August 25, 2008

Spink London Sale Catalog 8027 Out

Spink's latest Bond and Share Certificates of the World catalog (sale #8027) is out should be in the hands of most established bidders by now.

The sale offers 703 lots. 95 lots represent United States collectibles with 24 lots being related to railways. Because of the current weakened state of the dollar, collectors may find it a little hard to get excited about bidding in pound-denominated sales. However, the pain will be greatly lessened if you are willing to bid on multi-item lots. I count 10 multi-item railroad lots and I know from experience that they tend to go for very competitive prices.

If you don't already receive this catalog, make sure you contact Spink right away. The sale takes place in London on September 18.

Unlike the Spink Smythe catalog reviewed a few days ago, this Spink catalog one has many full-color images of individual certificates. I did not count, but it looks like about 15% of all lots are illustrated by full-color individual images. Remaining lots of individual items are fully illustrated online. This format (all lots illustrated online and a good selection illustrated in color in catalogs) is the standard format for European auctions. Because of low U.S. prices, I am not sure sales can fully justify color printing for American sales. However, I fail to see any good reason for not showing all auction lots online, including multi-item lots.

August 21, 2008

New Spink Smythe stock and bond catalog out

Today I received the newest Spink Smythe Bond, Share & Americana Auction. This sale closes on September 9, 2008, so if you want to get a copy of the 116-page catalog, contact Spink Smythe soon.

I counted approximately 579 lots directly related to stocks and bonds. There are another 30 lots of books, newspapers, pamphlets, and peripheral items related to the hobby in greater or lesser degrees.

Of this number, 163 lots are related to railroading. Over half of the rail-related listings are multi-item lots.

As some of you have complained, the paucity of images remains disappointing. Whereas catalogs for Spink's London sales are well-illustrated with photos of many individual certificates, this New York sale catalog has stayed with the practice of illustrating stocks and bonds with overlapping images. While not trying to defend the practice, this might reflect market reality. The cold, hard truth is that prices for collectible stocks and bonds are currently at ten-year (and in many cases 20-year!) lows. Individual illustrations may not be cost-effective. Still, even resorting to partial, overlapped images, there are only 99 photos of certificates.

Hopefully, full images of all lots will be shown when the online catalog becomes available. (The sale is not yet online as of this date.)

August 15, 2008

8th Northern Virginia Stock and Bond Show

The 8th annual Northern Virginia Stock and Bond Show will be Jan. 30 and 31, 2009 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel near Dulles Airport.

I am announcing this show early in case you want to reserve a table for selling certificates.

If you contact show promoter Bob Schell before September 25, you can save 9% to 16% off table rentals, depending on whether you reserve one, two or three tables.

As usual, Bob has negotiated special room rates at Crowne Plaze and there are free shuttles from Dulles.

Contact Bob as soon as possible at:
Bob Schell
P.O. Box 222
St. Germain, WI 54558

August 06, 2008

Passing of Ken Holter

Ken's nephew contacted me last week to tell me the sad news that Kenneth Holter had recently passed away in St. Paul. Minnesota. Details are sketchy at this time, but I knew Ken had been hospitalized a couple times in the last two years. He was a very private individual, so I knew little of any conditions he may have endured.

Some of you probably knew Ken through his online sales of railroad stocks and bonds at Scripophily Corner. I am positive that all of my newsletter readers recognize his name as a L-O-N-G-time contributor. After the first edition of my catalog appeared in 1995, Ken immediately became one of my heaviest contributors.

Except when on vacation, Ken contributed certificate images every single day. I just did a quick search and found he had reported over 10,500 pieces of information to the database, primarily serial numbers and images. I imagine he contributed another 1,000 pieces of information before I developed capabilities for recording information sources.

In the last couple of years, Ken contributed many new company names by searching through all sorts of railroad passes, books, timetables, brochures and ephemera he found listed on eBay and elsewhere on the web. Ken was seriously detail-oriented and was always on the lookout for errors in descriptions. Had he not contributed a single bit of other information, his error-checking alone would have proven tremendously valuable.

I will miss Ken's constant presence in my e-mail inbox.