Bonds - shares - certificates - old deeds - scripophily


Tel: +46(0)8-611 01 10, 611 58 20, 
Hantverkargatan 3
6,  112 21 Stockholm, Sweden
info@aktiesamlaren.se
 



 

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The Swedish-Northamerican shipping company

History
The first shares (and trading in them) go back to 2000 BC, but trading in the sense we know it dates from around 1000 AD, in the Italian port of Amalfi, where maritime ventures were divided into shares, which could be bought and sold. This form of maritime share continued until the 19th century, and was the basis for the initial finance of companies such as the East India Companies. Bonds were first issued in Italy; those of the City of Florence were certainly traded before 1328. The earliest companies did not issue ownership certificates, but entered holdings in a register, just issuing a receipt for the money, and often a certificate of entry in the stock register. The 16th century saw bonds from England, France, Holland and Germany, and the first exchanges for organised trading. The first such exchange was in Antwerp, and others soon followed in Amsterdam and other major cities in Europe.

The earliest 'joint stock company' is believed to be a Swedish mining company formed in the 14th century, but few others appeared before 1600. About that time, the first of the great trading companies were founded in Holland, England and France. The earliest collectible bonds and shares, mainly from England, France, Holland and Italy, date from the late 17th century. More collectible material exists from the 18th century, almost all of it from these four countries and Spain, Portugal, Belgium and the U.S.A.

How to find your way around
Our inventory is organised in three separate categories namely: rare old Swedish stocks and bonds, by theme and by company name.


Alfred Nobels Nitro Nobel Company

 

 

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Detail from the Contractors of Borås AB 1919

Starting a collection
The best overall advice to a new collector is - be patient! Do not rush into buying a large quantity without some idea of what sort of collection you want to build. Otherwise you may find yourself holding an accumulation of miscellaneous certificates, rather like a child's stamp collection, with bits and pieces of everything. This will not give a lot of pleasure or satisfaction, nor will it prove a good investment.

It is vital to learn about the subject, get in touch with dealers, join the Swedish society of Scripophily, read books and magazines, talk to other collectors, look at old auction catalogues, buy just a few pieces. Then, with your preferences well defined, you can start building a collection tailor-made to your interests and budget. We will be happy to discuss this with you and to guide you.

 

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Detail from Falkenbergs Train Company 1902


Decorative quality
Over the last few years the premium on very decorative pieces has risen sharply, particularly in Europe. Many people wish to frame pieces and will seek out attractive material. To the average collector, too, a piece with a good vignette (illustration) will be preferable to one without a vignette. It vastly adds interest to a railway share to have a picture of one of the company's locomotives on the certificate.

 


Ericsson Phone Company

What are Bonds and Shares?
A bond or a share or stock certificate is a document given to an investor as evidence of ownership of an amount of capital. Usually these documents are on part-printed forms that are signed and sealed at the time of issue to the investor, personal details being entered in manuscript or overprint at the same time. They are usually signed by directors of the issuing body and sometimes by the investors.

Shares are issued by businesses and form part of the permanent capital of the business. Usually, shares are not repayable, and the investor can recover his money only by selling to another investor. Shares are of many types, originally giving different rights to the holders, and now providing varieties for scripophilists to collect. The most usual are Ordinary (or Common), Preferred and Deferred.  Most shares earn dividends at the business's discretion, depending on how well it has traded.

Bonds represent a loan to a business or to a government or other public body, or sometimes an individual. They are usually repayable within a stated period. Bonds earn interest, usually at a fixed annual rate, which must generally be paid by the company or other body, regardless of its financial results. Bonds may be unsecured, or secured on the borrower's assets (Debentures or Mortgage Loans) and may be payable in gold coins ('Gold Bonds') or as an amount related to the price of a basket of commodities ('Inflation Bonds')

 

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Detail from the Steam Shipping Company in Uppsala 1841

Collecting themes
Many collectors favour themes such as railways, autos or mining. These offer a very wide range of material, and some further specialisation is needed. In the case of railways, collectors often choose their own country or region. Autos are often collected by country or date. Mining collectors choose either their country/region or a type of mining - gold, diamonds, coal, etc. The smaller fields - oil, tobacco, tramways, textiles, engineering, electricity, water, coffee & tea, and a hundred others - are small enough for a collector to build a world-wide collection.

Popular specific themes include pre-1800 (fascinating but expensive, and only partly catalogued), and Confederates (bonds issued by the Confederate States in the American Civil War - mostly inexpensive, and well catalogued). Some collectors collect only shares, excluding bonds completely. Others collect only the bonds of   national/state/city Governments, especially those of Imperial China or Tsarist Russia. Some buy only an art style, such as Art Nouveau or Art Deco, or the work of a well known printer, such as Waterlow of London or the American Bank Note Company. Some collectors want autographs of famous people on certificates - often found on U.S. shares and sometimes on European pieces also, and including businessmen such as Wells and Fargo, Vanderbilt, Rockefeller, J.P.Morgan and the Rothschilds as well as those famous in other fields such as Empress Maria Theresa and Johanne von Goethe.

 

These pages About Scripophily are based on extracts from the forthcoming I.B.S.S. publication, Scripophily Guide. Copyright is retained by the International Bond & Share Society, London, 1998.