Sunday, May 16, 2021

Scripophily : historic share certificates at SPINK auction

SPINK's Bonds and Shares Department recently put its next sale online. The auctioneer offers over 600 antique securities from Great Britain, USA, Russia, China, Rhodesia, Canada, and more. 

Antique bonds and shares often represent an important evolution in our industrial and financial history. With the help of artists, security printers produced these collectibles as little works of art.

L(ot) 79 in the auction is a share in the Compagnie Française de Tramways et d'Éclairage Électriques de Shanghaï.  Founded in 1906 the company built and operated the tramway network in the French concession of Shanghai. A first line opened in 1908 between Waitan and Xujiahui. Around the time this share was issued, 1929, its trams carried 60 million passengers. Bids start at £50

The British chapter consists of several sections such as metal mining, motorcar and cycles, railways, theatre and entertainment, a large series of tramway securities, and a rarely seen collection of taxi and bus operators.

Introduced in 1956 the red double-decker buses from London have become world famous. In the early 1900s bus companies replaced their horse-drawn buses with motorized versions. The London Power Omnibus was one of those. It operated routes in North London with Sterling motor buses from Edinburgh. This share, issued in 1906, shows two of its motor powered buses, one of them a double-decker. L313 in the auction possibly fetches £100

Collectors of Canadian scripophily will be pleased to see that several remarkable railway and automobile certificates are part of the offerings. A few examples :
  • The Chignecto Marine Transport Railway Company was set up to transport entire ships across the Isthmus of Chignecto. L416 
  • L427, Toronto, Grey and Bruce Railway Company, vignettes of steam train and steamboat, £100 bond issued 1884 and due after 999 years in 2883 ! 
  • Dominion Motors Limited, share certificate from 1931, rare, vignette of maple leaf and beaver

The Temiscouata Railway Company was chartered in 1885. A 113 miles line was completed from Rivière-du-Loup, Quebec, to Connor's, New Brunswick, in 1891. Poor's Manual of Railroads, Vol 26, 1893, reports for the year ending June 30, 1892, that TR's mileage reached 71,368 miles (1,130 for passengers), and 16,921 passengers and 24,294 tons of freight were moved. 
In 1950 the Canadian National Railway took over the operations of the Temiscouata Railway. In that same year, a USAF bomber dropped a nuclear bomb due to engine troubles near Rivière-du-Loup where TR had its principal office. The bomb was destroyed in a non-nuclear detonation before it hit the ground scattering nearly 100 pounds of uranium over the St. Lawrence River. 
This rare bond, possibly the only one known, was issued in 1890 for the St. Francis Branch of the railway. L426, bids accepted from £130 onwards

There is a lot more to see in the auction. A good number of Rhodesian scripophily is present. Australia has a nice section, and there are nearly 100 American mining certificates waiting for a new owner.

The Banque Commerciale de Palestine was established in 1909. This 2 Ottoman lira share shows the Dome of the Rock (Arabic: قبة الصخرة‎ , Hebrew: כיפת הסלע‎ ), the Islamic sacred place located on the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem. L84 in the auction

You can find more of these fascinating stocks and bonds in the SPINK online catalogue. Here are the auction details :
  • location & date : online only, this timed auction ends on : 26 May 2021, 11:00 AM
  • online catalogue see here  


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Thursday, May 13, 2021

Reference catalogue : Bulgarian bonds

Scripophily literature about Bulgaria is sparse, but that is changing. 

Author Pitt Alan has compiled the first edition of a two-part volume on Bulgarian state securities. The two works are digital publications. I will tell you more about that immediately, but let us first have a closer look at the content.

Part I Long Term Bonds 

The first volume gives an overview of known long term bonds issued by the Bulgarian governments. It consists of 185 pages in which about 180 bonds are described. Part I counts 150 color illustrations in medium resolution. This volume is written in English.

Each entry addresses the following characteristics : catalogue number, title, face value, maturity, coupons, description, watermark, printer, mintage, rarity and price indication (where possible). Here's an overview of the chapters :
  • A. Government and Bank Loans (the largest chapter)
    • Principality of Bulgaria 16 April 1879 - 22 September 1908
    • Kingdom of Bulgaria 22 September 1908 - 15 September 1946
    • People's Republic of Bulgaria 15 September 1946 - 15 November 1990
    • Republic of Bulgaria 15 Nov 1990 - present day
  • B. Municipal Loans
  • C. Loans of Commercial Enterprises
  • D. Loans of Political Organizations
  • E. Loans of Various Entities

After the Russo-Turkish War, 1878, the Bulgarian state was reestablished as the Principality of Bulgaria. Officially, a vassal state of the Ottoman Empire, the principality was de facto independent. This £20 = 500 Francs = 500 Leva specimen bond was printed in London by Bradbury, Wilkinson & Co. It was part of the State Redeemable 6% Loan of 1888. Cat. Nr. A.1

Part II Treasury Bills 

Volume II discusses treasury bills, short term bonds, issued by the successive Bulgarian governments. This volume counts 107 pages illustrated with 250 color illustrations (obverse and reverse) in medium resolution. Here, the author added more in depth information to each treasury bill issue. This volume is written in both English and Bulgarian. 

An overview of the chapters of the 2nd volume :
  • A. 1st period - Pre World War I State Treasury Bills for guarantee of external state loans
  • B. 2nd period - World War I State Treasury Bills for covering budget deficit, issued 1917-1920, representing internal state loans
  • C. 3rd period - Between the two World Wars, State Treasury Bills for covering reparations and for new military expenses
  • D. 4th period - World War II State Treasury Bills representing internal loans
  • E. 5th period - State Treasury Bills issued after the democratic changes of 1989

At the end of World War II the USSR invaded Bulgaria. In 1946 a communist one-party people's republic was instituted. Bulgaria became one of the founding members of the Comecon in 1949. This Council for Mutual Economic Assistance, under leadership of the Soviet Union, enabled Bulgaria to strengthen its economic relationships with other Eastern Bloc countries and socialist states. This 20 leva interest-free bond from the State Loan for Development of National Economy was issued in 1952. Cat. A.30 

This is a digital password protected publication. How does it work ?

The two volumes appeared only in a digital and password protected format, namely PDF. They are available from eBay seller BC43L currently at the price of $25,94 each. See here

After purchasing one of these items on eBay, the buyer receives by email a download link and a password. Once downloaded, you can open the PDF file after providing the password. Each volume is also 'custom-generated' : the name of the buyer is printed at the bottom of each page next to the page number. 

One last thing to know, unlike the images shown in this article, the images in the volumes have a subtle digital watermark.

This 5% 12-month treasury bill of 5000 Leva was issued in 1918. Cat. B.106 
After World War I there was a shortage of paper money. The Kingdom of Bulgaria started using treasury bills as paper money by having them overprinted and verified with the handwritten signatures of three government officials (inspector, controller and cashier). The text in blue overprint shown on the example says (source : Bulgarian bonds, Part II, Pitt Alan)
The bill has the power of banknote, just for the interior of the Kingdom. 
With term until 31 December 1922 and up to the value of the principal amount. 
Leva 5,000 five thousand 5,000 Leva. 
Bulgarian National Bank

Peter Anguelov wrote these two volumes under the pseudonym Pitt Alan. No doubt collectors of Bulgarian and even Ottoman and Soviet scripophily, as well banknotes, will be interested. 


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Sunday, May 9, 2021

Feuerwerk at HSK's May auction! Over 1400 antique stocks and bonds from Germany, USA and other states, go on the block

Hanseatisches Sammlerkontor für Historische Wertpapiere, HSK, has scheduled its next auction for 29 May 2021. Michael Weingarten and his team goes online with more than 1400 lots of historic bonds and share certificates. The sale features scripophily from Germany, USA, Russia and more. One of the highlights is a stunning and rare share in the Rochlitz coal mining association.

The Gründerzeit starts halfway the 19th century. During this period Germany's rail and transport network took off, and in its wake, the other industrial activities. However, government rules allowed only very few companies to be organized.  
The short-lived Steinkohlenbau-Verein zu Rochlitz was formed in 1855. Its interim share, a wonderful lithograph, shows at the top the city of Rochlitz and mining scenes on the left and the right. At the bottom we see gnomes at work and an explosion in their mine. Seldom seen in early prints you detect mined rock with imprints of fossilized plants. L(ot) 1168 in the auction is expected to realize at least €12,000 

Starting with this auction, HSK's 40th, the auctioneer decided to change its schedule. HSK auctions will now take place in the early summer period of the year. Also, participants have now the opportunity to follow the auctions live on the Internet via the Invaluable online platform. 

The Alaska Gold Syndicate Company was formed in 1896 under the laws of the Territory of Arizona. Its office was located in "the end of the road " Homer,  Kachemak Bay, Alaska. This 1898 stock certificate, with large hydraulic mining vignette, was printed by the Hamilton Bank Note Engraving & Printing Co. L15 in the auction.

The first major section in the event includes 330 lots of American scripophily. Noteworthy are several certificates from Alaska, as well as stocks from several shipping companies, such as L313, Union Navigation Company, L314, The United States and Azorean Steam Packet Company, and L318, The United States Mail Steamship Company. And there is a lot to go through for US railroad collectors as well, a few examples :
  • L67 Chester and Eddystone Street Railway, elk vignette
  • L199 The Natchitoches and Red River Valley Railway, rare
  • L329 The Wilmington, Charlotte and Rutherford Railroad Company, three vignettes, rare

Merchants from Bremen formed in 1856 Norddeutscher Lloyd, a precursor of the multinational TUI Group. This rare 100 Reichsmark share from 1929 illustrates the printing mastership of Giesecke & Devrient. Note how Norddeutscher Lloyd's logo, a crossed anchor and key with an oak leaf wreath, is included in both the left corner guilloches. The anchor represents the sea and the wreath stands for a united Germany. The key is the key of the Freie Hansestadt Bremen. L603 starts from €300 

HSK specializes in scripophily from North Germany. The sale counts about 200 lots from Bremen and Niedersachsen, over 100 lots related to Hamburg and more than 40 lots from Schleswig-Holstein and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. The Norddeutscher Lloyd share shown here is one example. Some others are :
  • L461 Aper Canal-Gesellschaft, 1849, what a shipping vignette! 
  • L478 Bremerhavener Strassenbahn, rare
  • L638 Uelzener Bierbrauerei-Gesellschaft, bond printed by Hofbuchdruckerei der Gebrüder Jänecke from Hannover 
  • Due to the spartan equipment of its ships and the notoriously poor catering, the Deutsch-Australische Dampfschiffs-Gesellschaft earned the nickname "the German-Austerity-Line". Its rare share from 1888 is one of the highlights in the auction, L671 

After World War I the Nürnberg area counted several competing brands of motorcycles such as Ardie, Mars and Zündapp.  Apparatebau AG Kracker & Co. produced in the early 1920s several lightweight motorcycles under the Abako brand. This specimen share, with hundreds of gears in the design, was produced in a striking Art Deco style by Graphische Kunstanstalt Zerreiss & Co. L828

The European section, lot range 365 through 452, includes historic items like a 1918 share in the Det-Østasiatiske Kompagni, L365, and, L409, Kaiser Ferdinands Nordbahn, 1856. And here is a representative of modern scripophily, Austrian Airlines.

In 1988 Austrian Airlines underwent an IPO upon the Vienna Stock Exchange. Yet the majority of shares in the company stayed with the Austrian government. L375, Austrian Airlines Österreichische Luftverkehrs-AG, Wien, 1000 Schilling share, 1988, starts at €100 

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


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