art Museum Baltimore, the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Bids on this authentic financial artwork from California are welcomed from US$650. Lot 56 in the auction. 

American scripophily is more than substantially present in this auction. Some of the highlights :
  • L(ot)1, a 1795 Philadelphia and Lancaster Turnpike share signed by William Bingham is the opener of the sale. 
  • Geyser "Old Faithul" can be admired on a Yellowstone Park Association share from 1887, L59. 
  • L62 comprises of a spectacular specimen share and bond, 1865, from The Norfolk and St. Nazaire Steam Navigation Company. Included is a mockup and the orginal artwork of the vignettes, a steamship between globes. Bids invited from $325. 
  • Historic, L108, a $20 bond from 1898 issued to finance the Spanish American War including the purchase of the Philippine Islands from Spain, is expected to realize at least $8,000.  
  • Aviation history can be found in L792, share number 1 in the Aviation Corporation of America, a Pan Am predecessor. 

A game changer in technology, Thomas Edison signed this Edison Phonographs stock certificate from the Roaring Twenties. This rarity, L114 in the auction, can possibly be purchased from $500 onwards. 

AIA's anniversary sale includes exceptional items from the John E. Herzog Collection. Mr. Herzog started collecting in the late 1950s. After being active in the stockbroking business, he became Chairman of the R. M. Smythe & Co. numismatic auction company. John Herzog is also the founder of the Museum of American Finance. Here are some of the many Herzog items featured in the sale :
  • An early and scarce Havana Railroads Company bond from 1850, L23, will interest collectors of Cuban scripophily. 
  • L7, and L775 through L778 are early Amercan stock options (rights to buy or sell at a specified price), e.g. L776, a 1880 option for selling 100 Pacific Mail Steamship shares, signed by financier and railroad executive Russel Sage.
  • Suffragist and abolitionist Lucy Stone (1818-1893) signed the Providence and Worcester Railroad Co share, see L780. 

From the Herzog Collection : Dominion of Canada "Fourth War Loan" of 1917, specimen bond, printed by the American  Bank Note Co., Ottawa, vignettes of King George V and Queen Mary of Teck,  L16 

Museum-caliber scripophily from the 18th century makes this an outstanding AIA sale. These 'Pirates of the Caribbean'-era certificates are rare, historic and often produced as copper engravings on vellum with paper seals. Several lots in this auction segment also originate from the Herzog Collection :
  • The Danish West Indies was a Danish colony in the Caribbean, consisting of the islands of Saint Thomas, Saint John and Saint Croix. From 1778, a bond from the Royal Danish West Indian Company with large vignette of Neptune, Mercury and the Royal Standard of Denmark, is estimated between $400-800. L25 in the auction.
  • L27, a share in the Compagnie des Fosses a Charbon de Monsieur Le Marquies de Traisnel, one of the earliest French coal mining companies, dates from 1781 and bears the coat of arms of the Marquess.
  • The Svenska Ostindiska Companiet, the Swedish East-India Company, traded Swedish steel and timber for tea and porcelain from the Far East. With the American Revolutionay War, when France, the Dutch Republic and Spain joined forces against Britain and blocked trading from China, the company briefly became one of the only suppliers of tea in Europe. A bond from 1782, L47, starts at $425.

Bidding on this spectacular share from the Real Compañia de San Fernando de Sevilla, ca 1748, L43 in the auction, starts from $1,500. This Spanish company controlled the trade, especially in precious metals, with various parts from South America. The share has an engraved view of the city of Seville, but there is much more to discover: click the image to enlarge. 

Besides the fact that scripophily from many countries is represented, auctioneer Bob Schwartz also points out the rich assortment from Mexico :
This is one of the largest offerings of specimen and issued scripophily bonds and shares from Mexico that we have offered ever in auction. It includes items from a serious Western collector as well as specimens never offered previously from the ABN Archives.
Aquí algunos ejemplos
  • At the end of the 19th century, the Compañia Limitada de Ferrocarriles del Distrito operated a large part of the Mexico City street railway network. L906, a 100 Pesos specimen stock from the 1880s, large vignette of horse-powered street railway in front of the Metropolitan Cathedral, accepts bidding from $150.
  • L893 Banco de Nuevo Leon, Monterrey, extremeley rare specimen share from 1900
  • L931 República Mexicana, Bono Hipotecario del Ferrocarril Nacional de Tehuantepec, £200 Sterling=4080 German Reichsmark, 1890 specimen bond, $280 start price

The Banco Internacional é Hipotecario de Mexico was founded in 1882. This 6% specimen bond for 100 Mexican Dollars, 1905, scarce, starts at $325. L899 in the auction. 

Another theme from the sale that deserves attention is Mandatory Palestine. You can find most of these certificates in lot range 943-969, e.g. L968, a Solelboneh (Jewish Workers Cooperative Association) share issued in 1925 with a strong Art Deco design.

"Palestine Foundation Fund, Keren Hayesod Sacrifice Bond, for the upbuilding of Palestine as a homeland for the Jewish People ...To the investor, it (the investment) will yield no return in money .." 
Established in 1920 Keren Hayesod is the official fundraising organization for Israel. With donations raised throughout the world, it brought tens of thousands of Jews fleeing Europe to Eretz Yisrael. This 1922 specimen bond shows a vignette of Theodore Herzl, who promoted Jewish immigration to Palestine to form a Jewish state. Historic and very rare, L32, starts at $800. 

AIA has always been a strong auctioneer in US Railway stocks and bonds, many of these originating from the American Bank Notes Archives. This sale continues tradition, just get a look online on these pearls :

  • A great setting of steamboats, ferries and sailboats sailing under the Brooklyn Bridge is shown on a Union Elevated Railroad Company of Brooklyn specimen bond from 1887. L67 is estimated around $700-1,200, bidding can start at $575. No sales recorded for over 10 years on Coxrail.
  • Issued in 1844 is L73, a very rare stock certificate from the Danville & Pottsville Railroad Company with vignettes of Benjamin Franklin and Stephen Girard, probably the only one known.
  • Starting at $120, a $1000 specimen bond from The Saint Paul Minneapolis and Manitoba Railway Company, Montana Extension, will certainly interest Montana collectors. L1093.

Texas and Pacific Railway Company $1000 specimen bond, 1888, with stunning graphics. 
Click image to enlarge. L64 in the sale starts at $425. 

Of course, there is much more to tell about this auction, but the most interesting way is to see for yourself. So here are the auction details :

  • Dates & locations
    • December 3, 2018, Collectors Club, 22 East 35th Street, New York City 
    • December 4, 2018, Archives International Auctions, Fort Lee, New Jersey 
  • Further info : see here , live and absentee bidding here and a downloadable PDF catalogue there 


Monday, November 19, 2018

Incorporated in Southern Rhodesia

Who knows about a country called Southern Rhodesia? The name appears on two revenue stamps that were put on top of a share in the Rhodesia Tea Estates Limited.

It was Cecil Rhodes (1853–1902), founder of the De Beers diamond mining company, who gave his name to Rhodesia, an area equal to modern Zimbabwe and Zambia. Rhodes' British South Africa Company began exploitation of the Rhodesian territory in the 1890s with the help of paramilitary forces. In 1923 the southern part became the Colony of Southern Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe. The northern part became in the following year the Protectorate of Northern Rhodesia, Zambia today.

Southern Rhodesia revenue stamps with the colony's coat of arms (detail from the share below) 
The shield of Southern Rhodesia features a lion and two thistles, taken from the family arms of Cecil Rhodes who gave his name to Rhodesia. Click the image to enlarge it, the Rhodes' lion is located above the mining pick, somewhat hidden under the ink stamp. 

It was in 1924 that tea was first planted commercially in the country. At that time Arthur Ward and Grafton Philips decided to start a tea plantation in the Chipinge district of Zimbabwe's Eastern Highlands. Mrs Florence Philips had brought tea seeds from Assam. None of them had an idea how much rain fell in the area. Meteorological records were unexisting. 

The next year it became clear that the rainfall was much below the required 1270 mm per year. Ward and Phillips decided to experiment with irrigating their plantation with water from the Tanganda River which flowed through their estate. The experiment was successful and marked the beginning of Tanganda tea production. Ward and Phillips (Pty) Ltd was established in 1930 and cultivated 3.5 hectares of tea. The Meikles family, owners of the Meikles Hotel in Harare, also got involved with the business which expanded into the Rhodesia Tea Estates Limited.

The Rhodesia Tea Estates Limited with registered office in Umtali (Mutare), is known today as the Tanganda Tea Company, a subsidiary of Meikles Ltd

In 1953 Great Britain united Northern and Southern Rhodesia with Nyasaland into the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, much against the will of the people in the three territories. A few hundred thousands Europeans, mainly living in Southern Rhodesia and owning most of the land, ruled now over millions of Africans who wanted universal suffrage, land ownership and better wages. The federation lasted for 10 years. 

In 1964 Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland became independent under the names Zambia and Malawi. Southern Rhodesia unilaterally declared independence as the state of Rhodesia in 1965. Yet, its white minority still refused to bring in majority rule. Opposing nationalist groups started a guerilla war and were supported by foreign countries. The war lasted till the end of 1979. The next year, the country became the Republic of Zimbabwe in 1980 and was governed by a black African majority.

The Rhodesia Tea Estates share was issued only a few months before the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland fell apart at the end of 1963.  

The Tanganda Tea Company, formerly the Rhodesia Tea Estates Limited, established the Avontuur/Petronella tea estate in 1990. The last previous estate, Jersey and Zona, dated from 1944. The company's production has risen to about 10,000 tons of tea per year, about 50% of Zimbabwe's tea output. Major company brands include, Tanganda, Stella, Silver, Joko, Tanganda Special Blend, Tanganda Tips, Fresh Leaves, Tanganda Healthi Green, Nella Rooibos bags and Natra Fresh Rooibos. 


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