Monday, December 24, 2012

This was 2012

Scripophily in 2012
If I would summarize 2012 for scripophily, then these four words come up in my mind :
  • Asia
  • speculation
  • exhibitions
  • USA

detail from a share of the Brazil Railway Company
double-click image to enlarge

Interest in antique securities related to Asia continues to grow. True, there is a lot of speculative demand in Chinese foreign bonds, but also the demand in "true" scripophily material from China is strong. An evolution seen in antiques in general, as you can read here. Other regions are becoming more popular as well : Indochina, Hong Kong, Philippines, Japan and, in my opinion to a lesser degree, also India, Malaysia and Indonesia. At least two major auctioneers of stocks and bonds are now organizing auctions in Hong Kong offering Asian scripophily. 

Speculation existed long before scripophily
In 2012 speculation in uncancelled antique securities was omnipresent at auctions and online platforms like eBay. I believe there was not one copy of Scripophily magazine, or der aktiensammler, that was not addressing this topic. Such speculation is not a new thing, but existed even before people introduced the term scripophily. A more recent example was the speculation in the 1872 bonds of the Compañia Nacional del Ferrocarril Mineral de Pasco. Before, these bonds were available at 30 to 100 Euro as collectibles. In 2010 and 2011 speculators started paying up to 1000 Euro in auctions. This year, the price for a 'Pasco' fell to about 200 Euro, a price just acceptable for these beautiful and uncommon certificates. We see a similar story this year with the much more common shares of the Banco Central Mexicano. For dealers and collectors it is possible to benefit from these speculation waves, often by pure chance. The phenomenon brings stirring in the hobby. It is an interesting topic to debate on, but it's nothing more than a result of rumors in a very thin market. Don't let it carry you away.

This year I have counted at least seven exhibitions featuring scripophily. Some of these exhibitions lasted a whole year, others only 1 day. Such events introduce our hobby to the general public and are great opportunities to see uncommon material. I can only say, more of this please.

On a regular basis, I see rare and historically interesting American certificates fetching good prices on eBay  ($100-$500). These sales are often driven by ten or more bidders. Common stocks and bonds will always stay common, but with regard to those special items, I see an interesting evolution on eBay USA. Is it just me who feels this way ?

Blog statistics of 2012
As usual I round up the year with the statistics of this blog. I used Google Analytics, a web tool for analyzing the web traffic on a site, to review the period 1 Jan 2012 - 20 Dec 2012. Between brackets you'll see the corresponding numbers for 2011, see also here.

This year, the threshold of 50,000 page views was exceeded. 

In the considered period 9779 absolute unique visitors were visiting this blog (2011: 4792, + 104% ). The chart below indicates roughly a more or less stable range between 140 and 270 unique visitors per week (2011: between 60 and 220 per week), a level that was already reached at the end of last year.

double-click image to enlarge

The number of returning visitors to this blog make out 24%. This comes down to about 2300 returning visitors in 2012 (about 1400 in 2011). This doesn't mean all of the visitors are collectors.

What about the geographical distribution ? 
In absolute figures, all sub continent regions show significant increases. However, the relative parts are shifting more pronounced. Just as previous year, more than half of the visits come from Northern America and Western Europe, but also similar as last year, we see a further relative decline : both regions aggregate to about 53% (-10%) of this blog's visits in 2012. 

The regions with increasing parts are to be found in Asia. The number 3 is still South-Eastern Asia, and number 4 of 2011, Northern Europe, is now overtaken by Southern Asia. Western Asia, number 8, is now skipping South America. Together, these three Asian regions make up more than 21% of the total (+7%).  

The only region in Europe that increases its part is Eastern Europe which includes Russia.

Locations visiting this blog in the period 1 Jan 2012 - 20 Dec 2012

Thank you for the many visits, and I hope to see you back in 2013.
Merry Christmas and best wishes for the New Year !


The detailed sceneries shown above are 600 dpi scans taken from the vignette of the share below. With the naked eye, you can barely distinguish the smaller twigs of the trees. Notice also how the  usage of subtle color differences, dark and light,  give you an impression of depth. More on this topic, see here
A wonderful piece printed by Waterlow & Sons. I found this particular certificate, which is one of the most known certificates in scripophily, in Paris at one of the "bouquinistes" along the banks of the Seine river, about 20 years ago. 

share of the Brazil Railway Company, printed by Waterlow and Sons
1 Preferred share of 100 Dollars, 1912
Brazil Railway Company
Printed by Waterlow & Sons, London
double-click image to enlarge

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Uncharted - Gopuram from India

The share certificate of the Sri Brahmavidyambal Electric Supply Corporation Limited depicts a gopuram, a temple gateway. The vignette shows that the gopuram is located at a riverside or a lake.

Who can tell me something more about this particular monument ?
Where is it located ?

gopuram depicted on share certificate from India

A gopuram is a pyramidal tower gate in Hindu temple complexes. People in Southern India and Sri Lanka started building them since the 10th century. Some of these towers reach a height up to 75 meters. The kings, who have been building these temple complexes, often installed huge water tanks to the sanctuary. So, my earlier remark about the riverside in the vignette is likely misleading. It is possible that the vignette shows such a holy water tank.

share of Sri Brahmavidyambal Electric Supply Corporation, Limited
The Sri Brahmavidyambal Electric Supply Corporation, Limited
Certificate for 3 shares of 200 Rupees
Ramachandrapuram, 1927
double-click to enlarge image

I have no further information about the gopuram except for what can be derived from the share certificate :
  • company name : The Sri Brahmavidyambal Electric Supply Corporation Limited
  • location : Ramachandrapuram
  • registered : princely state of Pudukkottai (Pudukottah)
  • issued : 26 Nov 1927
  • capital : 400000 Rupees
  • printer : Solden and Company, Madras

Near the upper right corner of the certificate you can see a revenue stamp, issued by the princely state of Pudukkottai (Pudukottah) which is located in the Indian state Tamil Nadu. It shows a portrait of a boy, who will become the last ruler of Pudukkottai.

Rajagopala Tondaiman was born in 1922. One year after this share was issued, at the age of six, he was appointed to succeed Martanda Bhairava in 1928 as the Raja of Pudukkottai. Till 1929, the latter's brother Raghunatha Pallavarayar served as regent until February 1929. Thereafter, the state was governed by a council of regency appointed by the British and this situation lasted till January 1944. Rajagopala then took over the administration. Four years later, Rajagopala acceded to the dominion of India. As a sportsman, he will serve as the president of several sports clubs, including the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA). Surprisingly, or not, the logo of the TNCA shows a gopuram.

Image by Aravind Sivaraj


Who can tell me more about this particular monument on the certificate? Where is it located ? 
Can someone provide further information on the Sri Brahmavidyambal Electric Supply Corporation ?

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Exhibition : Capital - Merchants in Venice and Amsterdam

Venice from the 13th century and Amsterdam in the 17th century, both played a significant role in the economic and social development of the West.

The origins of capitalism
In the exhibition Capital - Merchants in Venice and Amsterdam, the Landesmuseum Zürich, in English: National Museum Zürich, introduces us to the origins of our economic system. "The exhibition focuses on the emergence of capitalization and financial instruments between the late Middle Ages and the early modern age. The exhibition looks at the merchants and traders who invented these instruments."  

Capital - Merchants in Venice and Amsterdam
14 Sep 2012 - 17 Feb 2013
Zürich, Switzerland

On display are: model ships, nautical instruments, rare sea charts, handbooks for merchants, architectural models, sumptuous gold and silver objects, magnificently illustrated folios, et cetera. Films, especially produced for this exhibition, can be seen as well. 

Significant for us, there is scripophily exhibited too: one share unlike anything else. 
If your schedule allows it and you are in the neighbourhood of Zürich, this could be your only chance to see the oldest known share of the Dutch East India Company (VOC) : unique and of the highest importance for scripophily. 

Practical info
  • location : Landesmuseum Zürich, Museumstrasse 2, 8021 Zürich
  • duration : 14 Sep 2012 - 17 Feb 2013
  • opening hours : Tue - Sun 10:00 – 17:00, on Thu open until 19:00
  • closed : on Mondays but open on holidays, check opening hours here 
  • entrance fee: adults CHF 10.–, reduc. CHF 8.–, children up to 16 years free of charge

Further reference
  • The exhibition site, see here 
  • Der Kapitalismus - wie alles begann, in English: Capitalism - how it all started, online article by the Neue Zürcher Zeitung, including a video report on the exhibition, see here .
  • The National Museum Zürich 
  • Further press information on the exhibition, see there .
  • The oldest VOC share is just a recent discovery, see here.


Signed the Guest book yet ?

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Digest of scripophily readings VIII

New online scripophily articles and references, November 2012

Bibliographies of scripophily
It is just amazing how much literature has been published for scripophily enthusiasts. Too much too keep track off, but not for Hans-Georg Glasemann from Germany. Glasemann compiled two lists of publications related to the field of collecting antique share and bond certificates :
  • German bibliography of scripophily, in German, see here
  • Foreign-language bibliography of scripophily, in other words publications in other languages, see there .
I made a rough estimation, we are talking about an impressive 500 entries in both lists. "Georg" is continuously updating the lists. He will be very happy if you send him additional suggestions, additions or bug fixes. You can reach him at .

Glasemann, an expert in scripophily research, is regularly seen as author of articles in scripophily magazines and known as book author as well. All of this can be discovered on his website . Tip: check out his article on the Suez Canal securities.

SCOB lists Bruxelles stock exchange companies
The Research Center for Corporations and Stock Exchange, in Dutch: Studiecentrum voor Onderneming en Beurs (SCOB), is a research centre at the University of Antwerp. The main goal of SCOB is to study the financial data and history of the Belgian stock exchanges and the companies listed on these. Read more about SCOB's activities and projects here.

Interesting for us, SCOB maintains a list with all corporations ever quoted at the Brussels stock Exchange. The list can be downloaded here as an Excel file.

The Rothschild Archive
I'm sure some of you already know about the Rothschild Archive. It was ".. established in 1978 to preserve and arrange the record of the Rothschild family that is widely recognised for the major contribution it has made to the economic, political and social history of many countries throughout the world. The research centre is based in London, and a web site has been developed to make the contents of the archive more readily available to remote users and researchers. .." 

And there is a lot to find on the web site. A few examples :
  • an article, titled Egyptian finances in the nineteenth centure: a Rothschild perspective, containing a few pictures of old bond certificates, see here 
  • a list of hundreds of loans for sovereign governments issued by the London Rothschild House, see here 
  • a presentation on the Rothschild name and the association with wine, see there .
There must be lots more, I did not have the time to discover it all. If you find anything interesting, please let me know by email, or add it in the comments section below.

front cover of the magazine der aktiensammler Oktober 2012
double-click image to enlarge

der aktiensammler 
In addition to the articles above, the latest October 2012 No.5/12 issue of der aktiensammler magazine, contains the following stories (in German) :
  • Die Weimar-Rastenberger Eisenbahn kam nie so richtig in Fahrt, about the Weimar-Rastenberg railway company
  • Bietfieber: Warum wir bei Auktionen manchmal mehr bieten, als wir sollten, in English : Bid fever: why we often bid more than we should in auctions
  • Lintorfer Erzbergwerke : Explorations-Story aus dem Niederbergischen Land, a story on the mining history in the Lintorf area near Ratingen, Germany
  • Der 20. Juni 1948 - der Tag an dem der Hamster verschwand, freely translated: The Currency Reform of 1948 and the introduction of the Deutsche Mark (part 11 in a series on the evolution of money)
  • Warum die Schmidheinys keine Banker waren (Teil 1), about the Schmidheiny industrial entrepreneurs family and the Holderbank cement business
  • Besserungsscheine : Lieber Sammeln als auf Nachschlag hoffen, in English : Besserungsscheine, bonds, issued after WWII in West Germany
  • The Coca-Cola Company : Start als Einprodukt-Anbieter
  • Von der Billigmarke zum Premium-Produkt: Pepsi-Cola
  • Bergmann-Elektricitäts-Werke AG : In der Elektroindustrie gab Berlin den Ton an
  • other periodical topics : Auction Reviews, Collector's Portrait, Events Calendar, Classifieds


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Scrollwork at left

The common use of the term 'scrollwork' in scripophily
In auction catalogues that are written in English, you probably have noticed lot descriptions containing a phrase like 'scrollwork at left'. Such an expression will refer to a whole of ornamental design elements at the left side of a share or bond certificate. The term is an English term and you will often find such design elements on English shares and bonds. An example of scrollwork is printed at the left on the share shown below, hence the expression 'scrollwork at left'. Is there also something like 'scrollwork at right'? Ofcourse, scrollwork can be seen on all possible positions on a certificate. 

share certificate of the Para Electric Railways and Lighting Company

The Para Electric Railways and Lighting Company, Limited
Certificate for 5% first debenture stock, 1968
Printed by W.H. Rickinson & Son
left image: detail of the 'scrollwork at left' 
double-click to enlarge images

Origins of the term 'scrollwork'
Scrollwork is an ornamental design element resembling a spiral. The name is derived from the word scroll which is a roll of paper, parchment or papyrus. The edge view of a scroll forms a spiral. 

The term scrollwork is derived from the word scroll, which is a roll of paper. 
The edge view of the paper forms a spiral.
detail from the certificate below

share in the Ligne Internationale D'Italie par le Simplon
Nouvelle Compagnie de la Ligne Internationale d'Italie
par le Simplon (Chemins de Fer et Navigation)
Bond for 525 Francs, 1868
double-click to enlarge image

Monday, November 5, 2012

Women versus men in scripophily

Do men and women really collect differently ?
Collecting is a hobby that we may undertake for several reasons. In the act, we seek for aesthetics or historical appeal. Some of us collect because we enjoy the social interaction with other collectors. We can even try to pursuit profit. Collectors may collect for the reward they receive when acquiring better skills and knowledge. Whatever the reason, both men and women have been collecting for thousands of years. The question is do they collect in a similar way ? That is exactly what we can find out by setting up a scripophily poll on this topic.

Scripophily collecting behavior
This poll is about us, men and women in scripophily, and our particular collecting behavior. So, please participate. The more results we gather, the interesting the outcome. If you know a friend, man or woman, old or young, who is also collecting stocks and bonds, convince him or her to participate as well. If you have a blog, or if you are member of a scripophily association, tell about this poll. Truely, every participation counts.

Poll information :

  • You can find the poll below this article. It contains about 20 questions.
  • Your answers are anonymously and will be kept that way. 
  • The poll will be closed on 30th April 2013. 
  • After the closing, I'll do an analysis and present it in a follow-up article. 
Also, I wish to thank the following persons for providing some very interesting questions:
Ursula Kampmann, from CoinsWeekly, and Dagmar Schönig, from the Wertpapierwelt museum.

Have fun ! I will be delighted with every single participation.


Update (2013 Sep)
The reviews can be seen here ;

La Salvadora,

compañia de seguros maritimos, avales y subvenciones

20 Shares of 5000 Reales each

Barcelona, 1857
engraving by Antonio Roca y Sallent
double-click image to enlarge

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Reference catalogue : Cox's North American Railroads

Front cover of Terry Cox's catalogue of North American railroad securities
2nd Edition, 2003
double-click image to enlarge

  • Title : Collectible Stocks and Bonds from North American Railroads - Guide with prices, second edition
  • Authors : Terry Cox
  • ID : ISBN 0-9746485-0-7, published by TCox & Associates Inc., 2003
  • Languages : English
  • Number of pages : 546
  • Images : about 225 black and white images 
  • Indexes : alphabetically, additional index on the key words and phrases from the chapters
  • Still available, see here.

This superb reference catalogue covers stocks and bonds from companies that built, or planned to build, railroads in the USA, Canada, Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Jamaica and other Carribean Islands. 

Included are: mainline railroads, short line railroads, narrow gauge railroads, horse railroads, tourist railroads, electric railroads, street railroads, traction railroads, subways, tramways. The edition lists about a phenomenal 18000 different certificate entries with price indication. Several "Quickfind Charts" help you to find certificates from companies that issued tens of varieties.

I bought the 1st edition of the book, I believe it was in 1998. When in 2003 the 2nd edition appeared I purchased that one as well without the slightest hesitation. Though I am not a collector of these railroad certificates, I have used the books exhaustively. Just look at the images of both editions, you'll see the fold and cracks in the front covers. Why? Well, the book contains so much more and useful stuff for any  collector of American shares and bonds in general.

What is a CUSIP number ? Do you know the difference between cumulative preferred stock and assessable stock? The answers on these questions and many more are given in the book. You will find information on quantities of certificates, price evolutions, terminology, security engraving, lettering on securities, denominations, paper, underprints and overprints, scams, rarity, autograph aspects, a list of 300 biographical entries, and more ..

Chapters preceding the actual catalogue section :
  • Purpose of this guide
  • Background on stock certificates
  • Background on bond certificates
  • Background on railroad-related certificates
  • Miscellaneous information about certificates
  • General information about railroad companies
  • Revenue stamps and imprints
  • A discussion of prices
  • Use this price guide to your benefit
  • What about selling your certificates
  • Explanation of catalog numbering system
  • Categories of information recorded
  • Selected references
  • How to help correct and expand this guide
  • Glossary of common terms used on stocks and bonds
  • Autographs found on railroad stocks and bonds

The book is only a part of a bigger project realized by the author : Coxrail is the online version including a  searchable database on the catalogue entries. Here you find new additions, images, updated price information, serial numbers recorded and again lots more for the railroad scripophily enthusiast. Terry Cox is also working on a third edition, as you can see here , but that meticulous and time-consuming labour is still in progress. 


Further information : Terry Cox's Coxrail 

1st edition, 1995
double-click image to enlarge

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Digest of scripophily readings VII

New online scripophily articles and references, October 2012

HPax - Hankes market index for German scripophily
Ulrich W. Hanke is no stranger to German collectors of stocks and bonds. In his German blog, Hankes Historische, Hanke follows the news on the German scripophily scene including auction and eBay results but also highlights the more modern securities. You may also want to read about him in this online interview.
As far as I know he is the first one to publish a market index for the German high end scripophily market. The HPax, Historische wertPApiere-indeX (English: historical securities index), is calculated twice a year and is based on the ten most expensive items sold by auction by the HWPH and FHW auction houses. See the chart here.
It is a matter of time when others may conceive similar indexes for other regions, e.g. Asia, or market segments, such as American gold mining certificates. A great idea!

Banking history of Northern England
In 1894 E. Wilson & Company publishes the book A History of Banks, Bankers and Banking in Northumberland, Durham, and North Yorkshire. It is written by Maberly Phillips. As the subtitle indicates, this worthy volume illustrates the commercial development of the north of England from 1755 to 1894 with numerous portraits, facsimiles of notes, signatures, documents, et cetera.

  • Banking in London
  • Banking in Scotland
  • Incidents prior to Provincial Banking
  • Provincial Banking (8 chapters spanning the period 1755 - 1894 )
  • Coining and clipping, tontines and lotteries.
  • Bank Reviews
  • Index
Interesting for us: in 300 pages hundreds of banks are reviewed.  Furthermore, the book is illustrated with close to a hundred images of early coins, clipped coins, forged assignates, banknotes, document signatures, portraits, engravings ..  When did we stop making books like that? A must read for anyone interested in English banking history and early and counterfeit money. Yes, there is an online version. You can see it here , the PDF-link is at the left.

Front cover of Scripophily magazine, issue 89 August 2012, IBSS

Scripophily Magazine
In addition to the articles above, the brand new August 2012 No.89 issue of Scripophily magazine, published by the International Bond and Share Society, contains the following stories :

  • The Oldest Mining Scripophily
  • Speculations Roll On (Mexico, Westphalia, Brazil)
  • The Nineteenth Century UK Bicycle/Infant Motor Industry Investment 'Bubbles'
  • Strasburg Retrospective
  • Joseph R De La Mar - The "American Monte Cristo" (US mining & gold mining)
  • The Texas Pacific Land Trust and the Saga of Certificate No.390 (railways, land property, oil)
  • The Central of Georgia (US railroad and shipping)
  • Self-Referential Scripophily: Mary Ann Gold and Silver Mining Co., Nevada Territory
  • other periodical topics : News, Bourse Reviews, Book Reviews, Auction Reviews, Events calendar, Member Classifieds, Update Membership Directory Supplement, Club Auction  

Tip 1 : This issue has been put online as free download, see here. If you are still not a member, time to check out the magazine by yourself !

Tip 2 : Also this issue includes a 2-For-1 admission coupon for the Checks and Balances exhibition, see here,  at the Museum of American Finance, open through November 2012.


Signed the Guest book yet ?

Monday, October 1, 2012

Cricket and the Olympics

Cricket is said to be the second most popular sport in the world. Yet it was not included in the London 2012 Summer Olympics. For those not familiar with cricket, and I am one of them, here is a small historical overview. For the cricket initiates amongst us, I hope you enjoy the bonds and shares in this article. Cricket scripophily is exceptional. 

from the Laroussse Universel en 2 Volumes 1922

500 years of cricket
Already in the 16th century people played an early form of cricket in England. The first famous cricket club was the Hambledon Club founded in the late 1760s. It was the Marylebone Cricket Club, established in 1787, that described and controlled the Laws of Cricket. The MCC would become England's governing body of cricket. By the 1800s cricket was played all over England. During the expansion of the British Empire in the 19th century, military and merchants introduced tennis, rugby and cricket too in the overseas territories. The first international match took place between the USA and Canada in 1844. In 1877 England and Australia contested each other. On a regular basis both countries would rival each other in a series of matches that would become known as the Ashes. 

Debenture of the Yokohama Country and Athletic Club
The Yokohama Country and Athletic Club
English merchants introduced cricket in the Far East in the 19th century.
Originally founded in 1868 as the Yokohama Cricket Club.
The YCAC still exists today, more info here.
1913 Certificate for 20 debentures of five Yen (Japanese gold currency)
Sold after 6 bids on Ebay, July 2011, for 55 Euro

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Exhibition : Capital of Capital

In the exhibition Capital of Capital: New York Banks and the Creation of a Global Economy the Museum of the City of New York shows us how the NYC's banks evolved into the global financial players that we know today.

The exhibition displays historic documents, prints, cartoons, early credit cards, advertisements, bank-issued money, artificats and ofcourse stocks and bonds from New York banks. The exhibition is funded by Citigroup as part of its 200th anniversary commemoration.

Image source : Julia La Roche for  Business Insider

Practical info :

  • Location : Museum of the City of New York, 1220 5th Avenue at 103rd street, New York
  • Duration : 22 May 2012 - 21 October 2012
  • Opening times : Monday - Sunday 10:00-17:00

Detail info :


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Digest of scripophily readings VI

New online scripophily articles and references, September 2012

AHM brings our mining past back alive
Archivo Historico Minero is an online project, in Spanish. The site contains a large image database related to coal mining in Spain, but also gold and iron mines, marble quarries and lots of other mining sites and related events from all over the world. Numerous photographs are provided by many contributors. You can find here the main link to this project. Also, interesting for scripophily collectors, there is a section Acciones mineras with lots of images of mining stocks and bond certificates. You can find it there. A great initiative and anyone can help contributing images and related stories.

Telephone and telegraph histories from South America
In a series of books, published in the 1920s, Victor M. Berthold of the American Telephone and Telegraph Company, discusses South America's telephone and telegraphy history featuring several early telecom companies :
  • History of the telephone and telegraph in Brazil, 1851-1921
  • History of the telephone and telegraph in Chile, 1851-1922
  • History of the telephone and telegraph in Colombia, 1865-1921
  • History of the telephone and telegraph in the Argentine republic, 1857-1921
  • History of the telephone and telegraph in Uruguay, 1886-1925
And guess what.. at least two of these books are available online! You can find the Argentine part here and the Brazilian part there. On the left, you'll find a link for downloading a PDF version.
Does anybody know if the other parts have been put online as well ?

Why Wall Street, why Bulls and why Bears ?
CNBC has put online some short videos about the history of Wall Street. Find the answers on the following questions in these minute videos :

Front cover of the magazine der aktiensammler
double-click to enlarge

der aktiensammler
In addition to the articles above, the latest August 2012 No.4/12 issue of der aktiensammler magazine, contains the following stories (in German) :
  • McDonald's : Fast food at its best
  • Die älteste Siemens-Aktie: Ein US-Papier aus dem Jahr 1883, in English: The oldest Siemens share (The Siemens' Regenerative Gas Lamp Company)
  • Die Rentenmark - der Sanierer der Hyperinflation, English: The Rentenmark - remedy for hyperinflation (part 10 in a series on the evolution of money)
  • Dampflok-Tradition: Nordhausen-Wernigeroder Eisenbahn AG, or in English: the Nordhausen-Wernigeroder Railway Company
  • Zwischen Wupper und Ruhr: Bergische Kleinbahnen AG, freely translated: Between the Wupper and the Ruhr (river) runs the Berg Light Railway Company
  • Trabrennbahn Hamburg-Bahrenfeld: Getrabt wird bald woanders, about the Hamburg-Bahrenfeld harness racing track
  • Friedrich Eberts Zwangsanleihe: Verjährte Massenpapiere, English: Friedrich Ebert's Forced Loan - piles of expired bonds
  • Die Ebay-Spekulationswelle flacht deutlich ab, in English: Speculation wave on Ebay is clearly weakening
  • other periodical topics : Auction Reviews, Book Reviews, Collector's Portrait, Events Calendar, Classifieds


Saturday, September 1, 2012

Exhibition : Echt oder Falsch ?

Since money was invented, people have tried to produce or use counterfeit money. Even countries, in the act of warfare, have tried to overflow the enemy's economy with fake bank notes.

image of genuine 200 Polish Zloty banknote and counterfeit copy
Polish 200 Zloty banknote, 1976
above: genuine
below: counterfeit
HVB Stiftung Geldscheinsammlung

Echt oder Falsch, Authentic or Counterfeit ?
The Museum für Druckkunst Leipzig, English: Museum of the Printing Arts Leipzig, will showcase genuine and forged banknotes spanning more than 2 centuries. About 150 exhibits from more than 30 countries will give you an insight into the world of counterfeit money. Banknote printers were often printers of securities as well. So, this is not a surprise, a few government securities are part of the exhibition !

The exhibition is a cooperation with the HypoVereinsbank’s Banknote Collecting Foundation and supported by Giesecke & Devrient GmbH München, the criminal investigation departments of Bavaria and Saxony (LKA) and Sammlung Haupt, Berlin.

Practical info :

  • Location : Museum für Druckkunst Leipzig, Nonnenstrasse 38, Leipzig, Germany
  • Duration : 14 October 2012 - 7 December 2012
  • Opening times : Monday - Friday 10:00-17:00, Sunday 11:00-17:00
  • Closed : on Saturdays, also on 31 Oct and 21 Nov

Detail info :

To those who can visit the exhibition, please tell us how you experienced it.

Signed the Guest book yet ?

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Exhibition : Companies from the Gelnhausen district

The Kürle publishing house is organizing a double scripophily exhibition on the occasion of its 110th  anniversary. Happy birthday !

District Gelnhausen scripophily
Till August 30 2012 the Companies from the Gelnhausen district exhibition shows certificates from the region Gelnhausen. Certificates can be seen from companies like Veritas AG, Gebrüder ADT AGSteinauer Basaltwerke, and much more.  Place to be : 

  • Until 30 August : Kreissparkasse Gelnhausen, Barbarossastr. 2,  Gelnhausen, Germany
  • On 1 September : Romanischen Haus (Roman House), Gelnhausen, Germany

share certificate of the Bruinkolen en Basalt-Maatschappij Steinau
Bruinkolen en Basalt-Maatschappij "Steinau"
Englisch: Brown coal and Basalt Company "Steinau"
Share of 500 Gulden, 1902
Dutch mining company active in the Gelnhausen region
image source : Kürle
double-click to enlarge image

1 day exhibition
Also on 1 September, and only this day, a second exhibition Customers and Suppliers of the Kürle publishing house, displays bonds, shares and related documents from companies like Berthold AG, Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG, Linotype AG, Apple, Sony, Hewlett-Packard and other companies active in the paper, printing and publishing business and even more. Place to be : Romanisches Haus (Roman House) in Gelnhausen, Germany.

share certificate of Apple Computer, Inc.
Apple Computer, Inc.
one of many suppliers of the Kürle publishing house

More information (in German) on both exhibitions, see here and there .


P.S. This message was on short notice, yet I felt that it was still useful to bring it under the attention. After all, we can not often visit a scripophily exhibition, can't we ?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Reference catalogue : American Brewers, Distillers and Vintners

Image by Boone Shares

  • Title : American Brewers - Stock and Bond Certificates
  • Authors : Lawrence Falater, Don Mesler
  • ID : no ISBN , published by the authors, 2011
  • Languages : English
  • Number of pages : 104
  • Images : about 130 color images 
  • Indexes : no index

This is a small but detailed catalogue on scripophily from American brewers, distillers and vintners ! Along with the description of each certificate, an image and a value indication is included. From the introduction I read that no scanning device was used for the images, but a good old camera with excellent results. 

The certificates are grouped alphabetically by company in three sections :
  1. breweries (about 100 images)
  2. distilleries (about 20 images)
  3. vintners (about 10 images)

Definitely an asset for the specialised collector !


Signed Guest book yet ?

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Identifying the signature of actor Roger Livesey

Many old bonds and shares have a handwritten signature. Frequently the writing is hard to read. Recently I learned a trick that can help you identify a signature.

Adam Films Ltd was active in the British film industry
share certificate for 25 Shares of 1 Pound
representing 1/6th of the initial capital, issued in 1949
printed by Chas, Davy & Co. Ltd
double-click to enlarge image

Roger Livesey
The certificate above was issued to Roger Livesey Productions Ltd. Roger Livesey (25 Jun 1906 – 4 Feb 1976) was a British stage and film actor. Between 1921 and 1970 Livesey featured in not less than 40 movies, often teaming up on scene with his wife Ursula Jeans. During World War II, together they volunteered to entertain the troops. Livesey played the lead role in The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943) which established Livesey's international reputation. 

The London Gazette from April 10 1975 announced the Adam Films company had ceased its operations, a few months before Roger Livesey passed away. 

detail from the share certificate showing signature of Roger Livesey
This looks like Roger Livesey's signature.

Skewing and stretching a signature
With some good will, the signature above can be read as Roger Livesey. But you can make it more readable by skewing and stretching the image. These image editing functions are available in image editing programs such as Microsoft Paint. This is the result :

The signature is more readable now. The image results from applying the following image editing operations to the original :
  • Skew horizontally : -40 Degrees
  • Stretch horizontally : 120 Percent

Here are some guidelines  :
  • When the handwriting inclines
    • to the right, then use a negative number of horizontal skew degrees, e.g. -40°
    • to the left, then use a positive number of horizontal skew degrees, e.g. 30°
  • When the characters appear
    • flattened, a 'n' looks like a '_', then use a vertical stretching percentage larger than 100, e.g. 130%
    • narrow, a 'd' looks like a '/', then use a horizontal stretching percentage larger than 100, e.g. 140%

Caution: being able to identify the name in a signature, does not mean the person actually wrote it. On stocks and bonds, a signature was often written by someone else, a secretarial signer. In our example this is maybe improbable, but possible. I don't have any further references to signatures of Roger Livesey.

MS Paint window displaying the Stretch and Skew functions.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Reference catalogue : Securities of Czech Breweries and Malt Houses

front cover of the catalog on securities from Czech breweries
double-click to enlarge image

  • Title : Pivovary  Sladovny - Katalog Cenných Papírů (English: Catalogue of Securities of Breweries and Malt Houses)
  • Authors : Rudolf Píša
  • ID : ISBN 978-80-904178-0-9, published by DAS Media, 2008
  • Languages : Czech
  • Number of pages : 265
  • Images : color images for the securities, often multiple per page
  • Indexes : extensive index on company names

This is a great catalogue on shares and bonds from the Czech and former Czechoslovak breweries and malt houses.  The book starts with a historical overview of the brewing history (Historie pivovarnictvi) and includes about 50 biographies of entrepreneurs and business men. More than 500 certificates are grouped per company. Companies, more than 200 of them, are grouped by place in an alphabetical order.

A book for the advanced collector !


Saturday, July 14, 2012

Digest of scripophily readings V

New online scripophily articles and references, July 2012

The current footprint of scripophily on the Internet
About a year ago, see here, I googled the word scripophily with the following outcomes :
  • Number of web links : 470000 (50% related to Ebay)
  • Number of images : 92900
  • YouTube video's : 26
I repeated that exercise two weeks ago :
  • Number of web links: 623000 (40% related to Ebay), or +32%
  • Number of images : 135000, or +45%
  • YouTube videos : 34, or +31%
Fairly impressive growth rates!  More people write about our hobby and they do it more often. The scripophily content on the Internet is only a footprint created by an online community:  the tip of an iceberg.

Shares and Bonds from Czechoslovakia
Jiří Jaroš has been active on the Internet for some time now. Here you can find his impressive online catalogue on Czechoslovak securities. Thank you for sharing with us!

Book on the art and history of banknote engraving in the United States
CoinsWeekly reports about The Feel of Steel by Mark D. Tomasko. Many techniques for banknote engraving are used in security printing. Read more about this new book here.

Australian Mining Standard 1913
You can find a bundling of articles from The Australian Mining Standard, originally published between January and June 1913, here. On the left of the web page, click the PDF link to view the document. Size about 120 MB's, so depending on your network connection speed, it may take a while before it is downloaded. Though the majority of the articles are related to mining companies, you will discover many others related to oil companies, banks, electric utilities, tramways, et cetera.

War bonds for everyone
A smal but interesting story about American war bonds and stamp books,  told by the Museum of American Finance, see here.

front cover of der AktienSammler magazine depicting a share of the Spiezer Verbindungsbahn
double-click to enlarge

der aktiensammler
In addition to the articles above, the latest June 2012 No.3/12 issue of der aktiensammler magazine, contains the following stories (in German) :
  • Assignaten -  die Finanzalchemie der Franzosen, English : Assignats - paper money from the French Revolution (part 9 in a series on the evolution of money)
  • Die Ebay-Spekulation läuft und läuft, in English: Ongoing speculation on Ebay
  • Ebay- und Auktionsrenner : Die Obligationen der Zwangsanleihen Jérômes, or in English : The napoleonic forced loan bonds of the Kingdom of Westphalia
  • Die Deutschen Werkstätten Hellerau : Erschwingliches "Schöner Wohnen", freely translated : German Workshops Hellerau : affordable design furniture
  • Die Deutschen Werkstätten-Aktie aus kunsthistorischem Blickwinkel, English : The share of the Deutsche Werkstätten from an art historic perspective
  • other periodical topics : Auction Reviews, Collector's Portrait, Events Calendar, Classifieds


Saturday, June 30, 2012

How Claude Lorrain influenced scripophily !

Claude Lorrain 1605-1682: French artist of the Baroque era
I start off this article with a little task for you. Below, two old shares are listed. I want you to double-click the images and take a good look at their enlarged versions. For the moment don't spent any time checking out the other images from this post which are discussed later. So, take a deep breath, forget what is happening around you and focus on these first two certificates. Try to identify what these two shares have in common. I am not talking about any similarities in geographical, historical or economical terms, but in terms of visual experience. 

share of the Sugar Company of Annam (French Indochina)
Société Sucrière d'Annam, in English : Sugar Company of Annam
 Share of 100 Francs, Saigon, French  Indochina, 1929
Printed by the French printer Imp. B. Arnaud
double-click to enlarge

a 10 share certificate of the Helouan (Egypt) Development Company
Helouan (Egypt) Development Company
10 Ordinary Shares of 1 Pound Sterling, 1907
Note the art deco elements in the border design : early for the date.
double-click to enlarge

What do these shares have in common ?
When looking at the Sucrière d'Annam share, my eyes immediately perceive the printed borders, the company's name and  the 100 Francs denomination. But then, something else happens, unknowingly. After that first glance, my eyes are guided right into the underprint design. I'm not focusing anymore on the flat surface of the share. No, I'm peering .. deeper into the design. It sounds silly, but my eyes come at rest on a point a few meters further into the open space between the sugar canes. The same happens when looking at the share of the Heloun (Egypt) Development Company. When you see it, you'll first notice the title, its denomination and the border. But also here, the next blink of your eyes sets your focus on a spot maybe a 100 meters further into the design, behind the palm trees but before the sphinx. Magic ?

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Reference catalogue : Scripophily from Morocco

image by Boone Shares

  • Title : Le Maroc en Scripophilie
  • Authors : Marc-Edouard Enay, Mourad Kusserow, Jean Célerier
  • ID : ISBN 3-033-00084-3, published by Verlag im Orient-Antiquariat, 2004
  • Languages : French
  • Number of pages : 213
  • Images : color images, often multiple per page
  • Indexes : certificates are ordered by company name, further indexes: 1. place names, 2. artists, 3. printers

This luxury edition is a great book on Moroccan shares and bonds. Not less than 400 certificates are discussed. The catalogue section is preceeded by a set of very informative chapters on the history of Morocco which makes the book a thorough reference :
  • Titre anciens du Maroc (old Moroccan securities)
  • Histoire du Maroc (history of Morocco)
  • Du Sultanat au Royaume (from the Sultanate to the Kingdom of Morocco)

The book contains also a list of Arabic terms used and a map of Moroccan mining places, and what I in particular like is an index on place names and one on the artists that designed the shares.

Top !


Signed the guest book yet ? 

Friday, June 8, 2012

Digest of scripophily readings IV

New online scripophily articles and references, June 2012 

Museo Financiero
The Museo Financiero (English: Financial Museum) is an online museum, set up as a blog in the Spanish language. This virtual museum, displaying lots of Spanish shares and bonds, will eventually house three sections :
  • Spanish financial institutions
  • Hispanic-American financial institutions
  • Spanish railways

So far, only the Spanish financial institutions section is finished and open to the online public, but nevertheless it is already impressive. Many old shares and bonds from Spanish financial institutions are listed here together with a historical background note. The material is also browsable in a chronological way. There is further no indication who has been putting together all this great. Maybe you can tell ? You can find this online museum right here. A perfect activity on a Sunday afternoon.  

Our painters and sculptors, engravers, designers
Nos Peintres et Sculpteurs, Graveurs, Dessinateurs is a French book by Jules Martin, published by Ernest Flammarion in 1897. It contains hundreds of portraits and biographies of artists that were noted on artistic events like those from Société Nationale de Beaux-Arts and the Société des Artistes Français. An online PDF version can be found here.

Photograph of the French artist Auguste François Gorguet

Some of the artists included have been working on the designs of bond and shares: Auguste François Gorguet, Alphonse Mucha, ... Maybe you can recognize others as well. One of the pages in the book refers to a second volume, but I could not locate a digital version of it.

Scripophily from the first canals
During the I.B.S.S. breakfast meeting in Antwerp, 11th March 2012, member Dr Peter Christen gave a very informative talk about the history of canal building and financing, in particular the French Canal du Midi. The presentation can be downloaded here from the IBSS website. Much more on canal scripophily from France, Sweden, Germany, USA, Egypt, Greece and Panama can be found on the speaker's own web pages, see here. Thank you for sharing, Peter !

China to become the world's largest art and antiques market
For the past two years now, and even longer, one of the most popular songs played on the scripophily radio is: China, China, China. Besides the speculation on the redemption of some Chinese government bonds, several international auction results show also that 'true' Chinese scripophily, I mean not related to speculation, has been in strong demand both internationally and locally. Specific auction results in this field are highlighted in the latest Scripophily magazine. You'll understand that it is only a matter of time for China to dominate the scripophily market after reading this article on CoinsWeekly

Image of Scripophily magazine, issue April 2012 No. 88
double-click to enlarge

Scripophily Magazine
In addition to the articles above, the brand new April 2012 No.88 issue of Scripophily magazine, published by the International Bond and Share Society, contains the following stories : 
  • The World's Oldest (oldest bond dated 1485) 
  • Million Pound Bond Sets Price Record 
  • Warning: Rampant Speculation Continues (speculation in Mexican bonds and shares) 
  • The Ampersat and The Bond (the @ symbol on bonds throughout history) 
  • US Savings Bonds De-Materialise 
  • Mackay Before He Was Mackay (mining & gold mining USA) 
  • Scripophily in Finland 
  • Dr Richard C Flower and the Famous Spenazuma Scam (gold mining USA) 
  • Cox's Corner #13 - Solving problems with collectibles 
  • other periodical topics : News and Reviews, Auction Reviews, Events Calendar, Update Membership Directory Supplement, Member Classifieds 

This time, the magazine includes a 2-For-1 admission coupon for the Checks and Balances exhibition at the Museum of American Finance.


P.S. Signed the Guest book yet ?