Wednesday, February 10, 2021

F.H.W. auctions 1900 lots of historic securities in online event. Scripophily from Germany and Austro-Hungarian Empire substantial.

Freunde Historischer Wertpapiere (FHW) has scheduled its 119th sale for February 20, 2021. This time auctioneer Jörg Benecke and his team selected nearly 1900 lots of historic bonds and share certificates. Major sections have been reserved for scripophily from the USA, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and of course Germany.

The auction starts with the American scripophily section, over 240 lots, the bigger part being railway securities. 

L(ot) 41 is an uncancelled! stock certificate from The Cincinnati, Portsmouth & Virginia Railroad Company. Henry Fink signed in 1903 this share as President. He was born in Germany and was called the "Dean of Railroad Men", a title he earned for his continuous service in the railroad field. Fink started his career in 1851 as a rodman on the Western Maryland Railroad. Within several railroad companies he climbed up from construction engineer and master of transportation all the way to vice president, general manager, and receiver. Henry Fink wrote several works on transportation subjects.

Here are some other interesting US railway lots : 
  • L44, The Cincinnati, Washington & Baltimore Railroad, 5% First Income Mortgage Bond, $1000, 1883, rare 
  • The Tyrone and Clearfield Railway Company share from 1867, L221, displays a lovely railway vignette and is signed by John Edgar Thomson best know for his leadership of the Pennsylvania Railroad. Thomson, an entrepreneur but also a reknown civil engineer co-designed what became known as "Horseshoe Curve".
  • L29, The Central Pacific Railway Company, $500 4% First Refunding Mortgage Gold Bond, 1899, color print by ABN with portrait of Collis Potter Huntington, rare 

One of the main roles in FHW's event is played by k.u.k. and its successor states (Nachfolgestaaten). The Austro-Hungarian Empire (1867-1918) comprised Austria, Hungary and parts of todays Italy, Serbia, Croatia, Romania, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Poland and Ukrain. It was the second-largest country in Europe after the Russian Empire at over 620,000 km2. The "kaiserlich und königlich" refers to "imperial (Austria)" and "royal (Hungary)".  The sale features over 300 k.u.k. lots including this lovely fire engine share.

L507 is a 100 Forint share from the Tarnóczy Tűzoltószer- És Gépgyár Részvenytársasag, in English: Tarnóczy Fire engine and Machine Company. Issued in Budapest, 1891, it shows the company's factory, hand-operated fire engines, lathes, a blacksmith and a firefighter with firehose. 

The lion's share of new offerings can be found in two major sections of the auction: Germany before, and, after 1945. The former counts 272 lots, the latter - the "DM" part - features 495 lots. As good as all regions and economic themes are represented. I checked out the catalog reference index on 'breweries and malthouses' and found tens of entries ! 

The economy of West Germany developed rapidly after World War II. This "Wirtschaftswunder" created a heavy demand for steel. German post-WWII securities are often artistically designed. Modern German steel scripophily counts perhaps the most stunning examples. Check FHW's catalog for L1816 Stahlwerke Peine-Salzgitter, L1542 Dortmund-Hörder Hüttenunion and L1641 Hüttenwerke Phoenix. This 1000 DM specimen share in the Rheinisch-Westfälische Eisen- und Stahlwerke AG dates from 1953, L1764 in the sale. Click image to enlarge

Top German item in the sale is L1223, a founders share from 1838 in the Gesellschaft für Spinnerei & Weberei in Ettlingen, the first public limited company in the German cotton industry. The share shows the detailed floor plan of the factory and its usage of hydropower from the Alb, a tributary of the Upper Rhine. The company is known today as ETTLIN AG and still manufactures fabric and technical textiles. 

You want to inspect the "50%" lot range 688-1126. Here, unsold lots from previous sales are offered again at 50% of the original start price. Included are also bonds and shares from the Dr. Werner P. Schmidt Automobile and China Collection.  

From the Dr. Werner P. Schmidt Automobile Collection, L881 consists of two Volvo shares from the 1930s. Volvo was founded in 1927 as a subsidiary of the ball bearing manufacturer SKF. The share shown here bears the facsimile signature of SKF founder Sven Wingqvist. 

There is a lot to discover in the sale, so here are the details :


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