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


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