Friday, October 23, 2020

King of the Netherlands owned the Belgian economy : spectacular royal share in the Société Générale de Belgique auctioned in Antwerp

Mario Boone's 65th auction is set for Saturday 31 October and takes place live on the internet. Over 1,300 lots of antique stocks and bonds from all over the world span four centuries of financial history. Part of an extraordinary collection and highlight in the auction is a unique share in the Société Générale des Pays-Bas pour favoriser l'Industrie Nationale that once belonged to Willem I, King of the Netherlands. 

With the help of bankers from Brussels, Willem Frederik (1772-1843), King of the Netherlands, created in 1822 an investment bank, the Société Générale des Pays-Bas pour favoriser l'Industrie Nationale. Belgium was still under Dutch rule at that time. In 1830, when Belgium became an independent state, the Société Générale des Pays-Bas took the name Société Générale de Belgique. 

The Société Générale de Belgique played a major role in the industrial development of the country and its former colony Belgian Congo. After the independence of Belgium the company became the official banker of the kingdom until the National Bank of Belgium was formed in 1850. Under Leopold II, the investment bank financed industries in China, South America, Egypt and Russia. The Société Générale is now a part of the French multinational Suez. This certificat d'inscription was issued in 1841 for 4300 shares of 500 Dutch Florins to Willem I, King of the Netherlands. Lot 332 in the sale is expected to realize at least €12,000. 

The 'Willem I' share offered here is part of a set of rare and early Société Générale items, lots 329 - 347 in the auction. Each one of these are opportunities to enrich any serious Belgium scripophily collection. Included are the 1822 company statutes from the Alg. Ned. Mij. ter Begunstiging van de Volksvlijt (the company's Dutch name), a provisional share from 1837, a 500 Ned. Guldens share dated 1847, a Bradbury Wilkinson specimen, parts de reserve, and the like. 

The Compagnie du Chemin de Fer du Bas-Congo au Katanga was registered in Elisabethville, today known as Lubumbashi. This specimen share from 1949 is part of the Belgian Congo railway collection. Lot 204 

The sale includes more noteworthy collections. The Belgian Congo section counts about 80 lots, more than half of these come from a railway collection. The Dutch Indies consists of 40 lots, some of them group lots, and will interest collectors of sugar, tobacco, spices and rubber scripophily.

Northern Steamship Company Kotlas-Archangel-Murmask 
200 Roubels share, 1916, lot 1062, click the image to enlarge 

A large Russian section counts over 90 lots. Many of these antique securities were issued during the reign of tsars Alexander III and Nikolai II Alexandrovich Romanov. Some of the highlights :
  • Northern Steamship Company Kotlas-Archangel-Murmask, gorgeous vignette, see image above, L(ot)1062 
  • City of Arkhangelsk, 5000 Rbls bond, 1916, large denomination, L1064
  • Baku-Tiflis Oil Industry and Commerce Company, company operated in today's Azerbaijan and Georgia, temporary share for 1000 shares amounting to 1 million roubles, serial number 1, extremely rare, L1060
  • L1061, share from the Chinabad-Andijane Feeding Railroad Line, Uzbekistan, 1916
  • Kursk-Charkov-Azov Railway, £500 bond, 1888, L1002

The French city of Reims hosted in 1909 the Grande Semaine d'Aviation de la Champagne, the first international aviation meet. Aviation pioneers such as Glenn Curtiss, Louis Blériot, Louis Paulhan and Henri Farman participated. This share in the Aérodrome de la Champagne - Terrain d'Aviation de Reims-Bétheny was issued in 1910.  The artist Gournay may have attended the event and added different types of early aircraft to the design of the share. L643 

The catalog's comprehensive country index lists about 100 countries. In particular large sections are Dutch East Indies, Belgian Congo, Belgium, France, Germany, Russia, Spain and the USA. Scripophily from less obvious, often exotic places, like Papua New Guinea, Burma, Ethiopia, Monaco and El Salvador is present as well.

Printed by Imprenta Casa Misericordia this Minas de Cala share was issued in 1901, Bilbao. Its ingenious design of a carving incorporates all the important headings of a share certificate (company name, share capital, ..) as well as the arms of Huelva and Bilbao. L1108 starts at €50 

There is much more to discover in the auction. Here are the auction details :
  • Location : Internet only
  • Date : 31 October 2020
  • Further info : 


The share from the Compañia de Seguros Maritimos de la Habana, dated 1857, features this stunning vignette. Click to enlarge. L1210, see the Cuban section of the auction

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