May 23, 2014

Spink Auction in Switzerland, June 7

Spink has a sale (#SW1012) of "Bond & Share Certificates of the World" scheduled for June 7, 2014 in Lugano, Switzerland. The sale will offer 380 lots. Twenty-four lots represent North America of which eight are related to railroads. Six are illustrated.

Before ordering the catalog, you may want to peruse the offerings online at Descriptive text for all North American lots are in English. Price estimates are in Swiss francs.

Among the American railroad certificates, the standout is probably a French temporary bearer certificate (certificate provisoire au porteur) for a $500 bond of the Central Pacific Railway (lot 367). I have only seen one previous reference to such the certificate (CEN-686-O-35). It is blue and black and was printed in Paris in 1911. It strongly resembles Dutch certificates for the period which were issued to invest in American railroads. I have always called this certificate a "receipt" and feel comfortable with that description.

Another item of interest is a stock certificate from the Louisville New Orleans and Texas Railway Co., dated 1891. Certificates of this company rarely sell for more the $50 these days, but this one (lot 372) was issued to and signed by Collis P. Huntington.

Those of you with more diverse interests will possibly be intrigued by a three-item lot of currency sized stock certificates for the Litchfield Mine, the San Antonio Mine and the Norwich Mine, all owned by American Mining Company. All three were charter by the state of Vermont and issued in the early 1850s. Also notable is a $100,000 bond issued in 1901 upon foundation of United States Steel. This bond was issued to the Carnegie Company, trustee in partial payment of the staggering sum Morgan had promised Carnegie.

Were I a big collector of these things, I'd probably be most interested in an 1869 New York City bond signed by Mayor A. Oakley Hall and City Controller Richard B. "Slippery Dick" Connolly. Both were among the inner circle of Tammany Hall corruption manipulated by "Boss" William Tweed.

Price estimates are very typical of European sales and I suspect most will probably sell within estimated ranges. Although estimates are elevated by comparison to American prices, I personally predict the Central Pacific certificate (lot 367) is not likely to appear again very soon. After, all this is only the second I have encountered since 1990.

May 14, 2014

Archives International Auction 19

A few days ago, Bob Schwartz released another beautiful, full color catalog for his upcoming 19th auction from Archives International Auctions. This new sale will be held in Fort Lee, New Jersey on Tuesday, May 20.

This particular sale will offer 633 lots, primarily of collectible paper of many different types. The bulk of the sale consists of foreign bank notes in both issued and specimen form. Having said that, the bank notes touch all sorts of U.S. specialties including large and small size U.S. and even a few lots of fractionals.

There are several lots of autographs and handwritten letters, particularly from Francis Spinner and Samuel F. B. Morse. For those of you familiar with "Short Snorters", Bob is offering a $1 series 1935A with 14 signatures, including those of Truman, Eisenhower, Marshall, Bradley and Leahy.

There are about 98 lots of stocks and bonds. Of that number, 35 lots are rail-related. Twenty eight lots are specimens, with the standout being a $1000 coupon bond from the Yosemite Valley Railroad Company. That bond is illustrated with an engraved image of Yosemite Valley and one of those sold in a 1997 Harmer sale for $1,100.

Also represented are three Central Pacific Railway bonds ($1,000, $5,000 and $10,000) with a portrait of Collis Huntington at the top. These have historically sold in a range from $140 to $531. While the market is still very low compared to its historic high, I feel obliged to reiterate the obvious, "They aren't making any more of these things!"

Also notable to my eye are bonds from the Los Angeles Railway Company and the San Pedro Los Angeles & Salt Lake Railroad Company.

You may still have time to get a printed catalog, but if you don't, you can download the entire catalog in flipbook form from the Archives International Auctions web site.