October 20, 2015

Mario Boone Auction & Bourse #55

Yet another beautiful set of catalogs from Mario Boone in Deinze, Belgium. This time, Mario will offer 2000 lots, entirely scripophily. The first quarter of the sale is dedicated entirely to French (and French-related) certificates. As many of you already know, French certificates tend to be rather ornate, with many being highly artistic. There are huge numbers of intriguing certificates in a special 96-page catalog dedicated entirely to those certificates.

The remaining 1,500 lots represent the rest of the world, far too many to illustrate entirely in the printed catalogs. Thankfully, Mario illustrates ALL of his lots in full color online at Booneshares.com. Having said that, be aware that the printing and production of Boone's catalogs is always superb and I am honored to have them in my catalog collection.

(Note for non-Europeans. Prices are, of course, in Euros, but Boone catalogs are written entirely in English.)

Boone's offerings are most emphatically global in nature. That means you will find certificates from everywhere and anywhere. Certificates involve every kind of business imaginable. Obviously, my interests are North American railroads and the selection this time seems a little more subdued than normal. Nonetheless, I count 37 rail-related lots.

To me, the standout is a £100 bond from the St Francis Branch of the Temiscouata Railway.This bond was printed in London and issue from Quebec in 1890. This particular certificate is one of only two known to me. It last sold in Germany in 2007 and is the image I show on my website.

Paging toward American certificates, I will suggest Central American enthusiasts stop and take a look at a 1904 bond from the Vera Cruz & Pacific Railroad Company (issued from West Virginia.) While not nearly as scarce as the Canadian bond, this is a certificate that appears for sale only sporadically.

I count 29 American railroad certificates, the priciest being an 1870 £100 bond issued by the Maxwell Land Grant & Railway Company. This certificate (shown at left) is one of only six to appear and will represent a new variety (based on the imprinted revenue) when sold. Like the other five, this bond is signed by William Jackson Palmer (president) and Thomas Scott (trustee.)

For fans of the Vanderbilts is a signed but unissued bond receipt for the New York Central & Hudson River Railroad (titled a 'Consolidation Certificate') signed by William Henry Vanderbilt. Although undated, I strongly suspect this certificate was signed in about 1874, shortly after he took over the reins of the company from the Commodore. The certificate is uncancelled, so the signature is in great shape.

There are numbers of other medium-scarcity certificates for sale, but I'd also recommend considering a 1906 $1000 bond from the Muncie & Union City Traction Co. This is what I'd call a 'sleeper.' The lowest sales price I've ever recorded is $125, but I've only recorded three certificates before this one. Admittedly, traction companies have never been as popular as mainline railroad companies in the U.S., but still, this makes only the fourth example to come to my attention.

Substantially more common, but always fetching a higher price is a brown preferred stock certificate from the Hupp Automatic Mail Exchange Company. This certificate and its green common stock companion are always popular items because of the huge custom vignette on both front and back.

Finally, I must mention the ever-popular 1873 stock certificate from the Harrisburg Portsmouth Mount Joy & Lancaster Rail Road. The one offered in Mario Boone's sale is signed by John Edgar Thomson who was president of the Pennsylvania Railroad for 22 years. Although I have recorded 96 of these certificates so far, and suspect there are double that number in collections, it remains one of the most popular American certificates around because of its ten(!) vignettes. I suspect this certificate was designed in 1845 or 1846 by Toppan Carpenter. That company was later consolidated into the great American Bank Note Company and you can spot the tiny "ABNCo" logo at the bottom right corner of Franklin's vignette on certificates dated 1859 and later.

Be sure to check out the catalog online, but you will need to act fast if you want a physical catalog.


October 13, 2015

Archives International Sale 29, October 24 and 29

It is hard to believe that Archives International Auctions is already up to sale 29! A tremendous number of items have already passed under AIA's gavel and another 1,300-plus lots are destined for sale later this month.

While my focus (of course) is railroad stocks and bonds, Robert Schwarz and his organization bring you much more than scripophily. The first session of the sale will take place on Saturday, October 24 at the Museum of American Finance in New York. AIA's sale takes place in conjunction with John Herzog's Wall Street Collector's Bourse, now in its fifth year. Being situated at 48 Wall Street, the main exhibition hall at the museum is the perfect place for a sale heavy in stocks and bonds.

Session One contains a large number of corporate stocks and bonds, Federal bonds and Confederate bonds, Also appearing for the first time are an interesting array of items from Herzog's personal collection.

Session Two will take place a few days later (October 29) at AIA offices in Fort Lee, New Jersey. That portion of the sale will offer over 300 lots of worldwide currency, many of which are specimens. Additionally, there are another 300+ lots of U.S. currency of all types plus a couple hundred more lots miscellaneous lots of coins, checks, printing ephemera and scripophily.

Of interest to my readers are 134 scripophily lots related to North American railroads (122 in session 1 and 22 in session 2.) As normal, Mr. Schwarz will offer a number of American Bank Note Company specimens, several of which are not yet listed in my database.

For those of you with interests outside of railroading, you will find several notable standouts too numerous to mention. Okay, I have to mention an 1865 Republic of Mexico bond, an 1889 Submarine Boat and Torpedo Co, stock, a Sierra Nevada & Pacific Coast Gold, Silver & Copper Mining Exploring Company & Land Association stock ( Is that a name or what?), a U.S. Battleship Maine Salvage Company stock and many, many more.

In terms of railroading. I suggest turning your attention to:

  • Colorado Central Rail Road Co. stock certificate boldly issued to Henry Teller. 
  • Denver Union Railway & Terminal Co. 1890 specimen bond
  • Chicago & Ohio River Rail Road Co 1886 issued bond
  • Maysville & Big Sandy Railroad Co 1888 specimen bond
  • Missouri Pacific Railway Co 1880 specimen bond
  • St Louis & Iron Mountain Railroad Co 1872 specimen bond

Having said that, I'll merely mention that you really need to sit down with the session 1 catalog and your computer. Search my database and you will find a number of certificates that are either very scarce or unlisted. MANY of those certificates are greatly more scarce than the Portsmouth Harrisburg Mount Joy & Lancaster Rail Road Co certificate offered as lot 248. Nonetheless, I'll bet lot 248 will attract more bidders than several other items you will not see again for ten, fifteen, maybe twenty years. So put in your bid by mail, fax or phone. You may not win, but I'll guarantee that if you don't bid, you're 100% sure not to win.

The catalog is online at Archives International Auctions. If you prefer a physical catalog, contact the AIA office by email or phone (201-944-4800.) You may also reach AIA by an online contact form.