Saturday, December 23, 2023

Dhotis not allowed at the Willingdon Sports Club

A victim of its own success, membership to the Royal Willingdon Sports Club is closed. Only children of current members, wealthy ones, can become members, and even that on a selective basis depending on the applicant’s family background and profession.

The private club was founded by Lord Willingdon in 1918. Willingdon (1866-1941) ruled as Governor of the Bombay Presidency from 17 Feb 1913 through 16 Dec 1918. This administrative subdivision of British India, more or less the size of today’s Germany, counted then nearly 30 million people.

A highlight in the Willingdon Sports Club’s existence is the visit in 1921 of Edward VIII, then Prince of Wales. The Prince played four chukkers at polo on the club’s ground. This non-interest bearing irredeemable debenture, issued by the club in 24th Nov 1916, is issued to the Maharaja of Gondal and signed by Sir Stanley Reed as Secretary. 

From the beginning Willingdon maintained good relations with the Indian Princes and India’s important business men. The crème de la crème of British India often met on official events. 

However, on one occasion he invited some friends, Maharajas, to the Royal Bombay Yacht Club. The Governor and his Indian guests were denied access. The club only accepted European members. Willingdon did not agree with the situation and discussed the incident with his friend Stanley Reed.

Sir Herbert Stanley Reed (1872-1969) joined the Bombay based journal The Times of India as correspondent in 1897. When George V, then Prince of Wales, and Princess Victoria Mary of Teck, made their royal tour of India in 1905 and 1906, Reed traveled along as special correspondent of the Times of India.

Stanley Reed became the newspaper’s longest serving editor from 1907 until 1924. He maintained close ties with the British political elite. Mahatma Gandhi corresponded with Reed and occasionally paid him a visit at the newspaper office to discuss the questions of the hour. 

Reed was one of the first persons to whom Gandhi revealed his Swadeshi pledge. The Swadeshi movement strived for India to be self-sustainable and self-reliant. Gandhi's swadeshi pledge in 1919 was a pledge to boycott foreign goods.

Stanley Reed improved the coverage of The Times of India and made it ‘the leading paper in Asia’. He is credited with extending the deadline for carrying news from 5 PM to midnight. Earlier, news that came after 5 PM would be kept over for printing the next day. During his tenure the cover price of the paper was reduced from four annas to one, which gave a phenomenal boost to its circulation. 

At the end of World War I, Reed exposed the grievous sufferings of the Indian troops in a newspaper article in which a change in the High Command was argued. Lord Willingdon supported him in that. The latter took responsibility for treating the thousands of wounded that returned from the Mesopotamian campaign by ship to Bombay in appalling circumstances.

Reed and Willingdon discussed the latter’s experiences in the Royal Bombay Yacht Club. It was decided to start a private club that would bring together the best elements of Indian and European society on an equal basis. Lord Willingdon was its President and Stanley Reed became its Honorary Secretary. 

Willingdon found a piece of land in what is now south Mumbai where he established his club. To finance his project, he had to attract funds. 

Stanley Reed writes in his book The India I Knew 1897-1947: “British residents subscribed handsomely, but it was the generosity of the Indian Princes which made realization possible. They contributed not less than £25,000 in non-interest-bearing irredeemable debentures, and asked no more than life membership.” Note that 'irredeemable debentures' are debentures that cannot be redeemed during the lifetime of the company. Investors can only redeem if the company is winding up. 

Freeman Freeman-Thomas & Maria Adelaide Brassey, also known as Lord and Lady Willingdon, 1916. Attribution: Parasnis, Dattatraya Balwant, Rao bahadur, public domain, via Wikimedia Commons 

Lord Willingdon formally opened the club on December 8, 1917. The princes came be-jewelled and robed, the Maharaja of Idar standing out in his gold earrings. Lady Willingdon wore a mauve dress, the colour of the Club’s crest, its curtains and, until 1975, the hue of the waiter’s waistcoats and neckties. In the temporary parking place stood Rolls-Royces, Duesenbergs, Alfa Romeos and other fabulous cars.

Sport amenities were constructed for playing polo, golf, cricket, tennis, badminton, swimming, billiards, poker, and a rifle range as well. The club was not meant to be a sports-only club but also promoted intercultural activities by means of music performances, lectures, ballroom dances, banquets and dinners, etc. Its first name was the Willingdon Club, but Lord Willingdon didn’t like the club’s shortened name. Hence, the Willingdon Sports Club.

The exclusive club attracted maharajas, high government officials, upper rank army officers and India’s top business men. To name a few: the Maharaja of Mysore, the Raja of Ratlam, Sir Dorab Tata, Sir Sassoon David, the Aga Khan, Ibrahim Rahimtoola and then later JRD Tata. Top financier FE Dinshaw was a club’s recurring bridge player.

Lady Willingdon was equally thrilled with the founding club and was the driving force for opening it up for the members’ wives as well. It was said that she got the ruling princes to contribute towards the establishment of the club. One story about her was that she would admire the diamond rings and necklaces that the maharajas used to wear (some even wore them while playing tennis). The recipients of the compliment had no alternative but to present her with the valuables. It is said that soon the maharajas made sure not to wear anything expensive at the club. 

His Highness Maharaja Thakore Shri Sir Bhagwant Singhji Sagramji Sahib Bahadur, Maharaja of Gondal, 1911. Attribution: Photographs from the Lafayette Studio Archive of the V&A, London, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons 

Several Indian princes invested in the Willingdon Sports Club. This certificate shown here was issued for two debentures of 500 Rupees on 24th November 1916 to Bhagvatsinghji, His Highness the Thakore Saheb of Gondal, the ruling Maharaja of the princely state of Gondal (1865-1944). Back then, the Indian princely states were sovereign entities within the British Indian Empire, not directly governed by the British, but by an Indian ruler.

Bhagvatsinghji reformed the administration of his state, provided free and compulsory education for men and women, and made Gondal a tax-free state. The Thakore Saheb was one of the first maharajas to welcome at his residence Gandhi and his wife after their return from South Africa in 1915. The maharaja would meet with Gandhi several times more. On some of these occasions Gandhi deemed it necessary to appeal to the maharaja’s conscience to be a good ruler for the people of Gondal. On the 50th anniversary of his accession to the throne the maharaja gave his weight in gold to charity.

Lord Willingdon also met Gandhi on several occasions. In 1931 he became Viceroy of India for five years. During his reign Gandhi and the Indian National Congress party organized a mass Civil Disobedience Movement. Of course, all of this was covered in Stanley Reed’s Times of India. Eventually Willingdon would imprison Gandhi, the INC members and tens of thousands of Indian activists.

A bouquet for the author, picture taken from Stanley Reed’s book “The India I Knew 1897-1947”.  An expert on Indian current affairs, Reed wrote and compiled several year books such as The Times of India Directory, and The Indian Year Book Including Who's Who. 

I wonder whether Stanley Reed got along with Gandhi. In his more than 260 pages counting memoires The India I Knew 1897-1947, he mainly describes his experiences with British India’s politicians. Though Gandhi made the headlines all those years, Reed dedicated merely five pages to the Mahatma.

I’ll end this article on the Willingdon Sports Club, with an interesting note. In 1954 a post-awards banquet was held at the club to celebrate the first Filmfare awards ceremony. The event was attended by actor Gregory Peck. One of the award winners, influential director Bimal Roy, was denied entry into the club because he was dressed in a dhoti, a type of sarong, fastened in between the legs in a manner that it outwardly resembles trousers. The most photographed person in the world wearing a dhoti must be Gandhi. He was never invited to the Willingdon Sport Club. 


  • A commemorative Volume to mark the sixtieth year of the Willingdon Sports Club Bombay 1917-1977, by Behram Contractor, Naval J. Ardeshir 
  • His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales Tour In India (1921-1922), by O’mealey M
  • The India I knew 1897-1947, by Stanley Reed 
  • The TOI Story, by Sangita P. Menon Malhan [ed.: about The Times Of India] 
  • The Royal Tour in India - A Record of the Tour of T.R.H. The Prince and Princess of Wales in India and Burma, from November 1905 to March 1906, by Stanley Reed. The book has been digitized by Google and is available to the public here 

Previous posts

Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Jigsaw Mourier

A new jigsaw puzzle in scripophily features snow dogs in a winter landscape. We are talking about the share of the Mourier company.

Mourier company had its registered office in Paris, France. The company traded in furs and pelts in France and its colonies. This share, from 1927 and showing the signature of its founder in the lower left corner, depicts in great perspective northern fur traders (see more on that here). 

Ready to puzzle? You can find the puzzle here:

Have fun !


Monday, November 20, 2023

Booneshares offers rare US railroad and South American certificates in December scripophily auction

Mario Boone is a major player in the field of antique share certificates and financial documents. The auctioneer scheduled his 71st scripophily auction on 2 December 2023. This auction will take place live on the internet via the Invaluable platform. On the agenda are more than 1000 lots of bonds and shares.

The auction features stunning shares from all parts of the world. This founders share from the Banque de Cochinchine was issued in 1907 and printed by the well-known security printer Crabbé. The share is signed by Noël Pardon, who previously was acting governor of Cochinchina and New Caledonia, and then governor of Guadeloupe and Martinique. L(ot) 46 starts at €400.

For this occasion, auctioneer Mario Boone has compiled a strong section of US railroad certificates. To give an example: L777, starting at €300, comprises a 1877 bond from The Cheraw and Chester Railroad Company, South Carolina. Only two examples known and reports no sales recorded within the last ten years. 

The US railroad section counts over 200 lots. A few more examples:
  • 5% First Mortgage Gold Bond $1000 from The Canon City and Cripple Creek Electric Railway Company, mountain vignette, 1897, L762
  • L949, The Western Virginia and Kentucky Rail Road and Coal Company, $1000 bond, 1857, several vignettes, amazing scrollwork and very rare
  • L769, The Central Union Depot and Railway Company, $100 shares, 1885, vignette of Cincinnati building and street scene 
  • A rare print from the American Bank Note Company is L876, Nevada Southern Railway Company, First Mortgage 5% 30 Year Gold Bond of $1000, 1893 

The auction catalog includes stock certificates from companies involved in all types of activities. Such as this CELTA share. This cooperative was founded in 1931 to compete with Sudam, a private company providing electricity to the city of Tres Arroyos in Argentina. The still existing cooperative expanded its activities over the years also including telephone, funeral, health and dental services. This share, issued in 1939, presents a bold Art Deco scene conceived by the artist T. Menna. 

Often these old securities have been designed by the artists of the day. The auction catalog lists a special index of the artists and engravers featured in the offerings. The certificate illustrated below depicts a Congolese woman with basket, an elephant tusk, a village, a map of the Basankusu region and the Star of Congo in the underprint. 

The early 20th century share shown here is from the notorious ABIR. The company harvested rubber in the Congo Free State, then private property of King Leopold II of Belgium. ABIR forced the local population to pay taxes and to harvest rubber under inhumane conditions. Those who failed where beated, mutilated, killed or their relatives were kidnapped or raped. This share from 1904 is a testament to Belgium's awful low point in history. 

It was Frans Hens who made the design of the certificate. He was the first Belgian artist to travel in the 1880s through the Congo and paint its nature, villages and people. He became known as a painter of the Belgian coast and the Schelde river. L82 is listed with a start price of €50. 

Another major topic in the sale is South America. The auction includes several single-item lots but also group lots from most South American countries. Collectors have the opportunity to acquire several certificates in these lots at reduced average item prices. However, in case no group bids are received most of these groups will be split into single-item lots during the auction.  

Illustrated above is L1002 a 1909 Banco de Guatemala share. Printed by Waterlow & Sons it shows several vignettes and many guilloches. Very lovely printed is the Resplendent Quetzal - featured in the coat of arms of Guatemala: the country's national bird representing freedom and independence.  L1002 is part of the Guatemala group lot, L992.

There is lots more to discover in the auction. Here are the auction details :


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Monday, October 30, 2023

Madras Gymkhana hosted scripophily talk

Are you curious about Indian scripophily ? Well, this could be an interesting tip for you.

On July 2, 2023, the Cultural Hub of the Madras Gymkhana Club hosted a scripophily talk. The speaker was Chennai-based Mr Sayeed Cassim who was interviewed by Mr Amarnath from MD Paterson Securities. 

Mr Amarnath, Mr Sayeed Cassim and the team of the cultural subcommittee of the Madras Gymkhana Club that organized the talk and presentation. The event was recorded and is available on YouTube.  

When it comes to Indian scripophily, you can't miss the many, often charming, antique securities. In the 19th century the creation of securities, mostly for British companies, was done in England and followed a British design tradition. Since the 1900s Indian printers developed their own lettering styles and ornaments, resulting in a unique range of bond and share certificates.  Here's an example from the Minerva Mills Limited.

This Minerva Mills Ltd share was issued on Oct 4, 1920, to Devidas Jekisondas Desai. The certificate represents a share of Rs.100, 20 Rs. been paid up. It features an embossed company seal and a one anna tax stamp in the lower and upper right corners, resp. 

In this event Mr Sayeed Cassim presents antique share and bond certificates issued during India's pre-independence era from companies like the Imperial Bank of India and the Madras Railway Company. Some of the early certificates are printed on vellum and linen. Other scrip on display are beautiful examples of India's unique style of securities. 

The recording of the talk and presentation takes almost an hour. In the beginning the sound quality is not optimal but I encourage you to continue watching, explore and enjoy. 

Well done, Mr Sayeed Cassim, and thank you for supporting the hobby!


Monday, October 23, 2023

Mark your calendar for the 22nd National Stock Certificate & Bond Show on Jan 26-27, 2024 at Herndon, VA

Bob Schell's exciting 22nd National Stock Certificate and Bond show is back on the scripophily calendar! The show takes place in Herndon, near Washington DC. Several specialist dealers will present their scripophily treasures, as well as postcards, paper money, autographs and related Americana . 

Antique American securities charm collectors from all parts in the world. At the show, dealers offer American railroad bonds, US mining stocks, certificates from automobile, brewery and film companies, and a lot more, like historic stocks from Mattel, Inc.

Greta Gerwig's Barbie is currently conquering the world. In this movie actor Margot Robbie stars as the live-action version of the famous Barbie doll. It was Mattel's co-founder Ruth Handler who invented the Barbie doll in 1959. The Mattel stock certificate is one of many American iconic stocks that can be found on a bourse like this. 

Depending on their historic relevance, thematic subject, aesthetical design, rarity and the presence of a famous signature, antique stocks and bonds can be acquired from a few dollars up to four figures amounts. 

The International Bond & Share Society (IBSS) published a 'Top 20 auctioned in 2022' in their August 2023 issue of Scripophily magazine. Five American certificates hold top 10 positions in that list. Who knows what other gems can be discovered at the show's dealer tables.    

The bourse is scheduled on January 26th & 27th , 2024. Dealers should contact organizer Bob Schell,, for practical information on the venue and tables. On the second day, a IBSS Member Breakfast is planned for 7:45 AM on Saturday Jan. 27. 

If you want to know more about IBSS, there is plenty of occasion to meet several of its members as well as IBSS committee members at the event. 

The organizer obtained a special show room rate for participants and visitors at the Crown Plaza Hotel-Dulles Airport, 2200 Centreville Road, Herndon, VA 20170. Check with the organizer or see the flyer above for details. 

An event like this is always an opportunity to meet with collector friends. Located near Washington Dulles Airport, the venue is an excellent starting point for visiting top touristic locations in Washington DC.


PS: I will give a scripophily talk during the IBSS breakfast at the event. Topic: Milestones in the History of Computing in 20 Stocks and Bonds. 

Saturday, September 30, 2023

FHW auction features more than 1500 historic bonds and shares including several German collections

Freunde Historischer Wertpapiere (FHW) has scheduled its 124th sale for October 7, 2023. This time the auctioneer selected more than 1500 lots of historic bonds and share certificates. Major sections have been reserved for scripophily from the USA, Germany, the German DM era, and a series of more than 300 lots from other countries.

One of the auction's highlights is this gorgeous share from the Société des Fermes Réunies du Kurhaus et de la Banque de Nauheim Hesse Électorale. It was the Frenchman Jacques Roland Viali who founded the casino and the accompanying health resort. In addition to the roulette hall, there was also a reading room, a concert hall and a dance hall. Spa guests strolled in the adjoining parc around the large pond and boats were purchased to provided more entertainment. Within a year after its opening, 1 Jan 1854,  Nauheim received city rights, and soon new avenues were constructed. Few companies would change a town's history so quickly. This 1854 share, with Viali signature, is part of the Deutschland Top 20 chapter and starts at €2,600. L(ot) 626 in the auction

Traditionally FHW is know for its strong emphasis on German scripophily. On top of that, several collections are now going under the hammer. The Hans-Werner Schmidt collection of Oberfranken (Upper Franconia) features 338 certificates in 146 lots from all themes, including brewery shares, such as L162, a rare share from the Erste Bamberger Export-Bierbrauerei Frankenbrau

Collectors of DM securities will be pleased to find a large section in the catalog counting almost 400 lots of securities from the Deutsche Mark era. However, this SchmidtBank KGaA 1000 shares certificate, is part of the Hans-Werner Schmidt Oberfranken collection, L225. Bidding starts at €500. 

The USA forms the largest non-German chapter in the sale with about 200 lots such as:
  • L1350, Barkley-Grow Aircraft Corp, stock certificate, 1936, airplane vignette, €240 
  • L1419, Massachusetts Fish Co, specimen share, 1907, crowded harbour scene, €100 
  • L1461, Petaluma and Sebastopol Railroad, stock certificate, 1889, rare, €600 

The Sebago and Long-Pond Steam-Navigation Company built its Fawn steamboat in 1847. It had a shallow hull to navigate Maine's winding Songo River, with passengers asked to shift sides as ballast to keep both paddlewheels in the water around sharp curves. This 1848 share features three vignettes, two paddlewheel steamers and a church, and a green company seal. L1483, €400 

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


Tuesday, September 26, 2023

IBSS surprises members with full publications of Drumm & Henseler scripophily catalogues

The International Bond & Share Society is an association of people interested in scripophily. The society was founded in 1978 as a non-profit organization with the aim to promote, encourage and develop all aspects of scripophily. 

With members all over the world, the society publishes its flagship publication Scripophily three times a year.

Over a timespan of several months a small group of members cooperated in obtaining the copyrights of the pioneering Drumm & Henseler catalogs, digitizing those works, and making them available to its members as downloadable publications.  

The following catalogues can now be found on the IBSS site :

Italian Railways, by Drumm, Henseler, Witula

Ottoman Empire and Turkey, by Drumm, Henseler, Glasemann

Russian City Bonds, by Drumm, Henseler

Russian Railway Bonds, by Drumm, Henseler

You can find the publications here, but you must be logged in as a member to access this information. Still not a member ? Then this will help you out


Monday, September 4, 2023

Predecessor FC Bayern München to be sold at HWPH auction

Historisches Wertpapierhaus AG (HWPH) has scheduled its next double-session sale for 9 and 11 September 2023. Specialist Matthias Schmitt and his team brought together some 1,900 lots of scripophily and related documents for this occasion. Included is an ultra rare and stunning share certificate from FC Bayern München's predecessor, Munich's gymnastics club MTV.

One of the most iconic football clubs FC Bayern doesn't need an introduction. With an average of 75,000 attendees its Allianz Arena mostly runs at 100 per cent capacity level. The club originates from the Männer-Turn-Verein München (Men's Gymnastics Club Munich) when 11 members of the football division left the club and founded Fußball-Club Bayern München in 1900. This share certificate dates from 1886 and is one of only two known. L(ot) 591 in the auction starts at €2,800. 

The first part of the sale is a public auction at Zorneding, Germany, followed two days later by an online auction. Both parts offer historic and beautiful antique stocks and bonds from all continents. 

specimen share certificate from 1953 in the Rheinisch-Westfälische Eisen- und Stahlwerke, L566

To give an idea, here's very small selection of what will go on the block:
  • L139, La Hispano Suiza Fábrica de Automóviles, share from 1905, great design by the Spanish painter Ramon Casas
  • L592, Boston American League Base-Ball Club, stock certificate, 1911, issued to and signed by centre fielder Jim R. McAleer
  • L594, Flamingo Films, Inc., stock certificate, 1933, issued to and signed by actor comedian Buster Keaton 
  • L793, Akcionarsky Pivovar na Smichove, 1939, splendid share certificate of this brewery from Prague
  • L1737, Republic of El Salvado, $1000 bond,1923 

L27 is a 10 shares certificate from the Toyo Automobile Company, issued in 1912 and a rare example of how Japanese artists became influenced by the Art Nouveau movement. Bidding starts at €400.

You can find more of these fascinating stocks and bonds in HWPH's auction catalogs. Here are the details of this event:

  • Dates
    •  9 September 2023, Zorneding, Germany, public auction
    • 11 September 2023, online auction
  • Further info and catalogs, see here on HWPH's site, as well as there on the Invaluable platform . 


Wednesday, May 24, 2023

HSK presents American scripophily, bonds and shares from Northern Germany and the H-W Schmidt collection of German banking securities

Hanseatisches SammlerKontor für Historische Wertpapiere (HSK) plans its next auction of stocks and bonds on June 3, 2023 at its headquarters in Wolfenbüttel. Over 1200 lots are described in full in a 200 pages counting auction catalogue. All lots can be checked out online as well.

This 1000 mark share from the Landbank, Berlin, featuring a Jugendstil design, was printed in 1897 by the Reichsdruckerei. Only a handfull of these certificates are known. This one is part of the H-W Schmidt collection. L(ot) 762 in the auction starts at €800. 

The Hans-Werner Schmidt Collection of German banking securities forms a major section in this auction. This collection consists of lots 677 through 816 and has been assembled over several decades. A few examples:
  • Rarely seen is the bold industrial artwork of the 10000 mark share in the Ostbayerische Industrie- und Handelsbank AG, Furth i.W., 1923, L778.
  • L751, Herzogl. Sächs. Landrentenbank in Coburg, 100 mark bond, issued in 1911.
  • One of the most spectacular typographical designs in scripophily is the multicolor share certificate from the Preussische Boden Credit Actienbank, Berlin, 1873. L783

The 1873 founder share of the Stadttheater-Gesellschaft zu Hamburg is the top highlight in HSK's auction. The new stone building of the Hamburg State Opera was inaugurated in 1827. In 1873 the building was renovated in Gründerzeit style, as illustrated in the large underprint of the certificate. Gustav Mahler was the company's musical director from 1891 to 1897. In World War II Hamburg was an easy to find target and the opera house was destroyed by fire-bombing. Rebuilt in the early 1950s by Bauhaus architect Gerhard Weber, the Staatsoper reopened in 1955 with Mozart's Die Zauberflöte. L515 starts at €10,000. 

About 900 lots of German scripophily are presented in several sections:
  • L315-446 Bremen and Niedersachsen, for example L348 Deutsche Petroleum-Bohr-Gesellschaft, 1881, illustrated with an oil field vignette 
  • L447-519 Hamburg, e.g. L515 Stadttheater-Gesellschaft zu Hamburg, image see above 
  • Lot range 520 through 645 consists of a collection of Hamburg related zero numbered specimen certificates from the Deutsche Mark period. 
  • L646-676 Schleswig-Holstein and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, such as L650, two shares in the Flensburg-Ekensunder Dampfschiffs-Gesellschaft, based in the very north of Germany.
  • L677-818 H-W Schmidt collection of German banking securities, see above
  • L817-1046 Germany before 1945, including L817 a 1852 share from the Aachen-Mastrichter Eisenbahn-Gesellschaft, bilingual in German and Dutch, two coat of arms 'Gott mit uns' and 'Je Maintiendrai', elaborate floral design.
  • L1047-1239 Germany from 1945 onwards, e.g. L1110 Deutsche Lufthansa Aktiengesellschaft, Köln, 1997, illustrated with a world map vignette

Polish Auschwitz survivor Jack Tramiel - who later formed Atari Corporation - founded in 1954 the Commodore Portable Typewriter Company. In 1955 the company was reincorporated in Canada as Commodore Business Machines, Inc., and went public on the NYSE under the name Commodore International Limited in 1962. Already in the early 1970s the company produced electronic programmable calculators. Reorganized in 1976, CIL moved its financiel headquarters to the Bahamas. Launched in 1977 the Commodore PET personal computer helped to bring personal computers to widespread use. L63 starts at €100. 

The American section counts 200 lots including several certificates signed by or issued to Thomas A. Edison, L79, L196, L197 and L78.  A Pan American Airways Corporation stock certificate from 1945, L155,  is issued to Sherman M. Fairchild who also signed it on reverse.  
Some other examples:
  • L106 is a bond from The Huntingdon and Broad Top Mountain Rail Road and Coal Company, large railway bridge vignettte, issued in 1862.
  • A lovely banking vault vignette adorns a Lowry Banking Company stock certificate, Georgia, 1894. L120
  • L26 The American Quick-Transit Steamship Company, 1882, Boston, Mass., depicts a large ocean steamer.

The European section in HSK's 42nd auction includes objects such as this 1904 share from the Société Anonyme du Théatre-Concert du Moulin-Rouge. Located in the Boulevard de Clichy, Paris, this cabaret became a world famous attraction with its can-can danse. Bids start at €200 for L292.

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


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Thursday, May 4, 2023

The image tricks your eyes

Since the 1900s Indian security printers developed their own lettering styles and ornaments. Distinguishing themselves from the British design tradition, their work resulted in a unique range of bond and share certificates.

Here is an example from The Ahmedabad New Textile Mills Co. Ltd: a one 4% (Free of Income Tax) Redeemable Cumulative Second Preference Share of Rs.50, issued on 1 March 1947.  

The Ahmedabad New Textile Mills Co. Ltd was established in 1916 by Jivanlal Girdharlal. In 1923 the neighbouring Zaveri Spinning and Weaving Mills was taken over. ANTM produced saris, dhotis, voile and the like. After World War II it had more than 900 looms and provided work to 2,000 employees. 

Have a look at the circular geometric pattern in the upper left corner of the share certificate. In that figure, the middle circle is formed by a black line. 

Can you notice that the first word of the company name, namely 'The', blends in perfectly? The circle's black line changes into the color blue and connects at the same time with the blue outline of the black T character. 

The image tricks your eyes. We still see a full circle. But take away the T-letter, and the circle is broken. Remove the circle and the T is incomplete. Great, isn't it.


Saturday, April 29, 2023

Auctioneer Boone celebrates 40th anniversary in Antwerp: oldest stock exchange building houses international scripophily auction and bourse

Mario Boone's 70th scripophily event spans 4 days! On Saturday May 6, a live auction with nearly 800 lots of historic and splendid antique shares and bonds takes place at the "Handelsbeurs" in Antwerp, the oldest stock exchange building in the world.

An international scripophily bourse with free entrance for any visitor is organized at the same location on Sunday May 7. A great opportunity to see antique securities in the center of Antwerp.

On Monday 8 and Tuesday 9 May, roughly 1500 more interesting lots will be sold through the Invaluable platform (live internet auctioning) or via the usual absentee bidding options.

This 1884 share in the Fabrica de Faianças das Caldas da Rainha, a porcelain factory from Portugal, is superbly designed and printed. Against a background of tiles the drawing combines a still life with more than 10 animals. Can you find them? L(ot) 463 starts at €1000. 

Saturday morning kicks off with a section of some 200 lots from Belgium Congo, Ruanda-Urundi and Belgium, including a 1899 Banque Coloniale de Belgique share certificate showing African scenes, L(ot) 6, and L34, a brewery share in the Brasserie de Stanleyville from 1949, both starting at €50. 

Noteworthy in the Belgian chapter are:  L82, Exposition Internationale Coloniale et d'Art Flamand Anvers 1930, a share subscription for the colonial exhibition in 1930, start price €50, and L84, a $500 gold bond from the City of Antwerp. Not to be missed is L97, Compagnie Internationale des Telephones, the oldest Belgian telephone share, 1881, with a large underprint of an early telephone. 

The Société de Zoologie in Antwerp, one of the oldest zoos in Europe, was founded in 1843. Its shareholders could enter the zoo for free on showing their share, hence the folds. Printed in 1843 by Joseph-Ernest Buschmann and designed by his brother and painter Gustave Buschmann. L299, €300 

More Belgian's, and this applies to other countries too, can be found in a mammoth World Highlights section, lot range 193-775. Some examples :
  • The Société Anonyme d'Horticulture et de Botanique de Gand was founded by botanists who started holding botanic exhibitions known as "Gentse Floraliën". Its share from 1835, decorated with flowers, is extremely rare, L294.
  • A top object in any art collection is the 1897 share from the Compagnie Fermière des Eaux Minerales de Genval. It is designed by Art Nouveau architect, painter and designer Paul Cauchie, known for his sgraffito technique. Only three certificates were found in the 1990s, and this is the last one available. L310 starts at €10,000 and can be seen in detail on the auctioneer's brand new website here.
  • The world famous Lotus Bakeries is listed on Euronext Brussels and run by Jan Boone, the grandson of founder Jan Boone sr. This specimen founder share of the Banket- en Peperkoekbakkerij "LOTUS" voorheen "Boone Gebroeders" dates from 1934 and is the only one known to the auctioneer, L318.

Then part of of the French colonies, the Mekong delta with its shallow waters was the perfect place to use "de Lambert hydroglisseurs", aka airboats. This 1920 share from the Société Anonyme des Hydroglisseurs "de Lambert", L228, starts at €200. 

In the Australasia, Asia and Africa sections I spotted these items:
  • Bank of Australia, Sydney, 1833, early share printed on vellum, L193
  • L205 is a nominative share from the Société Provinciale Privilégiee du Fokien - Hoa-Hu, China, 1902, company set up by diplomat Paul Claudel, Chinese landscape.
  • Opium shares are rarely seen. L226 is a nominative share from the Société Fermière de l'Opium au Tonkin, issued in Hanoi, 1887.
Lot range 271 through 279 comes from a diamond collection and includes scarce items such as a 1889 share from The Borneo Diamond Exploration Syndicate. 

This 100 soles share in the Compañia Explotadora de Perlas de Sechura, Lima, 1902, is part of a collection of 214 bonds and shares from Peru, L676. 

The European chapter is the largest one with over 300 lots, L280-L595. This blog format doesn't lend itself for enumerating all lots. Here are some of many astonishing historic securities:
  • L375 and L376 are two Eiffel companies: Société de Constructions de Levallois-Perret and the Société de la Tour Eiffel both showing the Eiffel tower.
  • Christiana Bye og dens Oplands Korn-Selskab, freely translated as Christiania Town and its Upland Grain Company: extremely early Norwegian share, dated 1810, from the time when Denmark ruled Christiania, today Oslo, L451
  • A Swiss watch collection, L563 through L574, includes names like LeCoultre, Tissot and Longines.

L338, Compagnie Générale Maritime, 1856, signed by politician and financier Emile Pereire, gorgious design by painter and engraver Melchior Péronard, €3000 

Over 50 lots of securities and related documents are featured in the 16th-18th century section, including:
  • A 1679! bond from the city of Enghien, Haunaut province, in need for financial resources under French occupation, 4 wax seals, L596
  • On Aug 27, 1701, Philip V, King of Spain and Louis XIV signed a treaty granting France the exclusive privilege to supply the Spanish colonies in the Americas with African slaves. This right was called the "Asiento". Issued in 1703 for 3000 Livres this share in the Compagnie Royale de l'Assiente, is an important evidence of imperialistic slave-trading practises in the 18th century and extremely rare, L607.

Rio de Janeiro Tramway Light and Power Company Limited, 1 share, text in English, French and German, 1909, facsimile signature of electrical engineer and entrepreneur Frederik Stark Pearson, L664, €200

The Latin America chapter, lots 657 through 677, include several remarkable collection lots. Each of these will be offered as a single group, and only when no bids are made, each collection will split and offered into single item lots in the online sessions on the following Monday & Tuesday:
  • L658 collection of Brasilian government bonds
  • L659 collection of Brasilian state bonds
  • L660 collection of Brasilian railroad certificates
  • L661 collection of Brasilian port/shipping certificates
  • L662 collection of Brasilian Industrial securities
  • L670 collection of Mexican scripophily
  • L676 collection of bonds and shares from Peru 
More Latin Americ scripophily, as is the case for other themes, will be auctioned on the two online sessions on 8 & 9 May 2023.

L682, New Jersey Southern Rail Road Company, $1000 bond, 1873 signed by railway tycoon Jay Gould, extremely rare, €12000

The American section of the Saturday highlights is divided in three chapters : Jay Gould , railroads, and various themes. To name a few:
  • The 50 cents bond, 1841, from the Ocmulgee and Flint River Rail Road Company is not only small in size and value, but rare as well. L689
  • L763 is stock certificate from The Kansas City Distilling Company, a whisky maker, view of the distillery, 1889
  • The World's Columbian Exposition was held in Chicago in 1893. It's share shows a lovely vignette of an allegorical woman and an underprint of the exposition site. L765
A tip for American railway collectors, you should check out Coxrail on this auction, see here

Société Hydro-Electrique de la Réunion, founder's share, 1928, map of Réunion in underprint and border with a pattern of volcanos, likely the Piton de la Fournaise, L927, €50 

The online sessions of this event are scheduled the days after the bourse on Sunday. These offer another 1500 lots of scripophily (or a bit less when the Latin American collections are hammered on the preceding Saturday - see above). Use the catalog's indexes or the search functions on the auctioneer's new website to find what you need.

The weekend of 6 & 7 May is a chance to see some great antique securities. The venue is the Handelsbeurs Antwerpen. 

Here are the auction details :

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Friday, March 17, 2023

Something for everyone: HWPH puts 4486 lots on the auction block!

Historisches Wertpapierhaus AG has scheduled his next triple-session auction for 27, 28 and 29 March 2023. This time Matthias Schmitt and his team brought together over 4400 lots of scripophily and related documents from all continents. 

One thing is for sure, you need some time to go through all the offerings. So I suggest you use keywords in the online search functions. HWPH's site has a dedicated page to select Regions, Countries, Eras and Industries, see here. I tried out the country Japan and found over 40 related lots. 

This unissued Kyoto bond was part of the city's 1909 5% External Loan of 45,000,000 francs. It shows the facsimile signature of mayor Saigo Kikujiro (1861-1928). He was a member of the Satsuma army, a group of dissident samurai that revolted against the imperial government in the Seinan War of 1877. Then, he was shot in the right leg which was partially amputated. Later, as mayor of Kyoto, he organized large infrastructure projects such as the excavation of the Second Lake Biwa Canal, the development of the city's water supply resources, and the expansion of Kyoto's roads and tramway network. With the Mitsui Bank, Saigo Kikujiro procured this 45 million francs foreign loan to finance these projects.  L(ot) 1895  

On the same page you can select for certain industries such as Fine China (Porcelain): you'll be surprised how many hits you get on this theme.  

Oh yes, you can combine 'industries' with 'countries'. I tried USA + Railways, and there it is, over 200 lots in that combination, including the following rare bond printed by the National Bank Note Company. 

The Yumuri Rail and Tramway Company was incorporated in 1907 in the state of New York to construct a railway across the east end of Cuba connecting the northwest and southeast coasts. The Republic of Cuba was founded in 1902. The country's first decade was tumultuous and created a difficult climate for foreign investors. It is unclear what happened to the Cuban operations of this company. It went bankrupt in 1914. Click to enlarge image. L2996 

HWPH also brings its event to the online public through There, you'll find a separate section for each auction session. Click through to see the items. From there continue and select "Sort by: Price High to Low" to find the top items within each session. 

One of the top items from the first session is this 500 thaler Prussian Courant share in the Pommersche-Ritterschaftliche Privat-Bank from Stettin.  Today known as Szczecin, Poland, Stettin was then the capital of the Prussian Provence of Pomerania.  The fine print was produced by the Berlin-based lithographic workshop of H. Hindersin. Click the image below to see the rich details on the word "Actie" (share). L796 in the auction.

There is a lot more to discover in HWPH's auction catalogs. Here are the details of this online event:
  • Dates: 27, 28 and 29 March, each day starting at 11 AM German time 
  • Location: this is an online event
  • Further info and catalogs, see here on HWPH. Live bidding is possible through, see there.


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