September 28, 2015

HWPH auctions 39 and 40

Matthias Schmitt and his company, HWPH (Historische Wertpapiere AG) has two upcoming auctions on October 17 and 19. The majority of the lots involve German certificates, but there are still significant numbers of items from North America, Asia and elsewhere.

HWPH catalogs are among the most well-produced and well-illustrated catalogs for the stock and bond hobby. HWPH catalogs show all lots in full color which is essentially the European standard. The thing that separates HWPH from its global competitors is its awareness that it can use the web to show details that no printed catalog ever can.

By going to the HWPH website, collectors can see online images of certificates that are over seven inches across! I do not know of any other catalogers in the stock and bond specialty who show their lots in the same manner.

By my count, HWPH is offering 40 lots related to North American railroading. Standouts include the ever-popular Harrisburg Portsmouth Mount Joy & Lancaster Rail Road Company stock certificate with ten distinct vignettes (lot 101.) Another interesting offering is lot 103 which features an 1865 Illinois Central Rail Road stock certificate. This certificate is one of only four known to me and fetched an historic high price of $581 (counting commission) in Germany in 2013.

Many of the remaining lots are seen with some frequency in the United States and would not cause much excitement if offered here. However, as always, there are a few very rare items that might go unnoticed.

One is a $1000 second mortgage bond from the Columbia Electric Street Railway Light & Power Company from Columbia, South Carolina. This item is one of only two to have come to my attention and both of those sold on eBay in 2014.

Another item sure to escape attention is a Canadian-Pacific-Railway-Company share supposedly issued in Montreal in 1911. This particular variety was the subject of a November, 1991 article in the International Bond & Share Society Journal. According to the article, the Canadian Pacific testified that it never issued such certificates. On the other hand, the author suggested (and I concur) that the company might very well have been mistaken. These certificates are so well-engraved that it seems unlikely they were entirely fraudulent. At any rate, this certificate makes the fifth to be listed in my database and is historical by its confusing nature. (See a reprint of the IBSS article on my website at

There are another couple deserving of attention. One is a stock certificate from the Kinniconick Freestone Railroad Company. This certificate is not horribly rare (six in my database), but is still infrequently seen. Another is a generic Goes certificate for the Madden Silent Wheel Corporation (four known to me.) The certificate being offered is one that previously appeared in a George LaBarre catalog from 2006.

These two sales will take place on the third weekend in October, so collectors still have time to acquire catalogs if they desire hard copies. Otherwise, interested collectors go to the HWPH site and browse the catalog online.

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