Monday, June 27, 2011

The Sirdar Gold Mining Company

This Sirdar gold mine was located in the west part of Ontario, Canada, near the Shoal Lake region. The company’s share certificate depicts miners at work watched by an Egyptian and a sphinx. In the far distance pyramids show up.

Vignette from a share of the Sirdar Gold Mining Company Ltd
Incorporated 1899, Toronto, Ontario
Issued for 7400 shares of 1 Canadian Dollars, March 31 1900

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Are you a junior, medior or senior collector ?

2nd generation of scripophily collectors
I strongly believe that scripophily is meant for both junior, medior and senior collectors. The first scripophily associations were organized somewhere in the mid 1970s by enthousiasts, most of them still young. These juniors were convinced there was a future for sharing their pioneering experiences.
I was a still a child then and ignorant of things like old shares and bonds. But I had a small collection of coins.  I also had a jar filled with used stamps which my grandmother had soaked in cold water. The Internet and email were not invented yet. I was watching Star Trek on a black and white television set.

Now, 30 years later, those pioneering juniors of that first moment, are the seniors of today. Sadly and inevitably some have passed away. In the past couple of years, I also noticed more and more young people start sharing this passion as well. Some seniors will doubt this and claim the opposite.
Well, how does the scripophily population pyramid looks like ?

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Smallest Chinese characters seek prosperity

Chinese bond issued by the Provincial Government of Kwang-Tung
Double-click image to enlarge

Early Kwang-Tung government needed funds for prosperity
During the imperial Qing dynasty, 1644-1912, the city of Canton emerged as one of the of the world's great trading ports under the Thirteen Factories. With the formation of the Republic of China in 1912, the Qing dynasty came to an end. 
At the end of 1912, the Provincial Government of Kwang-Tung, today's Guangdong province, issued an 8% prize bearing loan of 10 million dollars for the development of local industries. The proceeds of the loan were to be utilised only for schemes which will likely create wealth, such as
  • the remodelling of the city of Canton, presently named Guangzhou
  • the reclamation of the Kupper Island, and
  • the improvement and expansion of the industrial enterprises taken in hand by the Kwang-Tung Government 

The bonds were issued in 3 classes : 
  • whole bonds, with a value of 10 Dollars
  • 2 half bonds, with a value of 5 Dollars each
  • 5 1/5th of a bonds, with a value of 2 Dollars each 

The first prize was a prize of 30,000 Dollars. The Dollar mentioned, is presumably the local Silver Dollar. The bond shown here belongs to the last class of 2 Dollars. The reverse clearly states " .. 1/5 Whole Bond to draw 1/5 Whole Prize .. "

The rear of the certificate is made up in English (double-click for details).

A small certificate issued. 
Of course there is a lot to tell about the historical context of this bond. But actually, I was charmed by its dimensions. Small is actually an understatement :
  • size of the full sheet, including the coupons: 25 cm x 14 cm
  • size of the actual bond, measured along the green borders: 6.5 cm x 14 cm.
  • height of the tiniest Chinese characters : 1 millimeter

Details from the front (left) and the rear (right).
Chinese characters : height 1 mm
English letters : height 0.5 mm 

European or American bond certificates, issued for funding improvement works and economic development are usual much larger and use far more larger and excessive fonts for the purpose. That's why at first sight this bond looks unusual. However, most local Chinese loan issues of that period are small in size and sober in implementation. And is there not a saying Less is More

Do you know of smaller bonds ?

Antique bond certificate from China issued by Provincial Government of Kwang-Tung