Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Did you miss Scripophily magazine in 2019 ? On purpose ?

Scripophily is the world’s most comprehensive and insightful publication for passionate collectors and active researchers of antique securities. This three-yearly periodical, printed on high quality paper, is the flagship of The International Bond and Share Society (IBSS).

Scripophily magazine discusses hundreds of auction highlights. Issue 109, April 2019, mentioned this certificate in the report on Boone's October 2018 auction. It is a dividend share in The Compagnie Belge-Néerlandaise de Sambas (Borneo). This Belgian enterprise obtained concessions for mining, agricultural and forestry operations from the sultan of Sambas. Its 1899  share realized €180 in the auction. 
courtesy : 

If you don't know the magazine then here are 4 takeaways :
  1. Enjoy fascinating stories on the people and organizations that issued the old stock and bond certificates. 
  2. Read about the latest market and auction reports.
  3. Stay up-to-date on important news, and gossip. Scripophily magazine informs you about new discoveries, announcements by collector clubs and scripophily related exhibitions, publication of books, rumours and fait-divers about our hobby, events and bourses, and much more.
  4. Scripophily magazine is the only English language journal covering topics from all over the world about any theme thinkable.

The three 2019 issues of Scripophily magazine counted over 120 pages, reported on about 100 auctions, featured around 400 images, and were shipped to over three hundred members on all continents. 

On top of that, subscribing to Scripophily magazine brings you valuable free extras :
  • The IBSS Directory brings you in contact with fellow collectors. Many of those are experts in their field, often share common interests with you, and possibly live nearby. The Directory contains members from more than 40 countries.
  • The Newsletter, so you may keep up with what is going on
  • Access to all content on the IBSS website, including digital versions of previous issues of Scripophily magazine, the online forum, special theme galleries, and the like.
  • Newsflashes on the website focus on hot topics that can't wait for the next issue of the magazine. 
  • Get extra credibility : being listed as a member is a good reference in any deals made remotely with parties previously unknown. 

What's the catch ? 
Well, the subscription fee is ridiculous, that's all. Subscribing to IBSS's magazine costs you only £20 or $32 or €25, true ! I looked it up. The price is still the same as it was in 2013. How much longer will it stay like that. Now that you know it, don't miss this boat.


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Monday, May 11, 2020

Franky's Scripophily BlogSpot exists 10 years !

A decade of scripophily blogging ! In 2010 I never thought I would write about these gorgious scripophily items for 10 years, but here we are now. 

Each time I write one of these little pieces I make a journey through time, all around the globe, and learn about amazing personalities. These old skillfully produced bonds and shares, surprise me over and over again. Do I succeed in taking you along the ride ?

To illustrate this article I picked a share from The West Flanders Railway Company which is related to my birthplace, Ypres. British investors from London founded the company in 1845 with a capital of 21,000,000 francs or 840,000 pounds. This certificate is hand-signed by the company officers William Parry Richards, William Goodenough Hayter, John Peter Fearon and William Jesse. The railway's engineers are none other than George Stephenson and his son Robert Stephenson. The share is issued to Member of Parliament William Edward FitzMaurice.  

One thing's for sure. If you want to learn about scripophily then start writing about it. As a bonus you will improve personal skills like writing, editing, proofreading, publishing, scanning and presenting images, and doing research online. All the way you meet wonderful people! 

For this anniversary occasion I wish I could treat you to a piece of chocolate cake, but instead I have put together the following : 
  • a new poll about collecting habits in scripophily, see here  
    • Participate, your inputs matter ! Share the poll on your social media channel with your collector friends wherever they may live.
  • my personal top 10 favorite articles from the past 10 years, see there 
  • and a little jigsaw puzzle,  see there .

Thank you for listening to this radio! 


The West Flanders Railway Company share shows a stunning vignette of an early train circling the coat of arms of the West Flanders province. A first line ran from Bruges to Courtrai, then to Ypres, and Poperinge. A second line started in Veurne to Tielt and from there either to Deinze or Aalter. 

Monday, May 4, 2020

The most valuable scripophily item hammered in 2019

What was the highest priced scripophily sale at auction in 2019 ? Was it a previously unseen Chinese Imperial bond, a pioneering British railway share, or one of Apple's founders shares personally signed by Steve Jobs ? None of these. It was a Dutch bond from the 17th century, and it was sold in HWPH's 52nd Auction, at Würzburg on 4 May 2019.

Top sale in 2019, reported by the International Bond and Share Society (IBSS), was a 6.5% bond issued by the Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie, also known as the VOC (Dutch East India Company). The bond, unnumbered and pen cancelled, measures about 32 x 21 cm. It was printed on handmade paper and issued, with signatures, on 25 April 1623 for 500 Flemish Pounds. 

If you want to know why this VOC bond certificate achieved a top price at auction, then you need to know what kind of company the VOC was.

The VOC started as a Dutch trading company. A number of competing pre-companies from the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands formed in 1602 the VOC with a capital of 6,440,200 guilders. The new company paid 25,000 guilders for a 21-year monopoly to explore, colonize and trade with the East Indies. 

This map from around 1665 shows VOC's tradezone. The Indian subcontinent is marked as 'MOGOL'. In the lower right corner you'll recognize 'HOLLANDIA NOVA', Australia. Click the image to enlarge : the small dots along the coast lines with names in black are the company's establishments. 
source : © Nationaal Archief Ref. 4.VEL-312, via Wikipedia 

The VOC built its own ships in Amsterdam, Middelburg, Zaandam but also near Batavia (Jakarta). Tsar Peter I of Russia worked incognito as a ship's carpenter at the VOC's shipyards in the Netherlands.

The company was involved in the production and trade of East Indian spices, sugarcane from Formosa, wine from South Africa and lots more. The Shoguns of Japan allowed the VOC as the only European partner to conduct business with. Japanese porcelain, then much in demand, came to Europe on a VOC ship.

In its overseas colonies, the VOC had governmental powers, including the ability to wage war, imprison and execute convicts. In some parts of the world, the VOC produced its own gunpowder like in its refinery at Chhapra, West Bengal, where it processed saltpeter from Patna.

Original bond and share certificates from the VOC are extremely rare. These tangible objects mark a striking period in the history of the world. A similar VOC bond like this was auctioned by HWPH in April 2014 for €30,000. In the auctioneer's May 2019 auction our VOC bond started with that ask price.    

In order to maintain control in and maximize profits from its overseas destinations the VOC did not hesitate to suppress locals with or without the help of the local rulers. At some point in the 17th century the VOC controlled all harbors in Asia. The company commanded then over hundreds of ships, a quarter of them warships, tens of thousands of employees and led a private army of 10,000 soldiers.

The fourth war between England and The Netherlands (1780-1784) caused problems for the VOC. The English had captured many VOC trading posts, and the company's ships were unable to arrive safely at the company's European harbors. VOC ships, loaded with valuable merchandise, were hijacked. The company lost money.

When the French invaded The Netherlands in 1795, the VOC could no longer operate. Almost 200 years after its founding, the company was liquidated in 1798.  

Dutch coins were not in demand in the East Indies, so the VOC was permitted to strike its own coins. 
source: no machine-readable author provided. Svdmolen assumed (based on copyright claims). / CC BY-SA via wikipedia 

The Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie was one of the first globally operating corporations. Being the first company listed on a stock exchange it applied a business model that still exists today.

The VOC founded trading posts and production settlements in today's South Africa, Mauritius, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Taiwan, China and Japan. Therefore, this VOC bond is one of the oldest known scripophily documents related to these countries.

Regardless its military operations, the company brought European ideas, technology and art to Asia, but equally the other way around. It opened up the world to the world.

Our bond certificate, lot 632 in the auction, was expected to realize at least €30,000. In fact, it turned out to be the best-selling item in the sale and the most expensive one sold at auction in 2019. Lot 632 was sold at €46,000, and that's without the buyer's premium.


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Top auctions in the scripophily market are extensively covered in Scripophily magazine, a publication by IBSS. The magazine brings you in-depth articles, compelling stories, and memorable personalities. A substantial part of the magazine is dedicated to reports on auctions that took place all over the world. Three issues per year discuss remarkable sales from over 70 auctions in this field of collecting.