September 30, 2011

Mario Boone's Auction 47

Mario Boone will hold his auction 47 and bourse on October 22 and 23 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Antwerp.

As typical, his beautiful catalog is fully-indexed with almost every lot illustrated in color.

This particular sale features 1,573 lots, of which 211 are North American. Obviously, every collector will have particular favorites. If I were a serious collector, my favorites would include a stock certificate from Polska Ruda Zelazna, a Polish iron company.

As I write this, the Euro is roughly equal to $1.35. Speaking strictly for collectors, this is a significant improvement for collectors over as little as five months ago when the Euro was $1.48. Two years ago, the Euro was hovering around $1.58. I mention this because most of Mario's start prices (for the certificates I specialize in) are very reasonable even when converted to dollars. This is especially significant when you take a close look at the offerings.

Within my railroading specialty, the sale features 73 lots of railroad certificates from North America. While you will recognize pictures of many of the lots offered, there are some hidden gems that may not jump out at you at first blush.

For instance, practically everyone has encountered pictures of distinctive stock certificates from California's Mount Tamalpais & Muir Woods Railway. That familiarity makes them seem much more common than they really are. Truth be told, I have only recorded thirteen issued examples in twenty years. I'm not saying that's all there are; I'm saying issued certificates from Mount Tamalpais & Muir Woods Railway are scarcer than most collectors realize.

An even scarcer certificate is hiding in plain sight and I suspect even fewer collectors will give it a second glance. Mario is offering a bond from Scott County, Illinois issued in aid of the Rockford Rock Island & St Louis Rail Road. This bond will only be the sixth certificate of this type that I've ever found offered for sale. Given its scarcity, the start price is very fair.

Still not impressed? How about a generic certificate issued for the Fairmont Helen's Run Railway from West Virginia. I've never understood it, but I know many collectors snear at generic certificates with typewritten company names. Never mind that essentially all are either very scarce or rare. This certificate is only the second one to come to my attention since I started recording railroad stocks and bonds and the start price is only 50 Euros.

Mario is offering a few items that are new to me. One is a municipal bond issued by the City of New Britain, Connecticut for a subway project. I've never seen the bond before, but that does not automatically make it rare. The same goes for a stock certificate for the Jordan Electric Train Signal Company (ME) and a bond from the Schenectady Railway Co.(NY) Where there certificates will go from here is anyone's guess; I can only hope that the winners send me good images.

For a catalog and more information about the bourse and the sale, please contact The Scripophily Center at

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