April 20, 2012

Spring sale from Archives International

Just today, I received the newest Spring Auction 2012 catalog from Archives International Auctions. This particular sale will offer 1,070 lots on Tuesday, May 15, starting at 10:00 am. This will be the first sale in Archives International's own facilities in Fort Lee, New Jersey which is across the George Washington Bridge from Manhattan.

The Spring Auction includes three main types of collectibles: banknotes (555 lots), security printing ephemera (102 lots) and stocks and bonds (413 lots). Foreign banknotes are heavily represented among the banknotes, but there are gobs of obsolete currency sheets that I haven't seen since the big Christie's sales in 1990.

All sorts of items are represented among the lots of security printing ephemera including engraved vignettes, advertising sheets, invitations, and advertising cards, primarily in specimen and proof form
Obviously, I am most interested in the 87 lots of railroad material, 83 of which are from the U.S. There are numerous stars in the sale, and there are surely to be items of interest to all U.S. collectors, depending on specialty. In general, price estimates congregate in the $200 to $600 range with some higher and some lower.

My favorites include specimens from the Texas Central Railroad, the Quanah Acme & Pacific Railway and the Galveston Houston & San Antonio Railway. Perhaps my favorite is a proof from Morgan's Louisiana & Texas Railroad & Steamship Company. There are 61 specimens and proofs in the sale, leaving 28 issued certificates, almost evenly split between cancelled and uncancelled.

One of the cancelled certificates is a Jay Gould-signed bond from the Troy Salem & Rutland Rail Road. The price estimate is $200 to $300 which I must say seems a very fair estimate. For whatever reason, these bonds are a little more common than they were fifteen years ago, but they are still very far from "common"! Moreover, these bonds are among only a tiny handful of certificates that display Gould signatures other than the numerous MKT stocks.

Another standout is a 1919 uncancelled stock certificate of the Alaska Anthracite Rail Road Company. Take my word, they're not making any more of those!

Finally, I have to mention a local Colorado favorite, an uncancelled (correction: CANCELLED, see comments below) 1873 Colorado Central Rail Road Company stock certificate. This particular certificate is one that carries the signature of Henry Teller, a man who made a fortune playing lawyer in the gold fields of Central City and Black Hawk. I once donated a small letter signed by Teller for sale at a historical society fund raiser. Admittedly, Teller's autograph means more here than most anywhere else, but my donated Teller autograph fetched $250, and that was almost 20 years ago!

If you have not already received your beautifully-printed catalog, be sure to contact Archives International Auctions as soon as possible. As I mentioned above, the sale will take place May 15th, 2012. Ask for the "Spring Auction 2012" catalog or "Part XI" catalog.

If short on time, go to the Archives International web site and bid online.


Anonymous said...

That Colorado Central is a cancelled piece.


Terry Cox said...

At this point, I know of eight examples of the Colorado Central certificate with the RN-T4 revenue imprint. All are punch and rubber-stamp cancelled. One example appeared in Castenholz, but was not signed by the president. Two were signed someone other than Teller. One partially illustrated example appeared in a Smythe sale, but there was no mention of the signatory. The four remaining certificates were signed by Teller. Two have punch cancels through his signature. Certificates #118 and #141 show Teller's signature affected only by the rubber stamp impression, although #141 is a near-miss. The certificate that Mr. Schwartz is offering for sale is serial #118 and seems to be the best of the known examples. At one time, certificate #118 fetched $1000 plus $100 commission in Smythe sale 182 (Jan, 1999, lot 2284). Since then, it has gone unsold in two previous Archives International auctions as well as Smythe sale 277.

Please also note that I've seen one earlier example, #4, (not signed by Teller) that was once offered for $1,250. I cannot say whether it ever sold for that amount.

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