Saturday, November 2, 2019

Antwerp meets scripophily !

The city of Antwerp will shortly become a mecca for scripophily. Collecting antique and vintage stock certificates, aka scripophily, took off in the 1970s. People from all over the world are fascinated by the beauty and historic importance of these artefacts. The broad public has now a chance to discover this exciting part of numismatics at Mario Boone's upcoming international auction & bourse weekend.

One of the sale's top historic items is this 1826 share from the Compagnie des Mines de Fer de St. Étienne. The company mined coal and iron, and operated the first modern iron works in France. In fact, the first French railway was constructed to connect the St. Étienne works with the Loire. Representing a milestone in the industrial history of France, this share, issued to its founder, mining engineer Louis Georges Gabriel de Gallois, is also one of the earliest shares with an engraving of blast furnaces. Lot 432 in the auction, is expected to realize at least €3,000.

In comparison to coins, banknotes and stamps, antique stocks and bonds are much less available on the collector's market. The Boone auction house has been a specialist in scripophily for over four decades and is now holding its 63rd sale on the 9th of November in Antwerp. More than 1400 lots will be hammered.

Etablissements Pieper à Liège & Nessonvaux , 100 Francs bearer share, 1898
As you can tell from this share's design - click image to enlarge - this Belgian company manufactured handguns and rifles, such as the Bayard 1908 pistol and, under license, the Bergmann–Bayard pistol. The company, established by the German Henry Pieper, also built small cars from 1899 to 1903. Already in 1900 Pieper introduced - today unimaginable for many - a pure electric model, and a hybrid petrol-electric car. The Pieper factory was later taken over by Imperia. This share is signed by Nicolas Pieper and its wonderful design was made by painter Emile Berchmans. Lot 293, starts at €400.

The sale catalogue, available online and as an offline PDF document, includes color images and background stories of the certificates to be sold. For easy retrieval purposes, search indexes help the collector on his quest for about 100 countries and an equal number of special interest themes, security printers, engravers and artists.

Auction lot 199 comprises a share in the Conservera Marroqui SA, Tétouan, a company that sold canned fish. The gorgious design, showing a city gate at the the sea shore, includes the Star of David. After the Reconquista and the Spanish Inquisition many Sephardi Jews migrated from Spain and settled in the Mediterranean port of Tétouan, Morocco. This company was incorporated in 1947. After the founding of the state of Israel in 1948, hostilities from the Arab population towards Moroccan Jewish communities broke out. Fear that Morocco's imminent independence from France would lead to further persecution led to large-scale emigration. By 1950, there were very few Jews left in Tétouan.

I learned from the catalog's autographs index that several certificates were signed by or issued to historic figures : e.g. Emile & Isaac Pereire, Frits Philips, William H. Vanderbilt, Henry Wells, etc. The certificate below bears the signature of David D. Buick.

Issued in 1911, this Buick Oil Company share is signed by Scottish-born American D(avid) D(unbar) Buick.
His famous Buick Motor Company was established in 1902. Six years later he sold it to General Motors. 100 years later, the eight production generation of the Buick LeSabre was still a best steller. Lot 1403 in the sale, bids accepted from €200 

The day after the sale, Mario Boone organizes his regular scripophily bourse internationally attended by dealers and visitors.

Auction details

  • Location : Antwerp Crowne Plaza Hotel, Belgium
  • Date : auction 9 November 2019, bourse 10 November 2019
  • Further info : online catalogue here, and PDF version there 


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