Friday, December 27, 2013

This was 2013

This little retrospective of 2013 brings an abstraction of 
scripophily on the Internet and looks at this blog's performance. 
The illustrations "between the lines" form a little story on their own.

Snowy peaks and spruce trees form the setting for this proud mountain goat.
Double-click the image to enlarge.

In 2013 scripophily is further exploring the Internet
This week I googled the word scripophily with the objective of getting an idea about the word's spreading on the Internet. An exercise done earlier in July 2012, see here. Now we can compare the outcomes :
  • number of web links : 515000 (53% related to eBay), no comparison possible because Google changed its search algorithms since then
  • number of images : 170000, or +26% (18 months)
  • number of YouTube videos : 217 , or  +540%

Let's take a closer look at the vignette.
Do you see the nice hatching work used to create
shading effects (the rock) and illusions of physical texture
(the paws, the back and the belly of the animal) ?

Associations embrace Facebook
Today, you'll find blogs and photo sharing sites related to scripophily on almost every social media platform : Blogger, WordPress, Tumblr, Pinterest, Instagram et cetera. The most dynamic one in 2013 is Facebook. Several professionals were already present on Facebook, but this year also associations planted their flag on a strip of Facebook land. 
  • Norsk Selskap for Scripofili's page: Aksjebrev
    • type: Facebook page
    • created in June 2013
    • currently counting almost 70 likes
  • EDHAC (Germany)
    • type : Facebook group, login required 
    • created in July 2013
    • currently counting about 60 members
  • International Bond and Share Society 
    • type: Facebook page
    • created in December 2013
    • currently counting more than 50 likes

In lithography a separate stone was used for each color. Here, you can
see that the stone used for the brown color was not perfectly aligned in the
printing process. When you enlarge this image, double-click it, you'll see
stripes of brown color were printed above the outlines of the animal's back,
left front and left hind paws and its horns. A pity, especially because the
green color was printed neatly.

With about a billion users Facebook grows at a rate of over half a petabyte … every 24 hours (source: The Register). A little bit of math may put this in perspective. One petabyte = 1,000,000,000,000,000 bytes = 1,000 terabytes = 1,000,000 gigabytes. One gigabyte of information is about the size of a truck filled with papers. In other words Facebook grows at a rate of 500,000 trucks of papers ... per day ! So if I forgot to mention your scripophily association in the overview, please tell me about it and I'll complete the overview.

Blog statistics of 2013
I consistently round up the year with the statistics of this blog. I used Google Analytics, an online tool for analyzing web traffic, to review the period 1 Jan 2013 - 20 Dec 2013. Between brackets you'll see the corresponding numbers for 2012, see also here.

This year, the threshold of 90,000 page views was exceeded.

In the considered period 6560 absolute unique visitors were visiting this blog (2012: 9779, -33% ). The chart above indicates roughly a more or less stable range between 100 and 270 unique visitors per week (2012: between 140 and 270 per week).

The number of returning visitors to this blog has risen to 34.3 % (24 % in 2012). This comes down to about 2250 returning visitors in 2013 (about 2300 in 2012).

What about the geographical distribution ? The ranking on the subcontinents stayed the same as in 2012.

Western Europe, number one, and Northern America, number two, are responsable for more than 60% of the visits. Especially Western Europe increased its relative part from 30 to 39% percent at the expense of all other subcontinents. Number three and four are still South-Eastern Asia and Southern Asia. Northern Europe decreased its lag behind Southern Asia but is still on number five.

Locations visiting this blog in the period 1 Jan 2013 - 20 Dec 2013

Suggestions for improvements and topics for this blog are always welcome. Thank you for the many visits, and I hope to see you back in 2014. A Happy New Year to all of you !


PS: The vignette shown in the first part of the article comes from the Bolsalona share certificate, see below.

Bolsalona Sociedad Anonima Industrial y Commercial
Bolsalona Sociedad Anonima Industrial y Commercial
5 Shares of 1000 Pesos Oro Sellado (convertible to gold)
1920, Buenos Aires
Company active in the textile business.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Vinos Gasificados Blanxart - Ceci n'est pas un faux.

A bargain !
That particular Sunday turned out to be more interesting than usual. I was visiting a scripophily bourse; eBay was by no means invented yet. One of the present dealers showed me an album of certificates. One of them contained a superb share certificate of a Spanish sparkling wine producer. The name of the company: Vinos Gasificados Blanxart Sociedad Anonima Española

Vinos Gasificados Blanxart Sociedad Anonima Española
Vinos Gasificados Blanxart Sociedad Anonima Española
English: Spanish Blanxart Sparkling Wine Company
Share certificate for 100 Pesetas
double-click image to enlarge

A large vignette on the left side showed a pair of enthusiastic hands uncorking a bottle of Champagne, actually Spanish sparkling wine, which tastes as good as Champagne. On the right an elegant lady was ready to propose a toast. What a scene. The certificate's Art Nouveau design, with grapes depicted in the other borders, seemed to fit with the issue date of 1916. The dealer asked a price of 10 Deutsche Mark (about 7 USD) . Surely a bargain ! Without a doubt, I bought it. I even did not bother haggling any further.

But too good to be true !
Later, I noticed that the certificate's paper felt too strong for its supposed age of almost a hundred years. There were no tears or folds. The paper felt actually thicker than was usual the case with Spanish certificates from that period. Not brittle at all. I started being suspicious about my find. Someone told me it was a fake. At that time, I did not spent that much attention to details, but he was probably right. Hey, isn't that printer name a bit weird : Imprenta Fantasia, S.A. ; in English: the Fantasy Printing Company. A printer of securities surely has to have a more trustworthy name ? 

Vinos Gasificados Blanxart Sociedad Anonima Española
detail scanned at 600 dpi

I tried to find out more about the company or about the printer. There was no trace at all of both of them: the company and the printer probably never existed. The most convincing evidence that there is something wrong with this piece of paper can be seen with a good loupe. The paper was definitely printed in the 1970s maybe even in the late 1960s. Check out the details of the woman's face and the uncorking hands. Do you see the regular dot patterns, everywhere ? Old lithographed certificates have solid outlines and fills. This dot pattern is the result of modern offset printing methods.

Vinos Gasificados Blanxart Sociedad Anonima Española
detail scanned at 600 dpi

This is not a fake either !
Yet, I believe the one who issued these certificates had no intention to cheat other people. Why would one counterfeit a certificate that was issued by a non existing company and also was printed by a printer with a very questionable name? My best guess is that the certificate was distributed on the occasion of some kind of promotional activity, such as a wine bourse. Who knows more? 

The certificate has been traded and sold for tens of years .. as true scripophily. Most dealers do not recognize that this is a modern print. Only a very few dealers mention its true nature, see here an example: bravo ! What happened to the certificate ? Well, despite, or maybe thanks to its history, it ended up in my collection.


Related links

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Exhibition : The Bank of Valero - The First Hebrew Bank in Eretz Israel 1848-1915

The Eretz Israel Museum, located near Tel Aviv, focuses on the history and culture of Israel. Artifacts, from the 4th millennium BCE to the present, are showcased in several thematic pavilions. One of these, the Kadman Numismatic Pavilion, features coins, bank notes, etcetera. The Alexander Pavilion of Postal History and Philately tells us the postal history of Israel from the mid-19th century until the founding of the state in 1948 by showing us envelopes, letters, rare stamps and much more. The museum also includes a planetarium.

Valero Bank exhibition in Israel Palestine , photo by Leonid Padrul-Kwitkowski
The Valero Bank exhibition
Curator: Cecilia Meir
image source: Eretz Israel Museum

photographer: Leonid Padrul-Kwitkowski
double-click image to enlarge

The museum has prolonged its temporary exhibition The Valero Bank until December 31, 2014. The exhibition deals with the activities from the bank that took place in Jerusalem in the 19th and early 20th century. In this period Palestine was under Ottoman rule, a situation that lasted until World War I.

Ya'akov (Jakob) Valero (1813–1874) opened his bank, Jacob Valero & Company, in 1848. Under the direction of his son Haim Aharon Valero (1845–1923) the Valero Bank acted as catalyst in the early development of the Eretz Israel/Palestine region and supported its Jewish community towards the modernization of the 20th century. The bank’s capital and services were employed in the acquisition of land and building. At a certain point in time, when money for trade was scarce, the bank issued also its own currency : notes that came in one and five piastre denominations.

The Valero bank provided services for the Ottoman government and was often asked to support the government by providing loans or by purchasing government bond issues. The bank carried out financial transactions with numerous banks in Palestine and throughout the world, among them banks that belonged to the Rothschild family, but also with other governments such as the Russian Empire and the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Rothschild check Jerusalem Valero bank in Austro-Hungarian krone
Valero Bank check for 227.81 Austro-Hungarian crowns
made out by S.M. Rothschild to Assad C. Kayat
signed by Aharon Valero and issued February 12 1903, Jerusalem

image source: Eretz Israel Museum
double-click image to enlarge

Jewish pre-WWI banking history is an unusual subject in scripophily. Even with only a very few certificates on display, the engaging story of the Valero Bank makes the exhibition worthy of a visit.