Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Poll results - Collecting motives

Do you prefer Beauty or are you more satisfied with A Good Bargain? When it comes to collecting what do you prefer? 

On the occasion of this blog's 10th anniversary, I launched in May 2020 an online poll about five collecting motives :  
  • Scarcity
  • Beauty
  • A Good Bargain
  • Collection Completeness
  • and Historical Significance. 
These resulted in ten possible combinations: scarcity-beauty, scarcity-a good bargain, etc. For each combination the participant was asked to choose between one or both, in other words, which one he or she preferred.

I leave it up to you to decide to which collecting motive the above share corresponds. The Ford Motor Company of Canada gained all Ford patent rights and selling privileges to all parts of the British Empire other than Great Britain and Ireland. Its share shows the company's sales markets in the British Empire on both hemispheres. It was issued in 1932. That year Adolf Hitler obtained German citizenship, the Kreuger & Toll business empire collapsed, the Dow Jones Industrial Average reached its lowest level of the Great Depression and Gandhi, in jail, began his first anti-untouchability fast. 

I believed that the poll questions asked were relevant for banknote, coin, and stamp collectors as well. Thus, I promoted my poll also through the International Bond and Share Society (IBSS) and on a number of numismatic online audiences as well, such as CoinsWeekly, Numismatic Bibliomania Society’s E-Sylum newsletter, a IBNS discussion group, and several scripophily Facebook groups.

It took a few months, but all together 123 people cast their votes. In addition to questions on collecting motives, I started the poll with some general questions to have a better idea of the participants. 

Though poll participation was anonymous, I asked about the participant's country. People responded from at least 20 countries. Top 3 locations were USA, 29%, Germany, 16% and UK, 11%. See the Poll Participants table for the details. 

On the question Are you a member of a scripophily society? 41% replied they were not. But all 8 Belgian participants were members of a scripophily society, wonderful.

The next question queried the participants for their IBSS membership
  • 56% confirmed they were members. 
  • 28% said they were not and “didn’t care”.
  • The remainder, 15% or 19 participants, replied they were not IBSS members but “wanted to find out more about IBSS”. In this category we find 2 Belgians, 3 Germans, 1 Indonesian, 1 Dutchman, 1 Filipino, 2 Poles, 1 UK citizen and 6 Americans.

On the question How long have you been a collector of scripophily? 
  • 82% said ‘5 years or more’.  I'll call these group "the experienced" ones. 
  • 6% indicated they ‘did not collect scripophily’. 
  • 15 participants -12%- said ‘less than 5 years’. These are the "starters". Of the latter group, 5 were from the USA. Bravo!

Now what about the collecting motives? Which one is the absolute winner? Do we have the same results for the top 3 locations? Are there any differences between our "starters" and "the experienced" ? Let’s find out.

I used the following method to derive a ranking. For each one of the participants I counted how many times a motive was chosen in the participant’s comparisons. For example, if someone choose Beauty over Scarcity, then Beauty deserved one point, Scarcity zero. This led to 2460 scores : 123 participants * 10 pair comparisons * 2 motives.

And the winner is…
1 Collection Completeness, 332 points
2 Historical Significance, 323 pts
3 Scarcity, 260 pts
4 Beauty, 159 pts
5 A Good Bargain, 156 pts
The overall winner in the contest is Collection Completeness, closely followed by Historical Significance.  

But the numbers also revealed that there are a two nuances
  1. The group of the American respondents, 36 of them, however preferred Historical Significance above Collection Completeness
  2. When we analyze the results by the number of years a person is collecting, only one motive prevailed. All 15 participants collecting less than 5 years - our "starters" - strongly preferred Historical Significance above all the other preferences.

Who are the tailenders ? 
This might be a surprise but Beauty and A Good Bargain are apparently less important than the other ones when it comes to collecting motives. Even more, this finding applies to both our starters and the experienced. 

This Ford Canada share may trigger one or more collecting motives. There is a lot to tell about. As you can see in this vignette, the Indian subcontinent is marked. One of Ford Canada's subsidiaries was Ford India Private Ltd where production began in 1926. An extraordinary Ford model was used by Mahatma Gandhi after he settled in Sevagram in 1936. There was no road to Sevagram and during rains people had to walk in knee-deep mud to the place, or use an ox cart to get there. The industrialist Jamnalal Bajaj, a close associate of Gandhi, arranged for a special vehicle to transport VIPs to Sevagram. It consisted of a sawn-off rear half of an old Ford car, drawn by oxen. They called it the 'Oxford'. In 1941 automobile magnate Henry Ford would write Gandhi a letter to tell him how much he admired Gandhi. 

With this poll I did not reach collectors from South America, Africa and scripophily countries France, Russia, and China. It would be interesting to repeat the experiment on a future occasion and include a version in Spanish, French, Russian and Chinese.

My sincere thanks to all who participated and spread the word. I hope you found it as interesting as I did.

Happy New Year !


Previous posts

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Puzzling scripophily - No. 4

Unleash your detective skills !

Puzzle No. 4 leads to a novel. The correct solution reveals the novel's title and, of course, the name of the author. 

The following two visual clues may help you solve the puzzle. These are details from antique securities. Click the images to enlarge.

  • How to take part ? Submit your reply in the comments section of this post, or in any other way.
  • What's in it for you ? The first correct answer yields eternal fame. 
  • When will the solution be revealed ? Check this particular blog post 

Good luck and have fun !


Friday, December 4, 2020

Crossing Latin America by rail with SPINK

SPINK's Bonds and Shares Department has put its last sale of 2020 online. The auctioneer offers over 600 antique securities including an impressive set of bonds and shares from Latin American railway companies.  This online auction ends at 11 AM GMT on Dec 15, 2020.

Several bonds and shares from South American railroads are ready to be hammered at Spink's scripophily auction. The Central Argentine Railway issued this share in 1911. Railway construction started in 1863 with the building of the terminus in Rosario. Nearly 100 years later the Juan Perón administration nationalized the British owned railways in 1948. L(ot) 394 in the auction was printed by Waterlow and Sons. 

Spink and Son Ltd specialises in the auctioning of stamps, coins, banknotes, medals, autographs, books, wines and more. This time antique stocks and bonds from many countries go on the block. 

The Mexican International Railroad Company was formed in 1882 to link the Southern Pacific to the Mexican Central Railway. In 1910 the business was acquired by the government controlled National Railways of Mexico. This £100 specimen bond from 1897 was printed by American Bank Note Co., L435 

Major sections in the auction include Africa, Asia, Europe, Great Britain, the Americas, and the United States. Special interest themes that can be discovered are : Russian oil, American mining, Norway, British automobile builders, and more. 

The British entertainment section includes some historical items from the theatre, film and television world. Let's take a look at lot 335, a group lot of two specimen bonds from the Alexander Korda Film Productions Ltd company. Film director and producer Alexander Korda (1893-1956) became one of the leading figures in the British film industry. He founded London Films and became owner of British Lion Films. World famous is The Third Man which he produced in 1949.  

Abyssinian Corporation share certificate with vignette of elephant

The auction features over 60 lots of scripophily from the African continent. This share in the Abyssinian Corporation was issued in 1918. The British company was involved in trading activities with the Ethiopian Empire, then ruled by Empress Zewditu. Frederick Lugard, then Governor-General of Nigeria, signed the share as Director. His wife, the journalist and writer Flora Shaw coined the country's name "Nigeria", derived from the Niger river. Vignette of elephant and lion head, rare, L12 

The sale also provides an interesting cross-section of British motor cars and cycles. Here are some of the highlights with lot numbers : 

  • British Motor Company Ltd, preference shares, 1898, signed as director by Harry Hewitt Griffin, cycling journalist, editor of Bicycling News, and director of the New Beeston Cycle Co, L302
  • Argylls, Ltd, 1909, Scotland's largest car manufacturer before World War I, motor car vignette, L289 
  • Clément, Gladiator and Humber (France) Ltd, £1 shares, 1897, company in 1903 divided to form Clement Talbot in England and Clement Gladiator in France, L310

The British Motor & Engineering Company was based in Caversham, Reading where they produced four models between 1905 and 1907. One of these was a 6.5 h.p. two-cylinder two-seated car that sold at £105.  L303 

There is a lot more to discover! So, here are the sale's details : 
  • Location : online auction only
  • Date : ends on 15 December, 2020 at 11:00 AM
  • Further info : see Spink's online catalogue with full color images here 


bond from the Great Northern Central Railway of Colombia

The Great Northern Central Railway of Colombia was founded in 1907 and planned a first rail section between Puerto Wilches and Bucaramanga. This rare 5.5% £20 Mortgage bond, 1909, one of the South American railway certificates in the sale, illustrates the coat of arms of Colombia and a locomotive. L432 

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