Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Puzzling scripophily - No. 1 - solution

Puzzle No. 1 provided you three visual cues that could help you solve it. One reader provided a correct answer and told me about an interesting way to research antique stocks and bonds.

The correct answer was Le Petit Journal, a French daily newspaper that circulated between 1863 and 1944. The visual cues were details from the design of the company's splendid share certificate.

500 Francs share certificate of  Le Petit Journal, 1896
design by Meyer and engraving by Meaulle 

By bringing sensational news, applying clever customer binding techniques, and a newspaper that could be sold for the price of 5 Centimes, Le Petit Journal's circulation rose to 2 million copies by the late 1890s.  
The Dreyfus Affair (1894-1906), in which Alfred Dreyfus, of Jewish descent, was convicted of handing secrets to the German army, contributed to its success but also lead to the decline of the newspaper.
During this lawsuit Le Petit Journal publicly choose side against Dreyfus while repeatedly publishing antisemitic articles. In those days, publishing racist and antisemitic content was not illegal. Despite false evidence, Dreyfus was declared guilty and imprisoned.
It turned out that Dreyfus was framed. Due to public opinion he was released from prison and exonerated. Le Petit Journal however lost many readers to competitors that had avoided taking sides in this case.

There is a lot more to tell about Le Petit Journal, see here. It is now recognized as a pioneer of the sensation press and mass media.  

Reader DB provided the correct answer for puzzle no. 1: It was pretty easy. The cert appeared after I googled for images of "61 Rue Lafayette" (one of the cues)

Well done DB! You are now entitled a portion of "eternal fame". 

F. L.

No comments:

Post a Comment