April 13, 2022

Mario Boone 68th Auction and Bourse

Many of you have probably already received Mario Boone's latest auction catalog – number 68, scheduled to take place April 30 and May 1 in Antwerp, Belgium. 

This sale was a real pleasure to review because of the abnormally heavy concentration of stocks and bonds from North American railroads: 126 lot in all.

While Mario usually features rarities and rarely-seen items, he has outdone himself this time. Many items must have lived in old collections because there are several items I have not seen offered for sale in twenty years. A few specific serial numbers last appeared for sale in the early 1980s. I try very hard to avoid using the word "unique" because no one on the planet can possibly know what certificates may be hiding in old collections and dealer inventories. I will, however, say that ten items are possibly unique. Two certificates represent one of only two that I have seen in records going back to 1979. Five items represent companies that are new to me. While new company names are found frequently, they are rarely represented by certificates.

One of the curiosities that caught my attention is an 1869 bond from the Burlington Cedar Raids & Minnesota Railway Co (lot 1116). It is a dual denomination bond ($1,000/£200) probably intended to be sold in both the U.S. and Europe. It is the first certificate known from this company (the one incorporated in both Iowa and Minnesota.) 

The bond was handsigned in three places, apparently in the same hand, over the printed words "cancelled." I could not find a serial number. Instead, I found and engraved inscription in the bottom left corner that says, "Sample Bond." Its true purpose is unknown, but I am listing this item as a specimen because it was clearly not intended for issuance. Except for the three "cancelled" words and the "Sample" inscription, it is a legitimate printing from Henry Seibert & Brothers. This bond issuance is definitely referenced in the 1870-1871 Poor's Manual, although under the incorrect listing of "Railroad." 

Another highly interesting item is an 1872 $500 bond from the New Egypt & Farmingdale Rail Road (lot 1124). Not only is the bond the first and only certificate recorded for this company, it is also uncancelled and signed by Jay Gould as president of the New Jersey Southern, the guarantor of the bond. European collectors are especially fond of celebrity autographs, so I expect this item to attract bold bids.

I had known of the Choctaw Coal & Railway Co. since the mid-1990s and I had found reference to its bonds being foreclosed in 1894. However, This lot 1157 is the first time I have seen any of those bonds offered as collectibles. I warn collectors that if this bond is not unique, it is nearly so. The bond was engraved by New York Banknote Co., probably in 1889. It shows two vignettes; one of miners filling mine cars behind a mule and another of a fireman stoking a locomotive boiler. Both these vignettes appeared on bonds of the Columbus Shawnee & Hocking Railway Co., known for possibly the most fanciful vignette on railroad certificates. Bonds of both companies were issued Jan. 1, 1890.

Another item I want to bring to the attention of collectors is lot 1150 featuring a serial numbered specimen bond of the Central Railroad of New Jersey. Only a tiny number of issued bonds of this variety are known and have historically sold for around $700 apiece. This is the first one I have encountered in specimen form and the starting price is offered for about half that amount. My records suggest there have not been many opportunities to bid on this variety.

Among the many other scarce and rare certificates is a bond from The Northern Pacific Terminal Company of Oregon (lot 1142) featuring the typical N.P. image of Mount hood. The starting bid is €200, a price the belies the fact that I have not encountered any public sales of this variety since 2001. I am not saying there are not more examples out there; I'm saying that they are going to be hard to find.

There are many, many more examples of items I would like to have time and space describe, but I suggest you check for yourself. If you do not already receive Mario Boone's auction catalogs, then go online at https://www.booneshares.com/Home.aspx and check out all the certificates offered in this sale as soon as possible. Bidding is conducted in person, by mail or via the internet on Invaluable.com. Commissions are 17% for low-priced items (€100 and below and only 10% for sales above that value. VAT applies to European buyers and 3% is added to successful bids made through Invaluable.

Really. If you're a serious collector, you need to check out this sale.

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