Saturday, April 27, 2019

Historisches Wertpapierhaus AG surprises with top-notch scripophily auctions

When it comes to antique stock and bond certificates Historisches Wertpapierhaus AG (HWPH) is a major player in the field. Manager Matthias Schmitt and his dedicated team bring us next weekend a double-session sale. About 2200 lots of scripophily and related documents will go on the block.

Club de Regatas do Flamengo, Titulo de Sócio Patrimonial, 1966, L(ot) 618, €120 start price
"Flamengo" is a Rio de Janeiro sports club best known for their football team. The share shows 18 different vignettes of sports and is one of several in the sale that were issued by famous football teams (lot 615 through 630). 

The first sale is a live auction at Würzburg, Germany, on the 4th of May 2019, followed two days later by an online auction. Both sales offer together nearly 2200 lots of historic and beautiful antique stocks and bonds from all continents.

The 13th-18th century section deserves special attention. It includes about 50 lots of historic and museum-caliber securities. One of these is a founder's share in the Iron Bridge Company "for Building a Bridge across the River Severn" from 1777. This company marks the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. Its amazing and extremely rare share starts at €22000, L635 in the auction. 
Another highlight is a Bank of Alexandria share from 1796. It is issued to George Washington, first president of the United States of America. Only one known, in other words unique, L672 starts from €15000.
Top item in the sale is a 500 Flemish Pounds bond from the Dutch East India Company (VOC), dated 1623, see next image!

The Dutch East India Company (in Dutch : Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie or VOC) was established in 1602 for the purpose of trade, exploration and colonization. The VOC was involved in shipbuilding, production and trade of East Indian spices, sugarcane from Formosa, wine from South Africa and lots more. In some parts of the world, the VOC produced its own gunpowder like in its refinery at Chhapra, West Bengal, where it processed saltpeter from Patna. The company became one of the first globally operating corprorations. In its overseas colonies, the VOC had governmental powers, including the ability to wage war, imprison and execute convicts and strike its own coins. It was the first corporation to be listed on an official stock exchange. L632 in the auction is expected to realize at least €30000.

Collectors of Chinese government securities will notice several specimen bonds previously unseen before. HWPH tells more about these in an in-depth article in Scripozine.

The auctioneer provides four downloadable PDF catalogues with extensive descriptions, available for free (see links further below):
  • 50 Highlights
  • 52nd Auction (Public)
  • 53rd Auction (Online)
  • Russia and former USSR

The latter presents all Russia-related lots in the Russian language.
Remote bidding is also possiblie through where the auctioneer listed each lot with corresponding images. Here are some more examples of highly remarkable scripophily.

This bilingual Russian-English specimen bond from the State Bank of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics dates from 1927. Also known as Gosbank this state bank was for about half a century the only bank in the USSR. L746 in the sale starts at €250

Great Cariboo Gold Company, share, issued by the Standard Finance Company, New York City, 1905. 
Registered in South Dakota, USA, the mines were located in British Columbia, Canada. Fabulous design of gold mining scenes and eight nuggets printed in gold colour. This certificate is the only survived example known. L636, €2000 start price 

Gewerkschaft des Steinkohlenbergwerks Lippermulde, coal mine, Hamborn am Rhein, 1923
Rare, this Kuxschein (mining shares certificate), is issued to industrialist August Thyssen, signed by him and Julius Thyssen, transferred on the back to August's son Heinrich, and signed on the back by Fritz Thyssen and again by Julius Thyssen. Bidding on L639 is invited from €2500 

You can find more of these fascinating stocks and bonds in HWPH's sale catalogues. Here are the auction details :
  • Dates
    • 4 May 2019, Würzburg, Germany, public auction
    • 6 May 2019, online auction
  • Further info and downloadable PDF's, see here on HWPH


Tuesday, April 23, 2019

The Taylor and Sanderson Steam Shipping Company

In North East England, at the mouth of the River Wear, lies the city of Sunderland. Since mediaval times the city grew as a port, trading coal and salt, and a place where ships were built. Once called the "Largest Shipbuilding Town in the World", Sunderland was also home to Short Brothers Limited. This shipbuilding company built several steel screw steamers for another Sunderland company, The Taylor and Sanderson Steam Shipping Company Limited (T&S). 

John Wallace Taylor and John Sanderson established Taylor & Sanderson in 1877. Incorporated in 1899 as The Taylor & Sanderson Steam Shipping Company, Limited, the company exported coal with its own ships. Several of its vessels, built by Short Brothers, awaited a remarkable fate. 

The Thornhill, a steel screw steamer, was built in 1897 by Short Brothers for T&S. On 16 April 1907, the general cargo vessel caught fire. It sank about 800 miles of Barbados on passage New York for Pernambuco, Brazil.

Short Brothers completed the Coronation for T&S in 1903. On 12 January 1913, the ship made the passage Bremen for Sunderland in balast (without any cargo but with containers filled with sea water for stability). Close to its home port, it was wrecked at Ravenscar, North Yorkshire. The salvaged ship was sold to F W Horlock & Co.

August 1914, the Coronation, renamed Coralie Horlock, was captured at Hamburg. In 1917 she became a part of the Imperial German Navy where she served as a transport vessel and as a submarine target !

The Coronation survived World War I and was sold again, this time to a Spanish company. On passage Genoa for Barcelona, in ballast, there was a bunker explosion. Two days later on 6 June 1921 the ship sank in Cavalaire Bay, France. 

The Taylor & Sanderson Steam Shipping Co. Limited 
Ordinary shares of £5, 1913 
The company went into liquidation in 1917. 

The Wallace was another steel screw steamer that was constructed by Short Brothers in 1905 for T&S. Possibly named for John Wallace Taylor, managing director of T&S, the vessel was requisitioned by the Admiralty for service as a collier, a bulk cargo ship which carried coal. Sold in 1917 when T&S went into liquidation.

detail from the Taylor & Sanderson Steam Shipping Company share certificate
signatures from John Wallace Taylor and John Wallace Taylor Jr as Directors of the company 
John Wallace Taylor (1834-1927) was a member of the River Wear Commission. One of the stained-glass windows in St John's Methodist Church, Sunderland, is dedicated to him. His second son, Frederick William Taylor was a director of Sunderland Association Football Club. 

Short Brothers built two ships for T&S in 1905. Besides the Wallace, there was the Alexandra. First sold in 1916 and 1920 to British companies, it found a new owner from Norway in 1924. A/S Inger, Bergen, renamed the Alexandra into the Ingerfire. On 11 April 1943, in the middle of World War II, the ship, on passage Barrow for Halifax in ballast, was torpedoed by a German submarine U-571 in 51.29N - 42.59W, far away from any port as you can see here

The ships mentioned in this post were all general cargo steal screw steamers that were built by Short Brothers Ltd. Their sizes were more or less the same with these average dimensions : 355ft length (108m), 49ft breadth (15m), 22ft depth (7m). Their volumes were on average 3759 grt and 2376 nrt. 

In 1911 Short Brothers built a second Thornhill for T&S. This collier was requisitioned in 1915 by the Admiralty. She was modified into a "Q-ship". Q-ships were very special mystery ships also known as Q-boats or decoy vessels. The Thornhill became an armed merchant ship with concealed weaponry. 

A Q-ship was designed to lure German submarines into making surface attacks. By seeming an easy target, the U-boat captain was tempted to make a surface attack using the deck gun instead of one of his limited number of torpedoes. In that scenario the Q-ship had a chance to open fire and sink the submarine. 

The Thornhill was sent to operate in the Mediterranean as the HMS Wonganella. On its way back from Malta to the UK, early March 1917, a German submarine attacked the ship near Gibraltar. It suffered gunfire damage and carried casualties. Then, after having crossed the Atlantic first, she left Halifax, Nova Scotia, in early June and returned to the UK. During that passage the ship again was involved in actions with German submarines on 18 and 19 June near Queenstown (Cobh), Ireland. 

The Thornhill survived both World War I & II and was sold consecutively to 5 English and 4 Yugoslavian shipping companies. In 1959 the vessel ended at Yokohama with collision damage and was sold for breaking up at Kawasaki.

The T&S share has a vignette of its shipping flag bearing the company's initials. The flag is skilfully reproduced in the embossed company seal (lower left corner of the certificate). Flag colors: dark blue stripes on a white background, white 'T&S' letters in a red oval 
click image to enlarge 



PS:  Interested in shipping flags or company seals? Then you may want to check the categories 'vexillology'  and 'sigillography'.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Spink London launched its E-auction of world bonds & share certificates

Exactly 443 lots of scripophily will go on Spink's E-block. This online sale already started Apr 12 15:00. The bidding window closes on April 30 11:00. At stake are antique stocks and bonds from many countries. Larger sections include China, Japan, Australia & New Zealand, UK, Confederate States of America and the USA. 

5% Japanese Imperial Loan, Meiji 42 (1909), bond for 500 yen 
Historically, Japanese dates were expressed as years of a named era. Emperor Meiji, who ascended the throne in 1868 tied the era name to the reign of the current emperor. Meiji 42 indicates the 42th year of Meiji's reign. As the first year of the reign is year 1 and not year 0, one has the subtract 1. So Meiji 42 stands for 1868+42-1 = 1909. 
L(ot)89 in the auction, scarce 

Dun Mountain Copper Mining Company, Limited, 10 shares of £1, London, 1857 
Dun Mountain, named for its brown (dun) colour, is located near the city of Nelson. In the 1850s and 1860s, chromite and copper were mined on the mountain leading to the building of New Zealand's first railway. Marvellous embossed seal of a miner at work, click image to enlarge.  L136 is estimated at £80 

The oldest certificate in the sale, L237, is a handwritten warrant authorising a payment from 1655 and handsigned by Oliver Cromwell, see here. Estimated between £5000-£6000, it is expected to realize also the highest result.

The most rare certificates in the sale are indicated with R12. Rarity 12 stands for 'only one known'. The auction includes a handful of these. You can use 'R12' in the online search function to find them, e.g. L240, a specimen $5000 bond from The Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, dated 1916.

The largest group lot is L158 and counts 2200 bonds from several loans issued by the Österreichische Staats-Eisenbahn-Gesellschaft  between 1855 and 1885.

£50 may buy you this stunning Casino Municipal de la Ville de Nice bond from 1881. 
L168 in the auction  

The Modern Comedies Company, Limited was a British company producing theatrical comedies. Founded with a £10,000 capital, very few certificates have been issued. The then famous actors Frank Curzon and Gertrude Silver aka Gertrude Kingston signed this share in 1902. L321 

More auction details :

  • Location : this is an Internet only sale
  • Date : April 12 15:00 - April 30 11:00. 
  • Further info : see here 


Thursday, April 4, 2019

The most expensive share sold at auction in 2018

What was the highest priced scripophily sale at auction in 2018 ? Was it an American stock certificate, a German Aktie, or maybe a Chinese government bond ? None of these. It was a French share and it was sold in Boone's 60th Auction, at Antwerp on 14 April 2018.

Top sale in 2018, reported by the International Bond & Share Society (IBSS), was a 3000 Livres share from the Compagnie Royale de l'Assiente, issued in 1704. The company was created in Nov 1701 by King Louis XIV of France. On Aug 27, 1701, Philip V, King of Spain and Louis XIV signed a treaty granting France the exclusive privilege to supply the Spanish colonies in the Americas with African slaves. This right was called the "Asiento". In 1713 the Compagnie Royale de l'Assiente lost the privilege to Great Britain and its slave-trading business was taken over by the South Sea Company.

Compagnie Royale de L'Assiente, 3000 Livres share, 1704 
Top scripophily sale in 2018, €26,000 excl buyer's premium 
Boone auction, 14 April 2018 
courtesy Mario Boone

With the exception of a 1664 share of the first Compagnie des Indes, this is the oldest French share certificate reported so far. Only one other similar share is known. The certificate, printed on vellum, has the signatures of several company directors, such as Antoine Crozat, Marquis du Châtel (c.1655-1738). Crozat, slave merchant and financial counselor to Louis XIV became the propriety owner of French Louisiana.

Consigned at the Boone auction of 14 April 2018, the share's start price was set at €10,000. A historic certificate, it is an awful but important evidence of imperialistic slave-trading practises in the 18th century. The share was the best-selling item in the auction and reached €26,000, and that's withouth the buyer's premium.

As usual Scripophily 109, April 2019, is full of auction reports. 
One of the highlights is an Isaac Newton signed bond. 

Top auctions in the scripophily market are extensively covered in Scripophily magazine, a publication by IBSS. The magazine brings you in-depth articles, compelling stories, and memorable personalities. A substantial part of the magazine is dedicated to reports on auctions that took place all over the world. Three issues per year discuss remarkable sales from over 70 auctions in this field of collecting.


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