Monday, January 27, 2020

POSTPONED : Kolkata displays historic share certificates from India


On 4 and 5 April, 2020, you can visit "Indian Scripophily 2020", a unique exhibition on antique securities from India. The event takes place at the Nand Lal Bose Gallery, Kolkata.

SCRIPOPHILY is the study and collection of antique bond and share certificates. A specialized field of numismatics, scripophily is an area of collecting due to both the beauty of these documents as well as the interesting historical context of each document. Many certificates are outstanding examples of intaglio and lithographic printing.

The event is hosted at the Rabindranath Tagore Centre in Kolkata, which is the cultural flagship of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR).  India's first Minister of Education, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, founded in 1950 the ICCR for promoting dialogue with other nations showcasing the diverse and rich cultural tradition of India.

Place to be is the centre's 3rd floor, the Nand Lal Bose Gallery. The gallery, occupying nearly 400 sq m, has housed exhibitions like 'The Lost Palaces of Delhi', with 18th century paintings by Jean Bapiste Gentil, and a photographic exhibition of film-maker, art historian and photographer Binoy K. Behl. 

share of the Imperial Bank of India

One of the artefacts on display is a share from the Imperial Bank of India, today known as the State Bank of India. Legendary economist John Maynard Keynes conceived the idea for a large, regulating bank in India. In 1921 Keynes led the merger of the three Presidency banks, the Bank of Bengal, the Bank of Madras and the Bank of Bombay, into a single bank, the Imperial Bank of India. The bank was 80% privately owned and acted as the central bank of British India prior to the formation in 1935 of the Reserve Bank of India. Click image to enlarge 

Indian Scripophily 2020 is a joint initiative by experts Sanjay Misra and Ravi Sevak. The exhibition presents nearly 300 Indian share certificates from the pre-independence period. It is an excellent opportunity to learn about the many industrial and commercial ventures set up during the British Raj. 

share certificate from the Burma Corporation Limited

Here's is another example from the exhibit, a share from the Burma Corporation LtdFirst attracted as a mining consultant, the American engineer Herbert Hoover becomes in 1908 director of Burma Mines. Shortly thereafter, the mines at Namtu are absorbed by the Burma Corporation, a business cofounded by Hoover. The company lucratively extracts lead, zinc, copper and silver. After WW I, Hoover starts a career in politics and becomes President of the USA from March 4, 1929 till March 4, 1933. He visits India in April 1946 as Chairman of the US Famine Emergency Commission, and meets Gandhi and Nehru to discuss the problem of famine in the wake of World War II. 

The exhibition also illustrates the evolution of security printing in India. In the 19th century the creation of securities, mostly for British companies, was done in England and followed a British design tradition. Since the 1900s Indian printers developed their own lettering styles and ornaments, resulting in a unique range of bond and share certificates.

Practical info 
  • Location : Indian Council for Cultural Relations, Rabindranath Tagore Centre, Nand Lal Bose Gallery, 9 A Ho Chi Minh Sarani, Kolkata 700 701, see here 
  • Duration : 4 - 5 April 2020 
  • Opening hours : 11 AM to 7 PM
  • Entrance fee : no entrance fee


Thursday, January 16, 2020

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

Over 400 lots of scripophily go on Spink's E-block. This online sale already started Jan 9 15:00. The bidding window closes on January 22 11:00. At stake are antique stocks and bonds from many countries. Larger sections include UK, China, Australia, South Africa, and the Confederate States of America.

Henry Bradbury and Robert Wilmot Wilkinson organised in 1856 The Bradbury, Wilkinson & Company in London. The business specialized in the engraving and printing of banknotes, postage stamps and securities. Companies and governments from all over the world commissioned the company to print their bonds and shares. The certificate shown here was produced for the Province of Westphalia 7% Sterling Loan of 1926. The £835,000 loan consisted of 470 bonds of £500 and 6000 bonds of £100. This specimen bond is of the highest rarity. L193 in the auction

The City of Moscow Gas Company Limited obtained a 30-years concession for the gas lighting of Moscow. The contract was signed on January 29, 1865, and the company began construction of a plant on Nizhne-Susalsky Blind Alley, laying of a gas network and installation of gas lamps. By 1867, there were already over 4,000 gas lamps on the city streets. This is £20=500Francs bond from 1867 has serial nr. 1. L237 in the auction
source: Pioneers of the Methane Age, by Alexander Yefimov and Lyudmila Volkova, Oil of Russia, Lukoil International Magazine,, consulted 16th Jan 2020.

More fascinating scripophily can be seen online. Here are the details :

  • Location : this is an Internet only sale
  • Date : Jan 9 15:00 - Jan 22 11:00.
  • Further info : see here


Sunday, January 12, 2020

Daimler-Benz auctioned in Würzburg

Historisches Wertpapierhaus AG (HWPH) has scheduled its next double-session sale for 25 and 27 January 2020. Specialist Matthias Schmitt and his team brought together over 2,000 lots of scripophily and related documents for this special occasion. Included is a unique collection of antique Daimler-Benz securities. 

This 1952 Daimler-Benz AG 1000 DM unissed share brings the portraits of Gottlieb Daimler and Carl Benz surrounded by a multitude of security printing patterns (click image to enlarge). The only one known, the certificate is part of the Daimler-Benz collection. Lot 635 (or 673, see text) in the auction.

The first sale is a live auction at Würzburg, Germany, followed two days later by an online auction.  Both sales offer historic and beautiful antique stocks and bonds from all continents. More about the Daimler-Benz collection right away, but let me first mention some of the many other lots worth having a look at. 

Flamingo Films stock certificate signed by Buster Keaton

Flamingo Films, Inc., Florida, $100 share, 1933 issued to and signed by Buster Keaton as President. The acrobatic Buster Keaton became one of the first stars on screen alongside Harald Lloyd and Charlie Chaplin. Lot 626 in the sale starts at €2500

Scripophily from the USA, and from most other countries, can be found in both sales, so make sure you check out both auction catalogs. Movie fans will certainly appreciate a spectacular Buster Keaton share from 1933, L(ot) 626 in the sale, see image above.

Playing in the same top league is a New York and Harlem Rail Road Company stock certificate. Ladies may know all about Gloria Vanderbilt and her perfumes, but this NYHRR share from 1848 is signed by Gloria Vanderbilt's grandfather Cornelius Vanderbilt II, her great-grandfather William Henry Vanderbilt and even her great-great-grandfather Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt. L624 starts at €5000.

Obligation 1000 Francs in Editions de la Sirene, design by Demetrios Galanis

Éditions de la Sirène - Compagnie Française d'Édition
7% 1000 Francs obligation, Paris, 1922, printed by L. Kaldor, design by D. Galanis
Demetrios Galanis (1879-1966) is one of the greatest Greek artists from the 20th century.  A friend of Picasso, Galanis works received acclaim from the 1920s onwards in Brussels, London, and New York. In 2008 Bonhams sold The Painter's Family for £264,000. Other work can be seen in the Tate Gallery. L102 in the sale

European scripophily is known for some of the most artistic designs seen in this field. L102 is stunning certificate designed by Demetrios Galanis, see image above. Other reknown artists can be discovered on lots 131 & 144, Alfons Mucha, 630, Marcel Duchamp, 997, Kiki Picasso, and 1324 Albert Decaris.

Other interesting securities from the Old Continent are jeweler and watchmaker Cartier, L97, a stunning 1884 share from the Portuguese porcelain manufacturer Fabrica de Faiancas das Caldas da Rainha, L105. Equally marvellous in design, and partly printed in gold ink, is L644, a 1863 mining share from the Mátrai  Bánya Egyesületnél - Matraer Bergwerks-Union, Buda(pest).

Benz & Cie., Rheinische Gasmotoren-Fabrik, AG in Mannheim, 4.5% 1000 Mark bond, 1909 
Part of the Daimler-Benz collection, lot 635 (or 666, see text) in the auction.

Daimler-Benz was formed with the merger of Benz & Cie and Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft in 1926. Both companies agreed thereafter that all of the factories would use the brand name of "Mercedes-Benz" on their automobiles. The name Mercedes comes from Mercedes Adrienne Ramona Manuela Jellinek. She was the daughter of Austrian automobile entrepreneur Emil Jellinek and Rachel Goggmann Cenrobert. Jellinek became one of Daimler's directors in 1900 and had a new motor racing car built. Its engine had to be named Daimler-Mercedes. The car became famous in motorsports and was later known as the Mercedes 35 hp.

The Daimler-Benz collection contains rare scripophily from the company, its predecessors, related international companies and the successor company DaimlerChrysler. All together counting 176 items, the collection is offered in thirteen group lots (L665-L677), unless the entire collection attracts bidders first, L635.

Some more German highlights : Actien-Verein für den zoologischen Garten zu Dresden, 1861, L634, and Hütten-Actien-Gesellschaft Leopold, 1858, L643. Some DM-era names : Allgemeine Elektricitäts-Gesellschaft 1952, L462, Pelikan AG, 1978, L552, and Volkswagen AG (trio including the "Beetle"), L1769.

Five bonds of 100 Roubles, specimen certificate, from the Internal Loan for the Strenghtening of the Defense of the USSR 1937. L812 in the auction

Collectors of scripophily from the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union will be pleased to see more than 170 lots in a dedicated catalog in Russian. One of these is L659, a 500 Roubles share in the First Horse-Tram Company in Moscow, dated 1866.

share from the Plano Inclinado Pilar da Bahia company

Companhia Plano Inclinado Pilar da Bahia, Acção 200$000 Reis, 1898
Founded in 1897, the Pilar funicular of Salvador da Bahia has a steep grade of about 80% !
L1828 starts at €100

You can find more of these fascinating stocks and bonds in HWPH's auction catalogs. Here are the details of this event:
  • Dates
    • 25 January 2020, Würzburg, Germany, public auction
    • 27 January 2020, online auction
  • Further info and catalogs, see here on HWPH. The Russian catalog can be found there .


Thursday, January 2, 2020

Puzzling scripophily - No. 2 - solution

In order to resolve Scripophily Puzzle No. 2 you could use three visual cues that pointed to a particular company. This puzzle was a bit tougher than no. 1, yet, one reader provided a correct answer. 

The visual cues were details from the design of a share in the company that we are looking for. The first two images feature signatures. The third image shows a text fragment in some language, printed on top of a drawing.

In general, antique securities from companies were signed by directors of the company. This is no exception. Signatures of some famous persons like Thomas A. Edison are easy to derive. Here, we have less readable examples. 

Sven Wingqvist signature on stock certificate

If you've read this recent blogpost, then you could have recognized the signature of the Swedish industrialist Sven Wingqvist, founder of SKF.  This is the first clue.

There is one image with a fragment of the lettering on the certificate. It mentions 'ETT HUNDRA Kronor'. Ett Hundra is Swedish for one hundred, and refers in this case to 100 Swedish Krona, the denomination of the certificate.

fragment of a share with underprint cut-through section of a plane

So Sweden is a keyword in this puzzle. You may guess that the other signature comes from another Swedish person. Correct. It belongs to Swedish banker and Olympic tennis player Marcus Wallenberg Jr

signature of Marcus Wallenberg Jr

You didn't resolved the last signature ? Well, that's no showstopper. The 'ETT HUNDRA Kronor' image shows a front profile of a propeller plane in the underprint. Googling the three words aviation, Sweden and Wingqvist will lead you to the solution : Svenska Aeroplan Aktiebolaget (Swedish Airplane Company), aka SAAB.

SAAB was founded in 1937 by Sven Wingqvist, Marcus Wallenberg Jr and Axel Wenner-Gren. The latter established Electrolux. 

1944 share in the Svenska Aeroplan Aktiebolaget, aka SAAB

Svenska Aeroplan Aktiebolaget
1 share of 100 Kronor, 1944

SAAB, an aircraft and defence business, was the parent company of automobile manufacturer Saab Automobile. The profile in the underprint of its share shows a twin-engine military plane built during WW II, the SAAB 18. The company pioneered in 1971 with a self-developed computer for its Viggen combat aircraft. 

Reader "detective" DB provided the correct answer for puzzle no. 1 and also for this puzzle. Outstanding DB! You are now entitled a second portion of "eternal fame". 

Happy New Year !