Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The railway, its Duke and his Queen

There are 3 reasons why this share certificate of the Ferro-Carril de Barcelona á Sarriá railway company is so appealing to collectors.

share of the Ferro-Carril de Barcelona à Sarriá issued to the Duque of Rianzares
una acción de 100 Pesos Fuertes
1859, reissued 22th May 1866
printed by Imprenta de Narciso Ramirez in Barcelona

Early Spanish railroad
First of all, this is an early railway share for Spain, 150 years old. Railways appeared rather late in a politically instable and less economically developed Spain. The first line in Spain, opened in 1848, was a short line from Barcelona to Mataró. In the 1850s, after new laws were passed, foreign capital found its way to railway investment. In these times, Spanish railways had to be built on an unusual broad track gauge making the network incompatible with that of France and therefore hindering any French invasion. The Ferrocarril de Barcelona a Sarrià was formed in 1859. With an initial track of 4,75 km, connecting Barcelona with the communities of Gràcia, Sant Gervasi and Sarrià, the company was succesful. Some of the remarkable shareholders were the Duque of Rianzares and the playwright and diplomat Juan de Grimaldi. Due to financial difficulties , the company was absorbed in 1874 by a new company called Ferrocarrill de Sarrià a Barcelona.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Financing the reconstruction of Ypres

view on Ypres, engraving from ca. 1600

In addition to the multiple sieges and occupations in the 17th and 18th century by Spanish, Dutch, Austrian and French troops, Napoleon further decided to abolish the episcopal office in the city of Ypres. Ypres became a small town with locally operating businesses. Even a connection to the railway system in the 1850s could not boost its economy. The great 13th century Cloth Hall was only a reminder of the town's important role it once played in the Middle Ages.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Ypres on the map

Frequently, a map is shown in the underprint design or as part of a vignette of a share certificate. My home town Ypres, Ieper in Dutch, is now a relative small municipality. So, it was a big surprise to find it on a map of this certificate of the French Compagnie de Navigation Fluviale Du Nord , founded at Dunkerque, 1892.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Wrong about the Trasatlantica flag

Old share certificates from shipping and fishing companies often depict their company flag. This 1913 share  from the Compañia Trasatlantica is not an exception thereon.  The company’s flag in the upper border is an eye-catcher as the company’s monogram is embossed upon the same blue-printed monogram in the center of the flag. As a result you see the flag in some kind of relief. 

share of the Compañia Trasatlanticadetail from share showing shipping flag of the Cia. Trasatlantica
 Acción Preferente 500 Pesetas, Barcelona 1913
notice the flag in underprint on the certificate's image
large format certificate: upper & lower half digitally pasted

There is also a flag printed in the right border below, and one in the underprint.  Oddly, the latter two flags are missing the monogram and that is why I initially felt that the design was somehow incomplete : why is the monogram missing in the other flags ? Later on, it turned out that I was wrong about that.