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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