Wednesday, September 30, 2009

William Cornelius Van Horne and the Cuba Railroad Company

William Cornelius Van Horne, 1843 - 1915, began working on railroads in 1857, serving in various capacities on the Michigan Central Railway until 1864, then for the Chicago and Alton Railway for whom he served as the general superintendent from 1878 to 1879.

In 1882 he was appointed general manager of the Canadian Pacific Railway and in 1884 became its vice-president. Rising to president in 1888, he is most famous for overseeing the major construction of the first Canadian Transcontinental Railway. Van Horne considered the railway an integrated communications and transportation system and convinced the directors and shareholders to create a telegraph service and an express freight delivery service as a complement to the railway.

Knowledgeable in nearly every element of the railway industry, including operating a locomotive, Van Horne later became a shareholder of the Cuba Railroad Company. He was also responsible for launching the sea transport division of the Canadian Pacific Railway, inaugurating a regular service between Vancouver and Hong Kong in 1891 on the Empress luxury liners.

He presided over the expansion of the CPR in the luxury hotel business and participated in the design of two of the most famous buildings in the chain, the Château Frontenac in Quebec City and Chateau Lake Louise in Alberta. Van Horne served as a governor of McGill University from 1895 to 1915 and was one of the first in Canada to acquire artworks by members of the French impressionist movement. He built the Van Horne Mansion in Montreal and a large summer estate which he named "Covenhoven" on Minister's Island, adjacent to CPR's resort town of St. Andrews, New Brunswick. The island estate still exists today.

The certificate is beautifully engraved by American Bank Note Co. and is signed by Van Horne as president of the Cuba Railroad Company.

Monday, September 28, 2009

The Frederick R. Mayer Collection

One of the key collectors of Confederate bonds in the U.S. in the 1980s and 90s was Frederick R. Mayer of Denver, Colorado. It was his “world class” collection of Confederate bonds that he enjoyed. His real goal was to create collections that could be turned into books or catalogs, thus adding to the knowledge and pleasure of future collectors. That is exactly what Mr. Mayer accomplished with his extraordinary collection of Confederate bonds. Many of the great rarities were used to provide the plate illustrations in Ball’s Confederate Bonds book.

Recently, we were fortunate to purchase a large segment of Mr. Mayer’s collection of Confederate bonds. These bonds now offered have a rich and interesting history. CSA Government, Bond holders, Confederate Bond Holders Committee-London, The Coutts Bank-London, Sotheby’s-London, Dr. Douglas Ball, Frederick R. Mayer-Denver, and now George H. LaBarre Galleries.

If you would like to add to your collection or if you would like to start a collection, this offering will give you an opportunity to buy some great bonds. Please phone 800 717-9529 and ask for George if you would like to build a fine collection of Confederate bonds.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

More On John A. Dix

General John A. Dix also played an important role in national affairs as president of the Union Pacific Railroad. In a letter to President Abraham Lincoln in 1863, Dix wrote: "If the Engineers are ready, it is proposed to break ground on the Pacific Rail Road, on the 1st or 2nd day of next month, at some point in Nebraska, through which, under the Act of Congress, the line will pass. This inauguration of the work will be followed up by early measures to complete, as soon as possible, the grading of one hundred miles of road authorized by the Board of Directors to report under contract. In view of the vastness of the enterprise, and its probable influence upon the political and commercial prosperity of the country, it would be gratifying to receive a communication from you to be read on the occasion."

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Civil War Major General John A. Dix

John A. Dix (1798-1879) held a stellar career as Major General during the Civil War, and serving as Secretary of the Treasury in 1861, U.S. Senator, and the Governor of New York.

As Secretary of the Treasury, Dix sent a telegram to Treasury agents in New Orleans ordering: "If any one attempts to haul down the American flag, shoot him on the spot." The telegram was intercepted by Confederates, thus never delivered to the Treasury agents. However, the text did find its way to the press and Dix became one of the first heroes of the North during the Civil War.

Gorgeous stock dated 1850s of the Mississippi & Missouri Railroad Co. An exceptional Southern stock. Very slight hole cancel at signature. Excellent Condition. Scarce!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Collectible Autographs

It is hard to imagine in this age of facsimile, photocopies and even rubber-stamped signatures that many years ago company officials actually signed the certificates issued by their company. Even the great financial barons like John D. Rockefeller, Jay Gould, Cornelius Vanderbilt and many others actually penned their signatures to make them legal.

Today, those signatures provide the basis for what is unquestionably the most vital determinant of scarcity, desirability, market value, and overall collectibility—namely autograph appeal. In most cases, famous signatures like those mentioned above are obvious and readily recognizable to the most untrained eye.

A little research into an unknown signature often will reap impressive rewards, as the individual may have been a local or state politician, financier, railroad baron, or military statesman with a rich historical past. Tracing a person’s history is a challenge, and an integral and fascinating attraction of the world of scripophily.

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Three-Dollar Bill

The Bureau of Engraving and Printing has never been authorized to print a $3 note. However, during the early 1800s, banks operating under Federal or State charters issued notes of that denomination. These notes were printed by private contractors and were not obligations of the federal government. There is a permanent exhibit about the $3 bill on display in Philadelphia's Independence Hall. (Source: U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing)

During the American Revolution, the Continental Congress prior to the U.S. officially becoming a country did issue three-dollar bills bearing the motto "Exitus in Dubio Est," which translates to "The Outcome Is in Doubt.” (Source: Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco)

We do have a fine collection of US currency, including fractional currency, paper money printing errors, Colonial currency, Continental currency, Confederate, and obsolete.

For more information visit our web site,, or call George LaBarre at 1-800-717-9529.
George H. LaBarre Galleries - Collectible Old Stocks and Bonds and Old Stocks and Bonds A foreign antique stock and bond company.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Abraham Lincoln Bronze - Brenner

We have in stock a 1907 fine quality, bronzed base metal plaque of Abraham Lincoln by Victor D. Brenner. It features the very same art used for the Lincoln Cent of "VDB" fame. The title reads:
** 1809 * 1865 **

The bronze plaque is signed and copyrighted by the artist at the right edge. Nice original color; excellent condition. Dimension 7" x 9 1/2". Contact George, 1-800-717-9529 for pricing information.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Preservation of Collectible Stocks and Bonds

As with any paper collectible, stocks and bonds must be preserved in the best possible condition. In most cases, items purchased from reputable dealers will be in good condition and will not require any cleaning. However, material found in attics, flea markets, antique shops and the like will often require cleaning. Any dirt or other foreign matter adhering to the paper must be removed.

Carefully wipe the stock or bond very gently with a soft cloth such as cheesecloth, an old cloth baby diaper or a cotton cloth. The cloth may be lightly dampened with a small amount of water, but use extreme caution so there is no streaking or smearing on the document. These types of marks caused by the water are virtually impossible to remove. Always keep in mind that because condition is such an important and integral part of collecting, care should be taken to insure that your cleaning efforts do not cause more harm than good, thus leading to some permanent damage to the stock or bond.

Masking and cellophane tape are seldom found on stocks and bonds. If they are, they can cause serious problems in terms of removal, damage to the paper, and browning. Carbon tetrachloride works effectively in dealing with tape removal. It requires an experienced hand to use this chemical safely and properly, as it is toxic.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Uncut Sheet Italian Playing Cards

The earliest authentic references to European playing cards dates back to 1377. Yet, it is only in recent decades that clues a to their origins have surfaced. Cards entered Europe from the Islamic empire, where cups and swords were added as suit symbols, as well as non-figurative court cards.

The first European suit systems were Italian and Spanish.European cards featured courtly figures such as kings and their attendants, knights and foot-servants. In the latter part of the 15th century, standardized versions of the major national packs emerged. In Germany and Switzerland, the two lower court cards are both on foot, representing an 'upper' and a 'lower' rank-as stated in the 1377 description of playing-cards. Spades, hearts, clubs and diamonds first appeared in France about 1480.

We have an uncut sheet of 1936 Italian playing cards, as featured above. This Edwards Pignaloa-Napoli, Venetian pattern of a complete deck of 40 cards with gorgeous faces and attractive reverse of a woman with shield. For more information, contact George, 1-800-717-9529 for pricing information.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Collecting Foreign Currency

Collecting colorful foreign money is right up there with collecting foreign stamps. Incredibly beautiful and highly educational for collectors of all ages, today's foreign currency collector can amass a collection featuring intricate and aesthetically pleasing artwork.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Samuel Tilden Indiana Southern Railway Bond

Samuel Jones Tilden, 1814 – 1886, was the Democratic candidate in the disputed presidential election of 1876, the most controversial American election of the 19th century. A political reformer, he was a Bourbon Democrat, representing business interests, banking and railroad goals, and laissez-faire capitalism. Tilden worked closely with the New York City business community, worked to keep taxes low, and led the fight against the corruption of Tammany Hall.

$1,000 Railroad Bond. Uncanceled. Samuel Tilden, presidential candidate and financier, signature at back, with portrait of Tilden. Price on request. Contact George, 1-800-717-9529 for pricing information.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

The Northern Pacific Railway

The Northern Pacific and its various branch and subsidiary lines contributed in large part to the opening of the Northwestern United States. Vast natural resources including minerals and timber were tapped.

Immigrants traveled from around the globe seeking better opportunity and indeed, many fortunes were won by those who barely spoke a word of English upon their arrival in America.

The numerous frontier boom and bust towns which sprang up along the NP and its branch lines remain today as a testament to its importance in America’s history.

The Northern Pacific Railroad opened the opportunity for many to realize the American Dream. As such, its story offers us one of the finest examples of the human spirit to realize that ideal.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Memorable Moments

There are several memorable events in the brief history of the collectible stock and bond field that stand out. Certainly, great finds would include the Standard Oil stocks, the Syracuse University New York Central archive, the
B & O Railroad Camden Yards Warehouse group represented 125 years of stocks and bonds, the Erie Railroad stocks and later the bond archive surfaced.

All of these treasures fed the vibrant new market with both historic and graphic stocks and bonds.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Confederate Bonds

One of the most exciting lots to stimulate the hobby of collectible stocks and bonds was the large archive of Confederate bonds sold by Sotheby's in London on Tuesday, November 24, 1987. This lot was described as a “major and extremely extensive archive of unredeemed bearer bonds issued by the Confederate States of America between 1861 and 1864, comprising over 87,000 individual certificates for numerous Loans authorized by Acts ofThe Confederate Congress.” This exceptional holding represented the entire surviving portfolio of Confederate bonds controlled by United Kingdom Trustees since the 1880’s.

The original objective of the Trustees was to get the Southern States debt paid following the Civil War. Of course, this dream had long since been abandoned. This important assemblage of bonds was at one time part of the holdings of the United Kingdom Trustees, National Safe Deposit Co. Ltd. in London, or sometimes referred to as the Confederate Bond Holders Committee. These bonds passed by corporate succession to the Coutts Bank. (Bankers of the British Royal Family).