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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