Friday, May 12, 2017

Spink auction includes historic London Underground share certificate

Spink announced details of their upcoming Bonds and Shares of the World sale. The auction will feature nearly 800 lots of world wide scripophily ranging from the 17th century till present. Several memorable items are awaiting a new owner such as this early London Underground stock certificate.

London's "underground" railway opened in 1863. It became the world's first metro system in 1890 when traffic started on its electrified underground line. In 2015 the Underground carried over 1.3 billion passengers serving 270 stations. The system counts over 400 escalators. It's longest continuous tunnel is 27.8 km long (East Finchley to Morden via Bank). Total length 402 km (250 miles).

London Underground share certificate 1912
The Underground Electric Railways Company of London Limited
certificate for "A" Ordinary shares, issued 1912
printed by Waterlow & Sons Ltd, London
double-click image to enlarge

In 1863 the Metropolitain Railway (MR) opened the world's first underground railway between Paddington and Farringdon Street. The world's first deep level electric railway was opened in 1890 by the City and South London Railway (C&SLR). It ran between Stockwell and King William and became known as the Tube.
The American financier Charles Tyson Yerkes (1837–1905) who also played a major role in developing Chicago's mass-transit systems formed in 1902 the Underground Electric Railway Company of London (UERCL)The UERCL, a holding company for underground lines, became known as the Underground Group.
There was another American banker that also tried to make its entrance into the London Underground field. John Pierpont Morgan (1837–1913) wanted to build the Piccadilly, City and North East London Railway, a competing subway. But Yerkes was able to prevent that.
Before World War I, except for the MR, mergers had brought all lines, including the C&SLR, under control of the Underground Group. In 1933 the London Passenger Transport Board took control of all the city's ground transport services. That incorporated both the Underground Group and the MR.
In the Second World War tube stations were used as air-raid shelters. The Central Line was even converted into a fighter aircraft factory with its own railway system. Stations like the Piccadilly line, Holborn - Aldwych branch, were closed to store the treasures of the British Museum. 
The London Passenger Transport Board was nationalised in 1948 and became the London Transport Executive.

Details of the auction
  • Dates: 19 May 2017
  • Location : London
  • More info : see here 

ps : The International Bond & Share Society has its scripophily bourse scheduled the next day in London. 

Suez Canal bond from 1885 showing map, sphinx and pyramids
Lot 58 in Spink's auction is a 500 Francs bond from the
Compagnie Universelle du Canal Maritime de Suez, dated 1885.
Engraved by Stern, Paris, the certificate shows a  bird's-eye view of the Suez Canal.
Click image to enlarge.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Archives International Auctions sale features legendary Hammond Organ Company

Deep Purple's Child in Time, Procul Harum's A Whiter Shade of Pale, Easy Livin' from Uriah Heep, and The Great Gig In The Sky written by Pink Floyd, all these songs have in common the greatest of all organs: a Hammond.

A specimen stock certificate from the legendary Hammond Organ Company is now to be auctioned in Archives International Auctions' upcoming sale (lot 605). AIA's 41th auction features nearly 1,100 U.S. & worldwide scripophily lots, largely from the American Banknote Company archives. Included as well are historic and security printing ephemera, and banknotes.

stock certificate from the Hammond Organ Company with stamp 'name changed to Hammond Corporation'

The company was organized in 1928 as the Hammond Clock Company by Laurens Hammond. Together with John M Hanert, Hammond invented an electromechanical pipeless organ. They sold it to churches as a lower-cost alternative to a wind-driven pipe organ. By means of an ingenious system of mechanically driven tone weels, electromagnetic pick-ups and drawbar controllers, a Hammond organ could create millions of potential sounds. Soon production rose to several hundreds per month. Automaker Henry Ford was one of Hammond's first customers. The company became the Hammond Instrument Company in 1937. Models equipped with bass pedals and harmonic percussion features were well received in small jazz bands.
In 1953 the company adopted the name Hammond Organ Company. The Hammond organ became even more popular when used with a Leslie speaker, a combined amplifier with rotating loudspeakers. Jazz virtuoso Jimmy Smith used the organ in new ways and became the star on stage like a modern guitar hero. In 1967, after the acquisition of glove manufacturer Wells Lamont, the parent company became the Hammond Corporation, and the Hammond Organ Company became its division. 

The sales' scripophily section features railroad, automobile and aviation certificates. More topics include banking & finance, brewery and alcohol related certificates, mining, utilities, navigation, sports, and state and municipal bonds of several countries.

Submarine Monitor Company of New York stock certificate, 1885
Submarine Monitor Company of New York
100 shares of $10, 1885
lot 626 in the auction

Auction details

  • Date : May 16, 2017
  • Place : Fort Lee, NJ 
  • Further info : see here, virtual catalogue see there and PDF version here 


Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Internet Scripophily Museum of Computing in the making

I've been blogging about computing before on this site. Click the label computers in the left margin to find some related content. There is so much to reveal on this field of scripophily. Yet, the nature of a "general" blog like this one doesn't lend itself very well for providing much information at one time. That is why I decided to set up a dedicated website.

Intel Corporation, specimen bond certificate from the 1980s
Intel Corporation, specimen bond from 1980
Intel is known as a maker of semiconductor chips and became famous 
for its microprocessors like the 8086, 80386, Pentium and Itanium. 
The organization also made early microcomputer kits and since the 1980s supercomputers.

The ISMOC project is about scripophily and computer history. ISMOC stands for Internet Scripophily Museum of Computing. That's right. I'm working on a virtual museum of historical securities from organizations involved in digital computers. Though still in an early stage, you can have a look there

So far the following entries have been put online :
  • organizations
    • Addressograph-Multigraph Corporation
    • Gould Inc.
    • Idaho Maryland Mines Corporation
    • International Business Machines Corporation (IBM)
    • PolyComputers Inc. 
  • people
    • Cary, Frank Taylor
    • Opel, John Roberts
    • Ylvisaker, William Townend
ISMOC has a Site History page informing about further developments. You can also follow along on Twitter, here.

Some concepts in scripophily can not be illustrated with a single image. Here is a video showing an Intel specimen bond and a production model for a stock certificate, both from the Security-Columbian US Banknote CorporationA specimen is a printed sample of the real thing. An example of that is shown at the right. The item on the left is a production model for a possible design of an Intel stock certificate. Designers of securities used to cut up portions of existing engraved items such as company logos, vignettes, scrollwork, borders, titles, corporate seals, text, et cetera.These items were then reapplied (pasted) in a different design, a new model. When the model was accepted, a proof, basically a printed prototype, could be printed.

In the video you will notice a transparant plastic overlay on the production model. That overlay also contains printing elements. In this case, it contains a standard 'CERTIFICATE OF STOCK' line. The overlay simulates the underprint for the main certificate text. In case the text changes, like in the case of a bond, only the overlay needed to be changed to 'REGISTERED'. 
At the end of the video, I focus on the facsimile signature of Intel's Chairman of the Board. Ever heard of Moore's law. Yep, that's the man. When working as R&D Director at Fairchild Semiconductor, Gordon Earle Moore observed that the number of electronic components in an integrated circuit would double every year. Later he revised the forecast to every two years. 

It will take me several years to complete the ISMOC project. Frankly I hope this turns out to be a neverending story. This is a scripophily venture that will take me on a worldwide journey through modern times. Will you join me on the ride once in a while ?


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