Friday, March 27, 2020

Connoisseurs of British railway securities will be thrilled at Boone's next scripophily auction

The 64th auction of Mario Boone takes place online with an exceptional range of high quality collectibles. Nearly 1,700 antique stocks and bonds spanning 4 centuries of financial history represent about 100 countries.

Boone's next auction is set for 4 April 2020. Included are many genuine founder shares from famous companies. This is one from the Assicurazioni Generali Austro-Italiche. 

The very first share from the world famous Generali insurance company

Following the Napoleonic Wars, Trieste became the main trading port and shipbuilding centre of the Austrian Empire. There insurance expert Joseph Lazarus Morpurgo founded the Assicurazioni Generali Austro-Italiche in 1831. His company provided insurances against risks of marine and land transport, flood, fire, and much more, hence the name GENERALI.  One of its notable employees was writer Franz Kafka who worked for Generali in Prague in 1907 and 1908. This is Generali's share number 1, issued in Trieste, 1832, and signed by Morpurgo. Lot 943 in the auction is a top item for any scripophily collector of insurance companies or Italian/Austrian finance history. 

Connoisseurs of British railway securities will be thrilled. More than 120 lots come from an old collection that illustrates the rich and pioneering history of British railways. Even if you are not into railway scripophily, this is an exceptional opportunity to check out this series (lot range 789 through 914). Let me mention here a few of these gems :
  • L793 Blaydon, Gateshead & Hebburn Railway, stunning vignette; 
  • from Ireland, L804 River Line, Cork Blackrock and Passage Railway
  • L803 Clarence Railway, 1828!; 
  • L809 Durham and Sunderland Railway, rare, wax seal;
  • Another stunning vignette can be seen on a Liverpool and Manchester Railway certificate, 1826!, L845. 
  • L877 comprises a share from as early as 1804 - eighteen hundred and four !!! - issued by the horse-operated Oystermouth Rail-Way or Tram-Road. This company commenced to carry passengers in 1807. 

Monmouthshire Railway and Canal Company share transfer certificate with large vignette of train and barge approaching bridge

The Monmouthshire Railway and Canal Company operated a canal and a network of railways in south-east Wales. It started as the Monmouthshire Canal Navigation and opened canals from Newport to Pontypool and to Crumlin from 1796. The unusual large vignette on this 1854 share transfer certificate shows a train and a horse-drawn barge nearing a canal bridge. Click to enlarge image, L869 in the auction. 

Auctioneer Boone provides an extensive catalog for this sale with every lot described in detail (download link see below). Among the nearly 1,700 antique securities you'll find hundreds of little masterpieces. Their designs reflects the art style in vogue and often include vignettes from illustrators. Some examples :
  • L422 Comptoir de la Bourse de Bruxelles, illustrated by Charles Posch
  • Constand Montald's work can be seen on L443, Grands Magasins à l'Innovation, Bruxelles 
  • Oriental elements are abundant on L384 Société Foncière de Syrie
  • L691 Gewerkschaft "Deutsche Nickel-Gesellschaft" displays a super mining vignette
  • My favorite Art Deco share is the 100 Gulden share from the Nederlandsche Bakkerij-Centrale, Amsterdam, 1917, a work by Johan Rudolf Bonnet created before he went to live in Bali, L972

multicolor printed share in the Anatolian Rug Manufactoring Company from Greece

A little masterpiece is this 25 shares certificate from The Anatolian Rug Manufacturing Co. Ltd., Athens, dated 1924. Printed in multicolor by Aspiotis Brothers, banknote printers from Corfu, the share is adorned with oriental elements and shows carpet knotters at work. Despite their obvious activities, the scene is filled with silence. Click the image to enlarge, one of them noticed your attention. L924 in the sale

The catalog's comprehensive country index lists nearly 100 countries. In particular large sections (each containing between 40 and 250 lots) are Belgium, France, Germany, UK, Romania, Russia, Sweden, Australia, Netherlands Indies and the USA. Scripophily from less obvious, often exotic places, like British North Borneo, Iraq, Djibouti and Suriname is present as well.

Chile's Government Junta proclaimed Chile as an autonomous republic within the Spanish monarchy in 1810. Eight years later Chile declared its independency in 1818 which would only be recognized in 1844. The Anglo Chilian Mining Association, formed in London, 1825, is one of the earliest companies formed in the new state. L1519 in the auction.

It is impossible to mention all items in this sale, but there is a way to find out more about them. Here are the auction details :
  • Location : Internet only
  • Date : 4 April 2020
  • Further info : 


PS This auction also includes the first part of a unique collection of Indonesian scripophily (ca. 250 lots! ). Find out more about this here .

Boone's 64th auction catalog includes also an index of collecting themes (besides countries). The sports entry refers to more than 20 shares, including this French 1911 share in the Olympic Tennis Club de Wimereux, Boulogne-sur-Mer. Lot 610 

Friday, March 20, 2020

Selamat pagi ! Boone auctions Indonesian scripophily

Mario Boone's 64th auction takes place on 4 April. The sale offers about 1,700 lots of antique stocks and bonds from all corners of the world. I'll come back to these in a follow up post but now I want to discuss a unique scripophily collection that is part of the sale. 

aandeel uit 1895 van de Kediri-Stoomtrammaatschappij, Kediri Steam Tramway Company share from 1895

Boone's upcoming sale features the first part of a unique collection of Indonesian scripophily. This is a 1895 share from the Kediri-Stoomtrammaatschappij. The company, founded in the same year, ran a steam operated tramway service connecting Kediri with Pare and Jombang, East Java. Tens of sugar factories from the surrounding area used the line to deliver their produce in Kedira, a sugar trading hub. Lot 245 in the auction

Boone's upcoming sale includes the first part of an extraordinary collection of bonds and shares related to Indonesia's colonial history. This time almost 250 lots will be auctioned from many economic themes like mining, oil extraction, tobacco, agriculture, coffee, tea, sugar, rubber, forestry, construction & building, banking, insurance, shipping, railroads & tramways, transport, trading, shops, electric-water-lighting utilities, and more.

The Maatschappij tot Exploitatie van de Suikeronderneming Koning Willem II was founded in 1891 with a capital of 492,000 Gulden divided into 984 shares. Its sugar factory was located in Sidoardjo. L117 

Indonesia is a quite impressive country. Its name origins from the Greek words Indos (Ἰνδός) and nesos (νῆσος), meaning "Indian" and "islands". More than 17,000 islands are home to about 270 million people (2018), more or less 1/3rd of the population in Europe. Indonesians use about 540,000 kilometers of roads. The country occupies an area of 1.9 million km2, that is roughly 1/5th of Europe. Unlike Europe, the islands count 400 volcanoes, around 130 are active. Their eruptions in the distant past produced fertile lands, ideally suited for farming and coffee and tea estates. 

Lot 292 consists of a 1949 share and this preference share, 1937, both specimens, from Heineken's Nederlandsch-Indische Bierbrouwerij Maatschappij, Surabaya. The brewery company makes one of Indonesia's most popular beers, Bintang.

The collection covers dozens of locations from different islands, e.g. Java: Jogjakarta, Magelang, Besuki, Japara, Sidoarjo, Surabaya, Madoera, Probolinggo; Borneo: Benkajang, Balangan; Sulawesi: Pagoeat, Belang; and Sumatra: Tjenako, Langkat, Medan, Tamiang. Many more places and districts can be found in the catalog's lot descriptions.

NV "Prauwenveer Kalimas" from Surabaya operated a ferry service with Indonesian proas, L263

Auction details

  • Location : Internet only
  • Date : 4 April 2020
  • Further info : 
    • online catalog & bidding here, or via the Invaluable platform
    • PDF version of the catalog there 

From the Indonesia collection : a 1912, Art Nouveau style, share from Les Huileries de Sumatra, a palm oil producer. Lot 212 in the sale.

NB : The latter image is for a short period available as an online jigsaw puzzle, check that out here.

Friday, March 13, 2020

Belgian Association for Scripophily exists 40 years

The Belgian Association for Scripophily, in French: Association Belge de Scriptophilie (ABS), in Dutch : Belgische Vereniging van Scriptophilie (BVS), is a non-profit society that was founded 40 years ago in 1980. Ever since, the society's members gather once a month, to share news and discuss findings in our field of collection.

Two years ago member Denis Sagaert took the initiative to publish a free scripophily newsletter. More than reason enough to have a talk with him ! For the occassion, Denis choose the images for this post.

Alfred Van Neste (1874-1969) created the design for the founders share in the Société Anversoise de Cartonnages & Biseautages. The company, founded in 1899, was a book producer and publishing company from Antwerp. Van Neste, a landscape painter, illustrator and engraver, became one of Antwerp's most known poster designers. Click the image to enlarge and discover several illustrations from stages in early book production. The drawings are so prominent that the Art Nouveau elements in the border nearly escape our attention. Just below the rooster in the upper left corner you'll find 'SACB', the company's cypher (an interlacing or placing together of letters).

FL Denis, welcome to our virtual studio. How did you become a collector of antique securities ?
Denis I bought my first old shares in 2004 at a flea market in Brussels. As an  asset manager I was already very familiar with bonds and shares, but I had no clue about 'scripophily'. Two years later, I read a newspaper article written by the chairman of the Belgian society. I then became a member.

FL Do you collect certain themes ? 
Denis Yes, my main themes are Belgian-Russian shares, Belgian tramways and Belgian mining companies.

The Solvay company is a global player in the chemical and pharmaceutical business. The brothers Ernest Solvay and Alfred Solvay founded the company in 1863 to produce sodium carbonate by the Solvay proces. The vignette on the left is derived from the company's 50th anniverary medal made in 1913 by Belgian sculptor and medalist Victor Rousseau. In 1938 a similar, much larger bronze plaque made by Rousseau, was delivered for the Solvay memorial monument in Rebecq, the birthplace of the brothers. This bearer share dates from 1967, the year of Solvay's first public offering of shares to the public.

FL Denis, can you tell something about ABS/BVS ?
Denis Our association was founded in 1980 when scripophily was still a young hobby. ABS/BVS is a non-profit organization. Once a month we gather in Jezus-Eik, close to Brussels, and hold an auction for members. Occasionally, non-members are allowed to take part in a special auction either on-site or through submission of email bids. Also, people who still own some old cancelled bonds and shares, can contact our chairman for value estimations. They can also consign their 'non-valeurs' for sale at the club auction.

FL How many members does the society has ? 
Denis We have about 25 members.

FL I've seen that the newsletter is mainly written in French. Do most members speak French ?
Denis There are a little more French speakers. We have a small group of members from France! But there is no big difference with the number of Dutch speakers.

Banker André Langrand-Dumonceau founded in 1863 the Banque de Crédit Foncier et Industriel. From the 1850s through the 1860s Langrand-Dumonceau tried to build a major Catholic financial group in Europe to counterbalance the so-perceived Jewish dominance in the financial sector. He became manager of tens of financial companies. He founded Royale Belge, one of the largest Belgian insurance companies. Pope Pius IX, King Leopold of Belgium, Napoleon III of France, and other European notables supported Langrand-Dumonceau's activities. However, by 1870, his financial empire collapsed and he fled to the USA. Langrand-Dumonceau signed this 1863 certificate for 20 shares of 500 Francs. 

FL Denis, the society has an interesting website. What does it offer ?
Denis The site hosts a very extensive online database of antique securities (*). Of course, you can find information about our club and our hobby. In case of a 'special auction', we put the auction catalog online as well.
(*) Editor's note: you can search among more than 40,000 bonds and shares

FL You decided to publish a newsletter. What is it about ?
Denis We have a lots of resources on Belgian business histories, like the Moniteur and Recueil Financier year books. We bring topics on Belgian scripophily. In cases where a foreign company has a Belgian connection, eg. through its shareholders, then we might bring topics on foreign corporations too. In all cases, the content should be a combination of financial history and known bonds and shares.

FL Denis, was there a particular reason to start the newsletter ?
Denis Well, in the first place, we hope our members find it interesting, but publishing a newsletter is also a great way to give visibility to our association. The number of collectors in Belgium is diminishing. Hopefully, we can attract new members with this project.

L'Ikelemba was an agricultural and trading company, especially in rubber. The company's assets were located in the Ikelemba river bassin, in today's Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Lithographie du "Messager de Bruxelles" produced this share from 1898, a great example of a chromolithograph. Instead of using techniques like intaglio printing (e.g. engraving) or raised relief (wood-cut), this printing process was based on a flat surface printing method. The drawing was made on a special stone. By means of chemicals, ink was attracted by the drawing and repelled from the surrounding areas. In the case of multiple colors, separate stones were used for each color. A single print went through the press separately for each 'color' stone. The big challenge was to keep the resulting color prints aligned to form a unified image.  

FL I can't resist asking the next question, I'm a bad person, but what is your favorite certificate ? 
Denis Hm ... one of my favorites is a L'Ikelemba, action de dividende, from 1898 and extremely decorative.

FL Denis, I want to thank you for this interview and wish you success with the newsletter. 

Related links


Friday, March 6, 2020

American scripophily in London

SPINK UK's latest auction went online last week and ends on March 17, 2020. Exactly 330 lots of intriguing antique bonds and shares will go on SPINK's E-block.  

Greyhound Motors Corporation share certificate with large vignette of early automobiles

SPINKS' sale bulks with stunning vignettes on securities printed for pioneering American companies. The Greyhound Motors Corporation, later renamed the Greyhound Motor Car Company, was one of the first companies that designed a little sports car, the "Trinca Patent Body", an idea by Frederick Trinca. L(ot) 196 in the auction, this $10 shares certificate from 1920 invites bidders from $120 onwards.

At stake in this auction is scripophily from many themes such as automobiles, aviation, shipping, railroads, finance, coal, iron and gold mining, oil companies, government and municipal loans, and more. The securities have something in common : they made American history.

share in the Sunflower Gold Mining Company with color vignettes of sunflowers

The Sunflower Gold Mining Company from Colorado Springs was founded during the Cripple Creek Gold Rush. This gorgious share, L240, dates from 1897

Spink and Son Ltd was founded in London in 1666. The company specialises in the auctioning of  stamps, coins, banknotes, medals, bonds & shares, autographs, books and wines. When specialist Mike Veissid joined SPINK in 2008 the company set up the Bonds & Shares Department. 

This Lewis and Clark Centennial and American Pacific Exposition and Oriental Fair share certificate shows vignettes of Lewis and Clark

The Lewis and Clark Centennial and American Pacific Exposition and Oriental Fair from 1905 took place in Portland, Oregon. It was set up to celebrate the centennial of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, the first American expedition to cross the western part of the US. The exposition was a major success and welcomed from June through half October, nearly 12,000 visitors per day. L306

The auction features several shares issued to or signed by famous personalities. A stock certificate for 100 shares in the Irving Trust Company is issued to, and signed on the reverse by IBM founder Thomas J. Watson, L206. An East End Electric Light Company stock certificate from 1893 is issued to and signed on the reverse by electrical pioneer George Westinghouse, L295. A temporary share in The Edison Portland Cement Company, likewise but Thomas Alva Edison, L296.

A Pepsi-Cola share signed on reverse by its founder Caleb D Bradham

After being a school teacher for about a year Caleb Davis Bradham (1867-1934) started his own drug store. His 1893 recipe for "Brad's Drink" used kola nut extract, vanilla and "rare oils" and would become world famous as Pepsi-Cola. This Pepsi-Cola Company share was issued in 1922 to C. D. Bradham and signed by him on the reverse. Rare, bids for L317 start at $1,000.

The largest section in the sale is formed by a contingent of 137 American railway securities. Some highlights here : L45 Aspen Short Line Railway Company, 1889 specimen bond; L52 The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, $10,000 bond, 1902, signed by George Eastman (Kodak) on reverse. A top example of American steel engraved vignettes can be found in L158, a 1853 $1000 bond from the Virginia Tennessee Rail Road Company.

Atlantic-Pacific Railway Tunnel Company share with gold seal

This 1884 stock certificate in The Atlantic-Pacific Railway Tunnel Co shows a railway tunnel through a mountain (click image to enlarge). Note the gold seal which is embossed with a frontal view of a train coming out of a tunnel. Bidding on L48 starts at $70.

There is much more to discover for yourself in the other sections of the online catalog as well, e.g. shipping and oil.  Here are the sale's details
  • Location : online auction only
  • Date : ends on 17 March, 2020 at 1:30 PM
  • Further info : see Spink's online catalogue with full color images here
  • Note: The sales takes place in London, bids are mentioned in USD.


Sunday, March 1, 2020

Societăți pe acțiuni românești în Austro-Ungaria - Hârtii de Valoare Istorice - Colecția Alois Weil

Societăți pe acțiuni românești în Austro-Ungaria is a brand new volume on antique securities from Romanian companies formed in the Austro-Hungarian Empire (1867-1918), more specifically in Transylvania.

The book, a large format, multicolor, hardcover publication was put together by authors Alois Weil, Gabriel Căsap and Ion Chirescu. It is illustrated with share certificates, mainly from financial companies, from the Weil collection.

Transylvania is a region in central Romania. The term is also used to refer to a larger area that includes parts of Crișana and Maramureș, and the Romanian part of Banat. Up through the 19th century Transylvania was an agricultural society. The Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867 (Ausgleich) made Transylvania a part of the Kingdom of Hungary. At the end of World War I Transylvania was united with Romania.

Here's a picture from the book's table of contents (in Romanian), click image to enlarge. Notice the bound bookmark produced with the colors of the flag of Romania.

The authors presented their book on February 10, 2020, in the presence of hundreds of Phd students and invited guests, in the „Lucian Blaga” Central University Library, Cluj-Napoca. The event also featured an exhibition of shares of banking companies from Transylvania.

share from the Allgemeine Versicherungsbank Transsylvania

The Allgemeine Versicherungsbank Transsylvania AG is one of the companies that is discussed in the book. This share was issued on Jun 21, 1918, only a few months before Transylvania became a part of Romania Dec 1, 1918. Illustrated are the coats of arms of the seven provinces of Transylvania. 
image courtesy : BooneShares, auction Oct 2018 

Some more details about the book :

  • Title :  Societăți pe Acțiuni Românești în Austro-Ungaria - Hârtii de Valoare Istorice - Colecția Alois Weil, in English: Romanian Joint-Stock Companies in Austria-Hungary - Historical Shares and Bonds - Alois Weil Collection
  • Authors : Alois Weil, Gabriel Căsap and Ion Chirescu
  • ID : ISBN 978-606-93235-9-5, publised by Art Group-România, under the aegis of Museum of Romanian Records, 2019
  • Languages : Romanian, with a summary chapter in English and German
  • Number of pages : 349
  • Images
    • nearly 200 large color images of share certificates 
    • about the same number of detail images and vignettes from these securities 
    • over 200 enlarged images of signatures seen on the securities
    • many postcards of company premises, pictures of significant business people, and the like
  • Index : no index, but one of the chapters contains a table with the details of 185 banking institutions organized as joint-stock companies

The stunning certificate illustrated on the left is from Plugarul, s.p.a. în Cacova, a credit company that serviced the agricultural sector. 'Plugarul' is Romanian for plowman. The share is signed by Ioan Opreanu, president of the Cacova parish committee (see signature in detail).
Click image to enlarge

Company entries in the book are grouped by historical period. Each company is discussed in its historical context. Most shares are illustrated together with enlarged images of the signatures of the company officers who signed them, each one briefly identified and described.

This is a top work for anyone interested in Romania, Austria-Hungary, banking, and of course, artistic designs in scripophily !


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