Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and to my eye these Hukuang Railways bonds are among the most attractive pieces ever to bear stamps.
Imperial Chinese Government Hukuang Railways bonds are well-nigh ubiquitous in the marketplace. They were issued in 1911 by a consortium of banks in London, Berlin, Paris and New York, with serial numbers running into the six digits, of which hundreds if not thousands appear to have survived.
A few bear New York State adhesive revenue stamps; shown here is a New York issue £100 bond with Secured Debt $1 and Investments $1 stamps paying New York’s Investments tax in 1917 and 1918; this secured for the bondholder exemption from that state’s onerous personal property tax. Coupon bonds of this era are generally large and spectacular—American bonds typically measure about 10 by 15 inches—but this one sets new standards on both scores.
It is huge, some 16 by 22 inches as shown. Its design and execution by security printers Waterlow & Sons of London are equally impressive, featuring the facsimile seals and signatures of China’s Minister of Posts and Communications and its Minister in Washington. Alongside is the countersignature of a representative of the New York banks J. P. Morgan & Co., Kuhn Loeb & Co., the First National Bank of the City of New York, and the National City Bank of New York.
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George H. LaBarre Galleries - Collectible Old Stocks and Bonds and Old Stocks and Bonds
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