Worth Serious Consideration
- by Bruce E. McKinney
Worth Serious Consideration: Archives International Auctions, Part XVI of U.S. & Worldwide Banknotes, Ephemera, Scripophily, Autographs and Historic Documents to be offered over two days: Saturday the 19th and Tuesday the 22nd of October in New York City and Fort Lee, New Jersey.
The nature of book, manuscript, map and ephemera collecting has been changed by the significant availability of always desirable but previously difficult to find related materials such as stock certificates, paper money, and non-numismatic historically interesting and important items. Archives International Auctions, based in New Jersey, has sought to integrate what has been a discrete category followed by the numismatic crowd, into the broader world that collects all matter of material, be it books or stamps or certificates, that add richness and depth to the increasingly intense collections that are emerging in the internet age. This auction, and this auction approach, is breaking down category barriers that have been traditional dealer rather than collector/acquirer conveniences. Not so long ago books, manuscripts, letters, campaign buttons, certificates, paintings and postcards lived in separate worlds. Today these disparate categories are emerging into a world of collectors and collections open to their acquisition as they come to understand the possibilities. This is why Archives International Auction’s material has been visible in AE searches for the past year. It fits with the new definition of focused collections - anything and everything relevant, the subject increasingly trumping the form. The beauty of this approach is that much of what is relevant is attractive, often undocumented, frequently inexpensive and sometimes unique. For the future of collecting such new segments are very important, not a part of the old world but part of the new.
The sale is divided into sections; the First Hour, which covers all aspects and topics of history, art, politics and events including many interesting artifacts and documents; the Copps Collection of historic Colonial Stocks, Bonds and Documents; a very interesting selection of rare Autographs on letters, documents and stock and bonds; U.S. and Worldwide Scripophily including railroads, mining important companies and many other topics; U. S. & Worldwide banknotes including Colonial, Obsolete, Confederate and Fractional Currency as well as large and small type notes; historic ephemera as well as Security Printing Ephemera. To look into full text of the sale for clues to personal relevance these 1400+ lots are fully searchable in the AE Auction search and also searchable on Archive’s site
For starters there is currency. We think of currency as being national but it has also been local. The United States and the Confederate States yes but also many, if not most, communities in the 19th century had local currency [known as obsolete currency]. Think of Proctorsville, Vermont [lot 1102], the Union Bank of Tennessee , Rhode Island, Wareham, Massachusetts , or Perth Amboy, New Jersey , In Boston R. R. Higgins’ Oyster House issued 5 cents script notes in 1862 and many other examples in this auction
The material neither begins nor ends with the Americas. The history of the European experience is also on display. Lot 928 is a 1927 Russian bond, lot 914 a 1904 Portuguese note, lot 903 two examples of 1929 Palestine currency. Occupation currencies, in fact a broad cross-section of the human experience are included - a reminder that governments come and go.
While many of the lots will sell at low prices against conservative estimates there are a few lots that will bring serious money. A 1792-dated US federal bond issued to and signed by George Washington will have collectors of American and financial history vying. Another item is an Edison Stock ticker, yet another a piece of the original cable of the Brooklyn Bridge. The sale is printed material overwhelmingly but as the focus on building intense collections intensifies so too does the depth and detail of what’s offered.
So, take a look. This may not be what you ever thought you wanted but it will be what you like. There was a time when a book collection was books and an occasional pamphlet. But life was always more complex and the material in this reminds exactly what this means.
Images shown include:
Lot 24 - Edison Stock Ticker
Lot 57 - Loan Office Certificate signed by George Washington
Lot 159 - Standard Oil Co. 1876 Issued Stock Certificate with J.D. Rockefeller & Henry Flagler Signatures
Lot 385 - Wells Fargo Mining Co., 1880 Stock Certificate
Lot 1074 - Bank of America, 1879 Specimen $10,000 Clearing House Certificate
Lot 1091 - Kirtland Safety Society Bank, 1837, Obsolete Banknote with Joseph Smith Signature
Lot 1152 - Winona, Minnesota, First National Bank of Winona, $20 1882 Brown Back
Lot 1160 - U.S. Silver Certificate, 1896 $5 "Educational"
Here are links to this material: AE Auction Search
Link to virtual catalog
Link to an article in the Bank Note Reporter
Link to a related You Tube video