October 15, 2021

Mario Boone Auction 67 - Short notice

Mario Boone's (longtime dealer and auctioneer headquartered in Belgium) next sale will take place October 16 and 17 in Antwerp. Unfortunately, I did not receive his catalog until October 14, so I apologize to him and my readers that I did not get a chance to review sooner.

Unlike his last few sales, this one has a great selection of mid-grade railroad (77 items) and coal (7) certificates. I just checked every item offered and found that 80% of his advertised lots have minimum bids BELOW my price estimates. All but one of the remaining lots are priced reasonably above my estimates, well within the amounts European bidders are familiar with. And that includes commissions and VAT. (But not ever-shifting Euro-dollar exchange rates.

I unfortunately do not have time to describe lots except to say that if collectors are scared of bidding in Europe, they are going to miss many certificates that they do not see in the U.S. with any frequency. Moreover, they need to consider that European and American bidders tend to focus on different kinds of certificates. To be sure, American bidders will encounter competition, but large numbers of recent sales have taken place at starting bids. 

Be aware that only a handful of certificates being offered in sale 67 are ever seen on eBay. I don't have time to do a deeper dive, but it looks like the majority of these certificates appear for sale with a frequency in the range of once every three to ten years.

Think European sales are always expensive? Think again. 77 of the 84 lots have starting prices of $100 or less. Moreover, 56 of the 84 have minimum bids of $50 or less. Remember, I am counting both commission and VAT.

If you want a few to look at quickly, I will suggest lots 1164, 1243, 1332, 1338, 1343 and 1357. Collectors of coal mining certificates should peruse lots 1258 and (especially) 1288.

Oh yes, I forgot. Six items are new to me.

Again, I apologize for not being able to review this important sale earlier, but mail from Europe has been taking an unusually long time to reach me. If political news is anywhere near accurate, those times are only going to elongate.

March 31, 2021

Time for another Boone auction!

In only a few days, Mario Boone will be kicking off his 66th auction. Because of the ongoing coronavirus threat, bidding will be a combination of mail bidding and online bidding through the Invaluable.com platform. Please check out listings and images on the Booneshares.com website as soon as possible. Then, if interested, fax or email your bids by April 9th or make sure you are registered with Invaluable.

In this auction, you will find 34 certificates from North American railroads plus 7 from coal companies. There are standouts in both categories, so I will mention a few.

Perhaps the most important is Compañia de Caminos de Hierro de la Habana (lot 847) from Cuba. It is a 1-share dated 1853. I recorded this sole certificate from a 2003 Boone sale, but Mario says he knows of three. It last sold for the equivalent of $1,967 and if it reaches the minimum asking price will beat that earlier sale slightly. I know of only two or three earlier railroad certificates from Cuba.

Entirely new to me is an 1872 bond from Sociedad Anónima de los Ferro-Carriles del Salvador (lot 850.) I don't know how many El Salvador collectors there might be, but I'm pretty sure they are not going to see another one of these certificates for a long while.

There aren't many coal mining collectors are out there, but a 20-share certificate from the Mount Carbon Coal & Iron Company is most assuredly worth looking at. That is, if you want to see a stock certificate with a vignette all the way across the top and down the left side.

Lot 958 is a stock certificate from the American Rail-Way Manufacturing Company featuring an unusual monorail. I know of only four like it.

An issued bond from The Duluth Street Railway Company is offered in lot 1020 and represents one of only two issued examples I've encountered. (There is also at least one specimen. The next lot (lot 1021) is a stock certificate and perennial favorite from the Weir Frog Company featuring six vignettes of its hardware in red underprint.

I think railroad collectors will be checking out the ones I've mentioned, but there are six that I bet a LOT of collectors are going to overlook. They are bonds from the New York Central and the New York New Haven & Hartford Railroads. All LOOK familiar, but only because everyone has seen the vignettes on many other railroad bonds. In truth, the $1,000, $5,000 and $10,000 registered bonds from the NYC are each represented currently by 2, 12 and 4 examples respectively. (See lots 1028, 1029 and 1030.) I would never say there aren't more extant; I'm just saying I've never seen them.

The NYNH&N bonds (lots 1034, 1035 and 1036) are also registered bonds denominated as $1,000, $5,000 and $10,000 and are also easy to overlook. If someone knows of more out there, then please tell me, because I've only recorded 1, 1 and 4 issued examples respectively. 

Please examine the full listing of 1,117 lots at Booneshares.com and please do it quickly because the sale will take place April 10, 2021.

March 20, 2021

Fifty. No, twenty. No, Fifty

This reminds me of one of those ink spots that looks like a dog at first and then like a World War I tank a few seconds later.

A curious handwritten denomination on a Burlington, Cedar Rapids & Northern Railway Company certificate from 1879. that first looked like a fifty-share, then a twenty and then a fifty.

Images courtesy Dr. Thomas O'Shaughnessy.