Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Over 1500 lots of historic securities go on the block in FHW's upcoming sale, including an amazing share from Frederick the Great's Chinese trading company !

Freunde Historischer Wertpapiere (FHW) has scheduled its next sale for October 8, 2022. This time the auctioneer selected more than 1500 lots of historic bonds and share certificates. Major sections have been reserved for scripophily from Germany, the German DM era, USA and a series of more than 200 lots from other countries worldwide.

One of the highlights in the sale is this share in the Hippodrom-A.-G. Frankfurt am Main. The company was founded in 1897. Its main building was used to promote equestrian sports in public events and festivities and had the largest indoor riding arena of Germany. Allied bombing destroyed the hippodrome during WW II. Reportedly only four of these shares were discovered in the 1980s. L(ot) 756 in the auction is expected to realize €2,800. 

The German chapter presents over 750 lots from the pre-DM period and covers all regions and branches. A dedicated Deutschland Top 20 section, lot range 748-767, bundles the high-end items.  The auction also includes the Klaus H Reifenrath Collection consisting of 69 rare Kux and mining shares from the Siegerländer Erzrevier mining area.

The auction includes several shares designed in Art Deco. This one, issued in 1922 by the Mechanische Buntweberei J. Sim. Fleißner Aktiengesellschaft, a textile company from Münchberg, illustrates one of the company's modern fabric designs. L730 starts at €100. 

All lots are well-illustrated with high quality images on the Invaluable online platform. However, the Top 20 section includes even more in-depth information with extra illustrations in the catalog's PDF version (links see further below). 

Some examples from the German chapter  :
  • The Central-Afrikanische Seeen-Gesellschaft operated gold mines and saltworks in the African Great Lakes region, then part of German East Africa. Seeen is German for lakes. This 1000 mark share was issued in Hamburg, 1902 and starts at €900, L384.
  • The 1855 share from the Steinkohlenbau-Verein zu Rochlitz, a coal mine company, shows the city of Rochlitz, gnomes at work and an explosion in their mine, mined rock with imprints of fossilized plants and lots more. Extremely rare, this is in my opinion the most awesome German share certificate. L763, a top item, starts at €9,000.
  • L926 starts at €320. The share from the Sundwiger Eisenhütte Maschinenbau-Actiengesellschaft displays a lovely Jugendstil design.

Time to highlight the absolute top item in the auction.

Four years after Frederick the Great became King in Prussia he annexed in 1744 the independent city-state of Embden (Emden), then the most important trade port on the North Sea. Eager to give Prussia a share of the Asian trade similar to the V.O.C. or the British East India Co., Frederick the Great granted the privilige in 1751 to found the Emden Trading Company
The company, also known as the Königlich Preußische Asiatische Compagnie in Embden nach Canton und China (Royal Prussian Asiatic Company in Emden to Canton and China) was allowed to conclude contracts with foreign Asian rulers in the name of the King of Prussia. The Emden company owned four ships that made six voyages to Canton bringing back tea, porcelain and other goods. 
The company operated independently - the king's main interest was filling the Prussian (war) treasury - and became the first modern German stock corporation, i.e. without state influence.

The share, L760 in the auction, issued in 1752 for 500 Reichsthaler in Friderichs d'Or is the oldest German share known. 
It is also the oldest share in the German language. A complete translation of the text on the obverse, as well as a hint on its non-German provenance, can be found in the latest issue of Scripophily magazine, No. 119 August 2022. 
The clipping shown here says [..the Company's ships which shall sail] to Canton in China as well as other places in India .. . The document must be the oldest known share mentioning the word China as well. Start price €50,000.

The sale's Deutsche Mark section comprises of more than 230 lots, including a Top 20 chapter. To mention a few : L1146 is a 20 shares certificate in the Erste Kulmbacher Actienbrauerei AG (EKU), 1990, showing the company's logo with crown and prize medals, €75; L1249 Teutoburger Wald-Eisenbahn-Gesellschaft, Hamburg, 1951, unissued share, starts at €200. 

The Aachener Kleinbahn-Gesellschaft and the Rheinischen Elektricitäts- und Kleinbahnen AG merged in 1942 into the Aachener Strassenbahn und Energieversorgungs-AG (ASEAG). The company provided local public transport in the Aachen city region. During the Battle of Aachen, 1944, Allied troops used tramcars loaded with explosives and ammunition as rolling bombs on the sloping routes from Siegel and Grundhaus to the city center, which, however, caused little damage. This share, from 1954, shows a high voltage power pole and tram car in the underprint. Bids for L1088 are welcome from €40 onwards. 

The USA section features more than 200 lots. Here are some interesting examples to look for:
  • L1429 is stock certificate in the Lamb's Run Oil Company coming from an old collection. Printed by Chandler from Philadelphia, 1865, it shows two vignettes of early oil derricks. The company was incorporated in Venango County, Pennsylvania where the biggest oilboom sparked only a few years earlier. €100
  • Confederate States of America, 8% $100 bond from 1862, large vignette of the city of Richmond and portrait of C. G. Memminger, L1378, €300
  • €380 may buy you a Laramie, Hahns Peak and Pacific Railway Company 100 common shares certificate issued in 1912. The company was incorporated in Wyoming. The shares of this company are illustrated with 3 vignettes of a locomotive, lumberjacks and miners at work, Cox cat nr LAR-083-S-51. L1430

This share from the Compañia Ron Bacardi can be found in the sale's Ausland section (foreign countries). The company was founded in 1862 in Cuba and became worldwide known for its white rum and derived cocktails such as the Cuba Libre and the Daiquiri. The share depicts bats, the company logo, a bottle of Bacardi rum and many of its prize medals won at contests. It is issued to Emilio Bacardi y Rossell, great grandchild of Facundo Bacardi Massó, founder of Bacardi, and grandchild of Emilio Bacardi Lay, mayor of Santiago de Cuba. Note that the certificate was issued in 1955 during the Cuban Revolution. The Bacardi family left the country in 1960 after the government confiscated the company's assets in 1960. L102 starts at €150. 

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


PS : Did you like this post ? Thank you for sharing it on you favorite social media channel !

Monday, September 5, 2022

Puzzling scripophily - No. 7

Unleash your detective skills !

Puzzle No. 7 is about a remarkable person. The correct solution reveals this person's first and last name.

The following three visual clues may help you solve the puzzle. These are images of antique stock certificates.
  • 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 in a few weeks again.

image courtesy HWPH 

Good luck and have fun !


Previous posts

Monday, August 22, 2022

HWPH auctions Friedrich Wilhelm III scripophily, a VOC bond from the Dutch Golden Age and nearly 2000 lots of historic stock certificates.

Historisches Wertpapierhaus AG (HWPH) scheduled its next double-session sale for 3 and 4 September 2022. For this occasion specialist Matthias Schmitt and his team brought together some 2,000 lots of scripophily and related documents . 

Included are several top-notch items such as a unique share from the Preussische See-Assecuranz-Compagnie issued to King Frederick William III of Prussia and one of the oldest securities from the mother of all joint stock companies, a Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie bond from 1623. 

L(ot) 568 in the auction is this wonderful share from the Actien-Verein für den zoologischen Garten zu Dresden. The Dresden Zoo opened in 1861 and was bombed in World War II by the Allies. Reopened in 1946 it now welcomes about 1 million visitors per year. This 50 thaler share from 1863 starts at €1800. 

The first leg of the auction is both a live and an online event and takes place in Zorneding, near Munich. The second part is an online only sale and happens the next day. 

A major part of the offerings consists of antique bonds and shares from Germany, spread over several sections in both parts of the event. Among several German highlights you'll find these two :

  • A radical democratic anti-monarchist, Gustave Struve's Gesellschaft deutscher Republikaner tried to finance the German revolutions of 1848-1849 with the issue of bonds. L515 is one of these rare certificates. Illustrated with several allegorical vignettes, it is propably the earliest known scripophily showing the colors of Germany's flag.
  • AEG, worldwide known today for its eponymous home appliances brand, originated as the Deutsche Edison-Gesellschaft für angewandte Elektrizität. The auction features a 1883 share from this company, L538. The company changed its name change into Allgemeine Elektricitäts-Gesellschaft. L539 is a share, 1887, from the first issue using the new name. Both are extremely rare. 

Perhaps the most spectacular object in HWPH's auction is this share in the Preussische See-Assecuranz-Compagnie. The company provided insurances against sea and fire risks and was organized in Szczecin, Poland, then capital of the Prussian Provence of Pomerania. The share shows a three-master with the flag of Prussia (click image) and is issued in 1825 to Frederick William III King of Prussia (1797-1840). He joined the coalition against Napoleon, and unified the Protestant churches in Prussia. Tsar Nicholas II of Russia and Kaiser Wilhelm II are two of his grandchildren. L546, a unique historic document from Germany's and Poland's prehistory, is expected to realize €25,000 

The sale includes many more lots from all over the world. The auction's online catalog allows searching for your interests by means of country as well as thematic indexes. I tried out Luftfahrt (aviation) which refered to several airline companies : 
  • Linhas Aereas Paulistas S.A. (LAP), Brazil map vignette, L68
  • Lloyd Aereo Boliviano, L69, La Paz, aircraft vignette
  • Badisch-Pfälzische Luft-Hansa A.G. Mannheim, L221
  • Cathay Pacific Airways Limited, L734
  • Japan Air Lines Company, Ltd., L770 and L771

Founded as Pan American Airways in 1927, Pan Am became the largest international airline of the USA in the 20th century. Its advertisements and so-called "Clippper" airplanes featured in movies like 2001: A Space Odyssey, Live and Let Die, Blade Runner and Catch Me If You Can. The company ceased operations in 1991 and reincarnated several times. The Pan Am Corporation owned and controlled the airline and services division. This share was issued in 1998 to scripophily pioneer Wilhelm H. Kuhlmann. Bidding on L1761 starts at €50  

There is plenty to discover in HWPH's auction catalogs. The live auction concludes with a meeting for EDHAC members. Here are the details of the event:
  • Dates
    • 3 September 2022, Zorneding, Germany, public auction
    • 4 September 2022, online auction
  • Further info and catalogs, see here on HWPH
  • Live bidding is possible through, see here, where you can find high quality images of the lots.

Collectors of 18th century scripophily, and even older items, will find more than 50 entries in their category. The most iconic lot is a 1623 bond for 1000 Flemish Pounds from the Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie (V.O.C.), aka Oost-Indische Compagnie aka Dutch East India Company.  Securities from this historic company are extremely rare and considered the crème de la crème in our field. Why can be read on this blog here. In 2019 HWPH auctioned a similar bond, issued for 500 Flemish Pounds, at €46,000 without buyer's premium. L500 starts at €40,000. 


Did you like this post ? Thank you for sharing it on you favorite social media channel !

Saturday, July 2, 2022

Gigantic : Moody's Industrial Manual

"Moody's Industrial Manual for 1963 is the most comprehensive source of information on industrial corporations and enterprises available to the banker, investor, analyst and business executive."
Introduction, Moody's Industrial Manual 1963

The Moody's manuals are a treasure for scripophily researchers. They contain tons of information about the companies from which we collect antique stocks and bonds.

The American John Moody (1868 – 1958) was a financial analyst and investor. In 1900 he published his first manual providing details and ratings of company and government bonds. In 1909 he founded Moody's Investors Service to produce yearly manuals like the one illustrated here. 

Featured in the Industrial Manuals are thousands of profiles of industrial companies, mainly from the USA but also from Canada, Great Britain and other countries. For instance, Siemens & Halske, Honda Motor Co., Heijn (Albert), Ontario Steel Products Co., SIMCA Industries, Rolls-Royce and Montecatini are a few of the many non-American entries in the illustrated 1963 edition.

Here's an excerpt from a profile from the Stanley Aviation Corp, an aircraft equipment manufacturer. This is one of the smallest entries in the book. Medium-sized and large companies are listed with much bigger profiles, up to several pages. For instance, R. H. Macy & Co., Inc., is described in four pages; E. I. Du Pont de Nemours & Co. fills six pages.

The entries consists of : a company history, its capital structure, background, mergers and acquisitions, company name changes, subsidiairies, plants and properties, employee statistics, officers and directors, business activities and products, operating statistics, balance sheets, and much more. 

These books are gigantic. Issue 1963 measures about 21,5x28,5 cm, or 8.5x11.2 inch, and counts 3028 pages. It's thickness is 10,5 cm or 4.1 inch. It weighs 5 kg or 11 lbs. Don't put any of these on your flatbed scanner ! Some year editions are even bigger and consist of two volumes : monstrous. 

Illustrated below is an extract from the Alphabetical Index in the 1963 edition. The index section counts 114 pages with each page referring to about 130 company names ! 

I use manuals like this for looking up company details and identifying hard to read signatures. Let's try this with a 1960s specimen share from The Bendix Corporation

The manual has three pages on this company: 

"Incorporated in 1929 as the Bendix Aviation Corp., the company adopted its present name in 1960. Bendix and its subsidiaries produce a wide line of aviation, automotive, missile, electronic, marine, space and automation products, .."

What about the signature of Bendix' chairman ? Note that this is a facsimile signature, which is a reproduction by engraving, printing (like this example) or stamping of the manual signature.

The manual lists for Bendix over twenty officers and directors. One of them, our match, is listed both as Exec. Vice-President and Director : A. P. Fontaine. This information in turn allows me to find out more about the person :

Athanas P. Fontaine (1905-1989) was a pioneering airplane designer. After graduating in aeronautical engineering, he helped designing the Aeronca C-1, the first lightweight passenger plane in the US. An aircraft designer and project engineer he worked for several aircraft companies such as Fairchild Aircraft Corp and Republic Aircraft Corp. 
A. P. Fontaine headed Bendix' aircraft division in 1944 but left in 1946 and returned in 1952 to become director of engineering. He was chairman and chief executive of Bendix from 1965 to 1972. source: The New York Times, May 17, 1989

These books are valuable research tools. Unfortunately very few have been digitized. On this Moody's Manual Wikipedia page you'll find several links to editions from the 1910s and 1920s. A few of them actually lead to a fully browsable digitized version.


Previous posts

Thursday, June 23, 2022

Spink's summer scripophily sale brings us to New Zealand, Mexico and beyond

Precisely 496 lots of scripophily will go on Spink's E-block. At stake are antique stocks and bonds from all continents. Large sections are reserved for scripophily from Australia, New Zealand, Great Britain, Latin America and the USA. This online sale already took off at 17:00 June 16. The bidding window closes on Jul 5 at 11:00. 

This is L(ot) 182 from the European section. The Société Française de Phonographes "La Fauvette" was incorporated in 1900 in Paris. The company's major product was "La Sirène", an early cylinder gramophone player that could play "Ideal" (large format) cylinders with a duration of up to 12 minutes.  La Sirène is depicted on this 1902 share, together with a fauvette (warbler bird). 

Spink's upcoming sale features many bonds and shares from Australia, New Zealand, and even one from the British Solomon Islands. A few examples : 
  • L5 is 5 shares certificate in The Railway Construction and General Development Company (Tasmania) from 1901. 
  • The Butcher's Reef North Gold Mining Company, Bear Hill, New South Wales, shares, 1889, bold red, purple and gold printing, L11
  • The share from the South Australian Oil Wells Co shows a large vignette of an oil field. The company operated in Gippsland, Victoria, and reported test drills in the 1940s at a depth of over 4,000 feet. L29

New Zealand is represented by more than 40 lots, several from gold mining companies. L76, a share from The Maoriland Gold Mines Ltd, was issued in 1896. 

The British chapter consists of several sections: railways, canals and shipping, government, banking and insurance, bridges, commercial, industrial, mining, automobiles and cycling, newspaper and publishing. Let's mention some entries:
  • Railway enthusiasts will love the 1875 issued share in The Gorsedda Junction and Portmadoc Railways Company, Wales. Rare, L228 depicts a double-ended steam locomotive, a "double Fairlie".  
  • L290 contains lots of history: a share in The London Clinic and Nursing Home Ltd from 1929. The London Clinic is one of the UK's best private hospitals and has treated many famous names such as Charlie Chaplin. It was here that Chilean dictator General Augusto Pinochet was arrested in 1998. 
  • L264 consists of a group of three shares in the Associated Newspapers Ltd. Today known as DMG Media. This media holding publishes the Daily Mail, Metro, New Scientist, the Irish Daily Mail and many more. 

The Normal Powder and Ammunition Company Ltd, ordinary shares, 1898, company logo with rifles and canon repeated in the embossed seal, L292, click image to enlarge 

The USA chapter is split into 5 sections: automobiles and aviation, commercial and industrial, government, mining and railways. Here are some of the interesting lots noted :
  • The Duquesne Incline Plane Co., Pittsburgh, PA, incorporated in 1876 with a capital of $40,000 consisting of 800 shares of $50. This certificate, from 1877, was issued for 20 shares. The company built a funicular on Mount Washington that ran at a grade of up to 30.5 degrees. L480 
  • Several $1000 6% Territory of Florida bonds from 1838, several vignettes, are offered. L360 through L368.
  • L440 is a $5 Class B stock certificate in The North Carolina Gold Mining and Reduction Company, Philadelphia 1882, uncommon vignet of miners at work and railway bridge.

A section of 60 lots includes scripophily from Argentina, Brazil, Columbia, Cuba, Honduras and many more Latin American countries. Several Mexican railway certificates will pass in review, including this Ferrocarriles de Toluca á Tenango y San Juan, 1907. It is part of a trio, each one printed with a distinct denomination and in different colours, but all with the same great locomotive vignette. L331 

There is lots more to discover in this sale, so here are the details :
  • Location : this is an Internet only sale
  • Date : Jun 16 17:00 - Jul 5 11:00, 2022
  • Further info : see here 


PS : Did you like this post ? Thank you for sharing it on your favorite social media channel !

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Schweizer Finanzmuseum celebrates its 5th Anniversary

In its Permanent Exhibition the Swiss Finanzmuseum explains the origins of the economic system and the role of the stock market. This unique museum is home to a collection of 10,000 historic securities from more than 150 countries. 

Key historical pieces, combined with interactive videos and animations, historical film recordings and interviews, tell the story of the development of our modern financial economy. The museum, since 2017 located at the new headquarters of SIX in Zurich, celebrates its 5th Anniversary.

Schweizer Finanzmuseum
view on the Permanent Exhibition 
image courtesy Schweizer Finanzmuseum

The museum welcomes the public to its Open Day on July 2, 2022 from 11 am to 3 pm with a dedicated program : 
  • 11 am - 12 pm: Combined tour (permanent and special exhibition), in German
  • 12h30-1 pm: Guided tour through the special exhibition Sport & Geld, in German
  • 1 pm -1h30 pm: Guided tour through the special exhibition Sport & Geld, in English 
  • 2 pm - 3 pm: Combined tour (permanent and special exhibition), in German

Participants of the Open Day should register here

This stunning 500 Lire share from Pirelli, printed by the Milan-based security printer Brevetti Calcografia e Cartevalori was issued in 1947. It is one of several antique shares on display in the Sport & Geld special exhibition. Pirelli, one of the top tyre manufacturers in the world, sponsored sport competitions since the start of the 20th century. Its financial backing was/is important to e.g. the FIA Formula One World Championship, football club Inter Milan, the Chinese Super League (football), the Hungarian Grands Prix (motorsport) and the Alpine World Ski Championship. 
image courtesy Schweizer Finanzmuseum 

The current special exhibition Sport & Geld shows why money plays such an important role in sports. Using the sports of Formula 1, tennis, equestrian sports, soccer and skiing, the exhibition gives a glimpse of the financial aspect of physical exercise. Sport & Geld can be seen until July 15, 2022. On display here are a dozen historical shares. 

The museum then closes for the conversion up to and including August 25, 2022. Its new special exhibition Banks in Transition: from Counters to Apps will features securities as well.  The opening of this new exhibition is planned for the end of August.

More info can be found here (German), or there (English).


Sunday, June 5, 2022

The smallest company in terms of equity capital, is it ?

How much money do you need to start up a company ? How much money do you need to organize an airline ? Apparently, not that much.

Here is a share certificate from Croydon Airways Limited. The company was organized with a capital of only £100. 

The world's first airport air traffic control system with control tower and radio position-fixing procedures was developed at Croydon Airport. During the interwar period Croydon Airport was UK's only international airport, the home base of Imperial Airways. 

Former Surrey Flying Services pilot Tim Woods founded Croydon Airways in 1936. The business owned two De Havilland Dragonfly airplanes. Flight services to Paris were provided. 

The company's capital was divided into 100 £1 shares. Take a look at the certificate's image above. The certificate bears serial number 1 and represents 50 shares. In other words, it stands for 50% of the company's capital. 

The Croydon–Le Bourget route (to Paris) was then the busiest in the world. Yet, the company was already in receivership the next year. Undercapitalization may have been the reason.


Do you know of shares from even smaller capitalized companies ?

Previous posts 

Sunday, May 22, 2022

Collecting antique stock certificates ? Go to the next level with Scripophily magazine !

Scripophily magazine is the world’s most comprehensive and insightful publication for passionate collectors and researchers of antique securities. Its 2022 April issue brings over 50 pages of scripophily news, in depth articles, book reviews, pictures of collector friends, auction reports and quality images of stunning, historic and rare stocks and bonds.

Scripophily magazine is illustrated with tons of gorgious stock certificates. This one from The Cincinnati Edison Electric Company is featured in the Deutsche Bank trilogy (© HIWEPA). The company was incorporated in the state of Ohio. Its $1 million capital was represented by 10,000 shares of $100. This certificate, issued in 1892 to the Deutsche Bank of Berlin, for 3,333 1/3 shares, represents a third of the capital. Image by Horst Klophaus 

Compelling tales, business plot twists and memorable personalities keep you spellbound. Scripophily magazine uncovers the stories of historic and artistic securities. In addition, reports from the auction markets help you to stay up-to-date. This periodical is the flagship of The International Bond and Share Society (IBSS) and appears three times a year.

Here is a summary on the topics brought in the latest issue :
  • Piers and Seaside Entertainment, interview with a collector 
  • Book review : Stamp Taxes in Nevada I. Silver Fever! Nevada Territory Stock Certificates, 1863-4, author Michael Mahler 
  • Book review : Michigan Copper Mining Stocks and Bonds, Part II, author Lee Degood
  • El Partido Revolucionario Cubano, a rare but fake bond emerged 
  • The Insanity Spreads, NFT technology flirts with Scripophily 
  • Dispatches from the Front, Bits and Pieces, market concerns with the Russo-Ukrainian War 
  • The Greenawalt Donation : Interview with David Mihaly of the Huntington Library 
  • Charles V Bond with phenomenal Face Value emerges (Spain)
  • Standing on the Shoulders of Giants, Terry Cox reflects on his US railway project 
  • The Howe Sound Co, copper mining in British Columbia 
  • Selling the Security, member contributions with share certificates promoting the business 
  • Studebaker, the family, stocks and bonds, and legacy
  • Deutsche Bank Part I : The History of "Deutsche Bank AG"
  • Boomtimes in the German Sugar Industry : 1850-1885 

On top of that the issue brings results and analysis on more than 20 auctions that took place during the preceding period in Germany, USA, China, Switzerland, UK, and other countries. You'll find out which auctions took place, what collecting themes are currently in demand and what price results are achieved for top pieces.

Subscribing to Scripophily magazine brings you valuable free extras: 
  1. The IBSS Directory brings you in contact with fellow collectors. Many of those are experts in their field, often share common interests with you, and possibly live nearby. The Directory contains members from more than 40 countries. 
  2. Upcoming events : Learn which auctions, collector bourses and society meetings will take place.
  3. Locate dealers and auctioneers : The Membership Directory also contains a list of dealers and auctioneers with further contact details. Most  auctioneers and dealers publish their catalogues either online or on paper.
  4. Access to the Experts : Being part of the International Bond and Share Society (IBSS) has provided me access to a network of experts in a variety of specialties related to the collection of Stocks and Bonds, always willing to led a hand and point me in the right direction.
  5. Access to all content on the IBSS website, including digital versions of previous issues of Scripophily magazine, the online forum, special theme galleries, and the like. 
  6. Newsflashes on the website focus on hot topics that can't wait for the next issue of the magazine. 
  7. Get extra credibility : being listed as a member is a good reference in any deals made remotely with parties previously unknown. 
A 1-year subscription only costs £25 or $35 or €28. The magazine is published by IBSS. More info : 


Related links

Sunday, May 8, 2022

HSK's upcoming auction in Hamburg features more than 1100 lots of historic securities

28 May is the day when HSK's 41st auction takes place in Hamburg. This time HSK brought together more than 1100 scripophily lots. Bonds and shares from Berlin real estate developers, the Wolfgang Tartz collection, are part of many top-quality items included in this sale.

The event starts with a talk by Claus Müller titled The beginnings of the Russian mining industry in Ukraine, financed with foreign capital. After the auction a collector's bourse precedes a joint dinner.

From the American auction section,  L(ot) 62 is a rare bond from The Colorado Bonanza and Union Tunnel and Mining Company issued in 1891. The company was founded that year to dig for Colorado gold in Gilpin County. The upper vignette shows its mining operations near Bates Hill and Maryland Mountain. Remarkable, a cross-section of that same view tells us about the Bonanza and Union tunnels that were to be excavated. 

Scripophily from all continents is represented in the auction. Major sections are dedicated to America and Germany with in particular Bremen & Niedersachsen, Hamburg, Schleswig-Holstein & Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.

Some noteworthy items from the European section :
  • L256 is a 1886 share in the Compagnie Générale des Bateaux Parisiens with riverboat vignette. The company operated commuter riverboat services around Paris. 
  • Illustrated with a Roman! pyramid, L298 is a lovely share certificate from the Public-Auto SA per il Servizio delle Automobili da Piazza in Roma e Altrove, a public transport company in Rome.
  • The Manchester Race Course Association share from 1848 features a detailed vignette of the company's grandstand, L287. 

The Eidgenössische Bank AG, aka Banque Fédérale SA, Zürich, was one of the most important Swiss commercial banks. It became part of the Schweizerische Bankgesellschaft (SBG) in 1945 (later UBS). The sale features two of the company's sought-after share certificates. L260, dates from 1893, see image, and  L261, from 1917. 

Before I discuss the Berlin real estate developers collection, let me point out some interesting German certificates :
  • L881, a "Stamm" (Kux, mining share) in one of the earliest mercury mining companies from Germany is a top item in HSK's auction. The share in the Quecksilberwerke am Lemberg, issued in 1846, shows excavation activities, the smelting of mercury ore, and is adorned with leaf scrollwork in beautiful blue printing. Check the word 'STAMM' in detail : each letter is designed as a trunk (another meaning of the word STAMM). A very rare, small work of art.
  • Carosseriewerke Schebera Aktiengesellschaft from Berlin dealt in automobiles and produced car bodies. The 1922 specimen share, L692, illustrated with a horse carriage and two of the company's automobiles, bears the facsimile signature of Jacob Schapiro, car dealer, taxi entrepreneur and stock market speculator, who became a large shareholder of Daimler-Benz.
  • Art Deco enthousiasts will love L941, a 1923 issued share from the Textil-Kunst Aktiengesellschaft from Dresden.

Architect Ludwig Richard Seel designed the city hall for Königsberg, known today as the Russian city of Kaliningrad. Seel is known for building the Parliament and Ministry of Justice in Tokyo. Königsberg's city hall, completed in 1912 and illustrated on this Stadthalle Königsberg share from 1907, included concert halls, a restaurant and a cafe. During the Nazy era, many artists lived in Königsberg to work independently of state control. The building was destroyed in World War II. Restored in the 1980s, it is now home to the Kaliningrad Regional Museum of History and Arts. L930 

The Wolfgang Tartz Collection counts over fifty bonds and shares from Berlin real estate development and property companies.  The collection was assembled over a period of many decades. Lot range 570 through 624.
Between 1750 and 1850 Berlin's population tripled to over 400,000 people. In 1871 Otto von Bismarck unified Germany. Berlin, the capital of the new German Empire, became the center of politics on the European continent. Von Bismarck created a favorable investment climate for the city's development. A large numbers of industrial workers and their labour unions, bankers, entrepreneurs, scientists and artists made Berlin a thriving but fast growing city. By 1910 the number of Berliners amounted to 2,000,000. 

The public square and transport hub of Alexanderplatz is recognizable from afar thanks to Berlin's nearby 368m heigh Fernsehturm. With hundreds of thousands of passers-by and visitors  Alexanderplatz is the most visited area of Berlin. 
Founded in 1912, the Aktiengesellschaft Alexanderplatz managed a number of houses at Alexanderplatz and nearby, including Hotel "Alexanderplatz". This 1000 Reichsmark share from the same year is part of the Wolfgang Tartz collection. L572 

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

Though called a share certificate (Anteil-Schein) this is an interest-free lottery bond from the still existing Ski-Klub Oberstaufen. It was issued in 1920 for "the purpose of building a first class ski jump". Since the 1960s several international slalom competitions were held in Oberstaufen won by champions like Vreni Schneider and Ingemar Stenmark.  Note the logo with skis. L902 in the auction. 


PS : Did you like this post ? Thank you for sharing it on you favorite social media channel !

Sunday, April 24, 2022

Scripophily Puzzle No. 6 - solution

I'm sure you recognized the Disney vignette as one of the three visual cues from Puzzle No. 6 . Even with the other vignettes provided, solving the puzzle was not straightforward. Yet I did receive one correct answer.

The three visual cues were clippings from three different stock and bond certificates. The common link between the cues was a particular object.

The correct answer for the puzzle was ... (drumm roll in the background) ... the Liberty Bell.

Shares from the American Union Fire Insurance Company from Philadelphia, PA, show the Liberty Bell in front of the city's Independence Hall. Printed by the Security Bank Note Company, this share certificate was issued in 1910. Things were not going well for the insurance company. It liquidated in 1913. 

The Liberty Bell was made in Great Britain by a foundry that became known as Whitechapel Bell Foundry, a producer of many famous bells such as the Big Ben in London.

Pennsylvania commissioned the Liberty Bell in 1751 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of William Penn's Charter of Privileges, Pennsylvania's original constitution. After a rough passage across the Atlantic, the bell cracked when it was first rung.

Two Philadelphia workmen, John Pass and John Stow, recasted the bell. Its large distinctive crack, also visible in the vignette above, originated somewhere in the first part of the 19th century. The bell was placed in the tower of the Pennsylvania State House, aka Independence Hall. This leads us to the first cue.

These bonds, issued by the City of Philadelphia in 1866 (upper right image) and 1861, feature the same vignettes, including the city's Independence Hall that housed the Liberty Bell for about two centuries. It is now located in the Liberty Bell Center. This pair of bonds was sold at Holabird Americana's Dec 2020 auction at $50 without buyer's premium. 

The bell became a symbol of freedom. In the 1830s several anti-slavery journals featured the bell in their publications. In 1853 President Franklin Pierce visited Philadelphia. He spoke of the bell as the symbol of the American Revolution and Liberty.

George Lippard writes his "Fourth of July, 1776" in 1847. In that story a young boy instructed an aged bellman to ring the bell on America's Independence Day. But that was not correct. Historians assume that the Liberty Bell rang on July 8th to summon the people to hear the Declaration of Independence read out aloud for the first time. Anyway, Lippard's story was widely reprinted and retold as 'historical fact' for many decades to come.

On the occasion of Philadelphia's 1876 Centennial International Exhibition a replica of the Liberty Bell was cast. It weighed 13,000 pounds (5900 kg), more than six times the weight of the original bell.

The Liberty Bell was not displayed at Philadelphia's Centennial Exhibition. But it made several trips to various other expositions and celebrations in the years thereafter. This brings us to the second cue of puzzle No. 6.

The World's Columbian Exposition, aka Chicago's World Fair, took place in 1893 to mark the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus' arrival in the New World in 1492. With 46 countries participating, it attracted over 27 million visitors. This $10 shares certificate from 1893 was printed by the Western Bank Note Company. It sold for $400 excluding buyer's premium in Holabird Americana's 2018 October auction. 

In 1893 the Liberty Bell was sent to Chicago's World Columbian Exposition as a highlight of the festivities. It was not the only big bell on display there.

For the World's Columbia exhibition a much larger Columbian Liberty Bell was casted. Two days before the end of the exhibition, Chicago's Mayor Carter Harrison sounded his "new" bell at his final speech on 28 Oct 1893. A few hours later Harrison was assassinated.

The original Liberty Bell returned from Chicago bearing a new crack. Wherever it went, the bell attracted millions of people, more cracking occurred, and souvenir hunters chipped pieces away from it. After 1915 Philadelphia refused any further requests for having the bell featured in events like that.

There was also a third "bell" present at the Chicago event. It was a full-sized model of the Liberty Bell made out of oranges by the State of California. This brings us to our last cue for this puzzle which showed Walt Disney and several Disney figures.

In Holabird Americana's May 2021 auction this Walt Disney stock certificate went $120 excluding buyer's premium. The company displays a full-sized replica of the Liberty Bell in Walt Disney World, Florida. 

As part of the US Liberty Bell Savings Bond Drive, the US government ordered 55 full-sized replicas of the Liberty Bell in 1950. These were casted by Fonderie Paccard in France. Shipped as gifts to US states and territories the bells were to be displayed and rung on patriotic occasions. 

In 1989 Walt Disney ordered another bell casted by the same foundry from the same mold. It stands now on Liberty Square in the Magic Kingdom, Bay Lake, Florida.

The Liberty Bell sometimes appears on coins, stamps, bonds and stock certificates. I'm interested to see other examples from the latter category. Several American corporations have used the bell's name and image, but none so daringly as the restaurant chain Taco Bell.

On April 1, 1996, Taco Bell launched an ad in the newspapers posting that it had purchased the Liberty Bell and renamed it the "Taco Liberty Bell". Thousands of outraged people had called Taco Bell headquarters and the bell's caretaker, the National Park Service. By noon it was told that the story was a joke. The company's publicity stunt allegedly led to nearly a $1,000,000 rise in sales that week.

I received one joint correct answer on this puzzle from Randy & Scott. Well done! You are now entitled a portion of "eternal fame".


Reference links

Friday, April 15, 2022

International auction & bourse weekend in Antwerp shows amazing historic securities and scripophily collections

A major player in the field of antique stock certificates, auctioneer Mario Boone scheduled his 68th scripophily auction and bourse on 30 April and 1 May 2022. On the agenda are about 1400 scripophily lots ready to go on the block. Boone managed to assemble exceptional rare and beautiful stocks and bonds from all continents. 

Part of the offerings are several thematic collections containing exceptional items. One of them is the Portuguese Railways collection consisting of 126 lots of Portuguese and Portuguese colonial railway certificates. The collection formed the basis of the 1990 published Boone-Shakespeare catalog on Spanish and Portuguese railway scripophily and it was further enlarged with new discoveries. Bidders will first have the opportunity to bid on the entire collection as a whole. Start price is set at €18,000. In case no bid is achieved, the auctioneer presents the lots one by one.

Founded in 1908 the Companhia Carris de Ferro do Porto operated the Porto tramways. This 5 shares of Rs10$00 certificate from 1909, only one known, shows a perspective of the Dom Luís I Bridge taken from Vila Nova de Gaia. Part of the Portuguese railway collection, Lot 617 (L618-L744). 

The Boone sale includes many highlights from the turbulent 18th century! That century saw the great powers waging several wars and expanding slave trading across the Atlantic but also the founding of Los Angeles, the discovery of the Rosetta Stone, the premiere of Mozart's Don Giovanni, and the invention of the steamboat and the power loom. Some of the historical items from this period are : 
  • L409 is a 2500 livres share from the Compagnie des Indes from 1770
  • From 1797, L285, a share from the Natur-Torfgräber Unternehmung zu Moosbrunn, a peat digging company in Lower Austria, is probably the oldest Austro-Hungarian share known.
  • The most mind-blowing lot in the sale, L516, is a 1777 founder share from the Iron Bridge company. Boone expects it to hammer at €18,000. 

This share in the Company for Building a Bridge across the River Severn, Ironbridge, Shropshire, England, dates from 1777. Opened in 1781, it was the first major bridge in the world to be made of cast iron. The share is signed by Abraham Darby III and John Wilkinson

Darby took over the iron-making business of his family. He became manager of the Coalbrookdale ironworks. The Darbys and other ironmasters like John Wilkinson perfected the technique of smelting iron with coke, instead of coal. This allowed them to produce cheaper and more cast iron. They started casting iron rails and wheels for railway wagons. 

John "Iron-Mad" Wilkinson invented a precision boring machine that could bore cast iron cylinders such as cannon barrels and piston cylinders used in steam engines. In 1787 he launched on the Severn an iron ship. In 1775 Wilkinson and local businessmen commissioned Abraham Darby III to build the Iron Bridge. 

Thanks to the bridge, its builders and their achievements, the area around Ironbridge is described by UNESCO as the "Birthplace of the Industrial Revolution". The monument gave its name to the town that grew around it. The Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust runs 10 museums throughout the IronBridge Gorge World Heritage Site; they tell the story of the Industrial Revolution. 

Signatures of Abraham Darby III and John Wilkinson. 
Few people have had such a lasting impact on modern society. L516 

Another remarkable collection offered in the auction are 78 Panorama certificates. Before the advent of cinema audiences could visit a panorama or diorama attraction. Often implemented as large winding 360-degree paintings, and sometimes constructed as mobile attractions or in specialized theatres, these immersed the viewer in large topographic landscape views and historical events. The collection as a whole can be purchased, L9, starting at €8,000. In case no bid is achieved, the auctioneer presents the lots one by one, L10-87.

The Panorama collection includes attractions from Belgium, the Netherlands, Austria, France, the USA and more. This share in the French Royal London Panorama company dates from 1881. The company built its panorama in the former Saville House, Leicester Square, London, where it showed the battle of Waterloo. L65 

The printed catalog contains several indexes to help you find what you are looking for. The online versions can be searched by keywords. The largest country represented this time is the USA and, including a Confederate Bonds collection, counts over 300 lots. Many non-typical scripophily countries are represented as well such as Fiji, Pakistan, Kenya, San Marino and Uruguay.

One of the lots mentioned under the "Sports" index, L927, is a 1923 share in the Autodrómo Nacional SA. Founded in 1922 the company built and operated the Terramar Autodrome, a racing circuit in Sant Pere de Ribes, Catalonia, Spain. In 1923 Alberto Divo won the first race with his Sunbeam at an average of 142 kilometers per hour. 

Even if you are not a collector the weekend of 30 April & 1 May is an opportunity to see some great antique securities. The venue is the Antwerp Crown Plaza. An airport shuttle from Brussels Airport to Antwerp (about 30 minutes) stops in front of the hotel. The public bus stops right outside the place and takes you in 10 minutes to Antwerp Central Station. 

Here are the auction details :
  • Location : Antwerp, Belgium
  • Dates
    • 30 April 2022, Boone's 68th live and internet auction
    • 1 May 2022, bourse of historic bonds and shares
  • Further info : 
    • online catalog & bidding, see here 
    • or via the Invaluable platform (large images), see there 
    • and the PDF version of the catalog can be found here 

PS : Did you like this post ? Thank you for sharing it on you favorite social media channel !