Friday, April 30, 2010

Stars and Bars Removed from Confederate Capitol

John O. Foster was a Methodist minister attached to the 24th Army Corps and is said to have preached the first sermon following the fall of Richmond, April 4, 1865. Foster landed at City Point on April 2, 1865 at 2PM and upon his arrival helped tend to the wounded from both sides that had arrived by train nearby. Foster also had the opportunity to watch the bombardment of Petersburg. That evening he watched Richmond burn, and was later given a pass to enter the city.

On April 3rd and 4th, Foster, undoubtedly the first Union chaplain in the City, was given a section of the enormous Confederate flag which flew over the Confederate State House. On April 5th, his diary states he visited the Confederate Treasury. He noted: "Promises to pay (Bonds) in ton lots- told help yourselves- Did so...".

Foster obtained as many varieties of bonds and Confederate money as he could and glued the sections of the Confederate flag he obtained onto them. A label was later affixed to one section stating: "Confederate money valuable as curios, pieces of flag floating over Capitol at Richmond on day of capitulation". Foster then preached under guard at the Presbyterian Church to an audience composed of mostly liberated slaves.

This flag remnant is from the flag taken from the Confederate Capitol with the edge turned to show a portion of a Confederate bond or banknote Foster removed from the Treasury and glued thereon. The photo shows the missing flag on the Capitol as well as the new "Stars and Stripes" floating in the breeze nearby.

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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Execution of Conspirators Collectible

On July 7th, 1865 Mary Surratt, Lewis Powell, David Herold, and George Atzerodt were hanged from a wooden scaffold in the yard of the Old Arsenal Penitentiary in Washington, DC. They had been found guilty as conspirators in the plot to assassinate Abraham Lincoln and William Seward.

This is wooden fragments from the scaffold used in the execution secured as a souvenir by a soldier acting as a guard in the 1st US Veteran Volunteers.

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Monday, April 26, 2010

Confederate States of America Bond

Richmond, VA, 1864, $1,000 Bond. CR-144, CR-144A (Second Series) or CR-144B (Third Series). With 1 row of coupons. Nice Graphics including an Equestrian Figure of Washington. Large and Impressive. Excellent Condition. Virginia, 1864.

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Saturday, April 24, 2010

Collectible Cypress and Nail from Old Libby Prison

Libby Prison was built in 1845 by John Enders in Richmond, VA., and was used as a warehouse. It was located at Carey and 18th Streets and the James River. In March 1862 it was used as a military prison by the Confederate Government. In 1864 a group of over 100 Union Officers attempted an escape. Over half made their way to freedom. After the war the building was dismantled in 1889 and shipped to Chicago to be used for a Civil War Museum.

In 1898 it was again dismantled and a large portion sold to an Indiana farmer who built a stock barn with the timbers and brick. In 1963 the building was torn down and sold to Charles Mercer of Spencer, Indiana who intended to build a museum with the materials. In 1995 the materials were sold to Rod Wampler of Gosport, Indiana where they lay until sold at auction in October 2006. The majority of the materials are being returned to Virginia where they will be re-constructed at a famous Civil War museum.

This small section of tide water cypress and iron nail originated from a beam from the Libby Prison materials. One photo shows Libby as a Confederate prison. The Confederate commandant stands in a rare photo pose in front of the building. The other view is the reconstructed Libby Prison interior in Chicago when it was a museum showing the cypress beams.

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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Flag Remnant & Horn Insignia From Civil War

The basic fighting unit for the infantry during the Civil War was the company. Companies generally consisted of 100 men but were seldom up to strength due to casualties and illnesses. The staff of a company comprised of a Captain, who commanded, a 1st Lieutenant, 2nd Lieutenant and two Sergeants, and several Corporals. Infantry companies were joined together with other companies to form battalions or regiments.

Generally, there were eight companies to a battalion and ten companies to a regiment (the Union sometimes used twelve) and were designated with letters from the alphabet such a "A", "B", "C", "D", etc. (The letter "J" was not used because it looked too much like the letter "I".). The regiment was the primary fighting force for both the Union and the Confederacy during the Civil War.

This flag remnant came from a 34 Star Union flag that was used during the Civil War. The brass infantry horn insignia was worn by Union Infantrymen on their kepis. It is an authentic Civil War infantry horn that originated from an old board discovered after the War in Philadelphia. The photo shows Confederate infantrymen making a charge at the Battle of Gettysburg.

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Galveston, Houston and Henderson Railroad - Part Three

It is particularly interesting to note that most of these bonds have been bought up by speculators. As a result, they are now extremely rare. The railroad operated by the Galveston, Houston and Henderson Railroad Company, hereinafter called the carrier, consists principally of a single-track, steam railroad, located in southeastern Texas, extending from Houston to Galveston.

The wholly owned property consists of that portion of the main line projecting from Houston to the beginning of the joint causeway zone at Virginia Point and from the end of the joint causeway zone to Thirty-third Street on Galveston Island, aggregating 46.527 miles of road. The separated sections are connected by means of a concrete causeway with approaches about 2 miles in length across Galveston Bay which in part is jointly owned and used by the carrier, The Galveston, Harrisburg and San Antonio Railway Company, and the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railway Company. Located within the joint causeway zone are 2.539 undivided miles of road jointly owned with these same carriers.

This company grants to The Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railway Company of Texas and the International and Great Northern Railway Company the joint use of its tracks and facilities between Houston and Galveston, Tex. On the other hand, it uses under agreements, passenger and freight terminals of other carriers at Houston and Galvestion. The carrier wholly owns 125.800 miles of all tracks, all of which it uses. It also wholly uses but does not own 0.378 mile of all tracks owned by an industry, jointly owns and uses with other carriers 7.668 undivided miles of all tracks, and jointly uses but does not own an undivided interest in 0.110 mile of all tracks.

The property of the carrier was operated by its own organization from December 1, 1882, to March 6, 1883; from the latter date to December 22, 1895, it was operated by the International and Great Northern Railroad Company under an operating agreement. During the period from December 23, 1895, to December 31, 1917, it was operated by its own organization. On January 1, 1918, its common-carrier property was taken over for operation by the United States Railroad Administration, which still operates it on date of valuation. As of date of valuation no separation has been made between the corporate accounts and those of the United States Railroad Administration.

The carrier was organized December 1, 1882, by Russell Sage and Jay Gould and associates under the original charter granted to the Galveston, Houston and Henderson Railroad Company (of 1853), for the purpose of acquiring the property of the Galveston, Houston and Henderson Railroad Company (of 1871). $100 Bond printed by John F. Trow.

Condition: Excellent. PRICE ON REQUEST, call George at 1-800-717-9529.

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Sunday, April 18, 2010

Galveston, Houston And Henderson Rail Road Company - Part Two

A third company was organized under the original charter which acquired and merged the Galveston and Houston Junction Railroad Company later that month. The railroad was again sold on August 1, 1882, to Jay Gould and Russell Sage. They organized a new company, also under the original charter, which was sold to the Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railway Company (Katy). The Katy was also under Gould's control. Since the Katy railhead was 165 miles from Houston at the time, the Galveston, Houston and Henderson was leased to a third Gould road, the International-Great Northern Railroad Company, in 1883. Gould lost control of the Katy in 1888. In 1893 the Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railway Company of Texas built into Houston, and the Katy demanded the return of its property. The International-Great Northern refused, claiming a valid lease of the Galveston, Houston and Henderson. Although the Katy was initially successful in state court and began operating into Galveston, a change of venue to federal court overturned the state court ruling.

The case remained in the courts for the next two years while the International-Great Northern had exclusive use of the property. Finally, on November 19, 1895, the two contesting railroads signed an agreement settling the dispute. The Katy sold a 50 percent interest in the Galveston, Houston and Henderson to the International-Great Northern, the lease was dissolved, and both railroads received trackage rights between Houston and Galveston. The Galveston, Houston and Henderson was the shortest of the three railroads that eventually connected Houston and Galveston and reported its mileage at an even fifty miles.

In 1877 the line began operating the first daily newspaper train in Texas for the transportation of the Galveston News into Houston. This service lasted until World War I In 1892 the company reported passenger earnings of $95,000 and freight earnings of $398,000. That year the railroad owned twelve locomotives and fourteen cars. The September 1900 hurricane destroyed the company's two-mile bridge across Galveston Bay, and it was not rebuilt. The railroad used the bridge owned by the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railway Company, the only bridge to survive the storm, until the Causeway was opened in 1912. Effective March 1, 1920, the two owning railroads began operating the Galveston, Houston and Henderson for alternating one year periods.

The Galveston, Houston and Henderson discontinued all train service and was reduced to the role of a terminal operation at Galveston. By end of 1960 ownership of the Galveston, Houston and Henderson was vested in the Missouri Pacific Railroad Company and the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad Company as successors to the original owners. On December 1, 1989, the Missouri-Kansas-Texas and the Galveston, Houston and Henderson were both merged into the Missouri Pacific. The "Old Reliable Short Line" operated under its original charter and name for over 136 years, longer than any other railroad in the state.

(green) Galveston, Houston and Henderson Rail Road Company - PRICE ON REQUEST
Inv# RB7021. Condition: Excellent, call George at 1-800-717-9529.

(image 2) Texas, June 1, 1855 $100 Uncancelled Land Bond. Inv# RB7020. Price On Request, Condition: Excellent call George at 1-800-717-9529.

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Friday, April 16, 2010

Galveston, Houston And Henderson Rail Road Company - Part One

The Galveston, Houston and Henderson Railroad Company was chartered on February 7, 1853, to build from Galveston through Houston to Henderson. The early incorporators included W. C. Lacy, T. P. Anderson, R. A. Harris, and William M. Tuck. The company was an important carrier as it was, for a number of years, Galveston's only rail connection with the Texas railroad system centering at Houston. Although supported in Galveston and Houston, much of the early financing was provided by investors in Holland and France as indicated by this certificate.

Construction of the "Old Reliable Short Line," as the road was later called, began at Virginia Point on the mainland opposite Galveston Island in 1854. However, the first rail was not laid until 1857 and in 1859 the company finally reached Houston, where it terminated at the corner of Main and McKinney. Only two curves, one on either side of Harrisburg, were required between Virginia Point and Houston. A trestle across Galveston Bay, built from the proceeds of a Galveston County bond issue, was finished in 1860, thus completing the rail line between the two cities.

The original company was sold out in 1860, and a new Galveston, Houston and Henderson was organized under the original charter. During the Civil War the railroad remained active, handling the traffic to and from the blockade runners reaching Galveston. The tracks and the Galveston Bay bridge were used by Gen. John B. Magruder in his recapture of Galveston on January 1, 1863. In 1867 the bondholders of the original company forced the railroad into receivership. Over the ensuing four years an acrimonious court battle was fought between the stockholders and bondholders before the Galveston, Houston and Henderson was ordered sold under foreclosure on December 15, 1871.

(The 3-part series will continue in the next two postings. Be sure to check back!)

(Image) Texas, 1853m £100 Uncancelled Bond printed by Endicott & Co., NY. It is interesting to note that any of these Galveston Bonds have become very rare in recent years due to great demand.Condition: ExcellentCondition: Excellent. Price On Request, call George at 1-800-717-9529.

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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

We Welcome Wholesalers

History is the backbone of the Stock and Bond hobby. Our extensive library enables us to support our clients with useful research.

Wholesale orders are normally a minimum of $200. Our prices are very reasonable and competitive. Wholesale prices range from $1 to several thousand dollars each. Of course, there are no minimum orders for clients who are working on marketing programs or promotions. In addition, no advance purchases are required with such projects. We are happy to “freeze” inventory for reasonable periods until actual sales are achieved.

Dealers and anyone involved in marketing collectibles, promotional gifts, premiums, or incentives should ask for our wholesale catalogs. We encourage phone calls related to buying from us at wholesale.

We believe in personalized customer service and quick turnaround times. Most orders are filled the same day we receive them.

The images included are a small sampling of some of the groups and collections available at wholesale.

Of course, we can quote you wholesale prices on nearly all items that we have in quantity. Just phone and ask for special prices. 800 717-9529 or send George an email:

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Monday, April 12, 2010

Collectible Francis Hopkinson Autograph

Francis Hopkinson was born at Philadelphia in 1737, the son of Thomas Hopkinson and Mary Johnson. He became a member of the first class at the College of Philadelphia (now University of Pennsylvania) in 1751 and graduated in 1757, receiving his masters degree in 1760, and a doctor in law (honorary) in 1790. He was secretary to a Provincial Council of Pennsylvania Indian commission in 1761 that made a treaty with the Delaware and several Iroquois tribes.

In 1763, he was appointed customs collector for Salem, New Jersey. Hopkinson spent from May 1766 to August 1767 in England in hopes of becoming commissioner of customs for North America. Although unsuccessful, he spent time with the future Prime Minister Lord North and his half-brother, the Bishop of Worcester Brownlow North, and painter Benjamin West.

After his return, Francis Hopkinson operated a dry goods business in Philadelphia and married Ann Borden on September 1, 1768. They would have five children. Hopkinson obtained a public appointment as a customs collector for New Castle, Delaware on May 1, 1772. He moved to Bordentown, New Jersey in 1774, became an assemblyman for the state's Royal Provincial Council, and was admitted to the New Jersey bar on May 8, 1775. He resigned his crown-appointed positions in 1776 and, on June 22, went on to represent New Jersey in the Second Continental Congress where he signed the Declaration of Independence.

He departed the Congress on November 30, 1776 to serve on the Navy Board at Philadelphia. As part of the fledgling nation's government, he was treasurer of the Continental Loan Office in 1778. On September 24, 1789, he was nominated by President George Washington to the newly created position of judge of the United States District Court for the District of Pennsylvania. He was confirmed by the United States Senate, and received his commission, on September 26, 1789.

Hopkinson died in Philadelphia at the age of 53 from a sudden epileptic seizure. He was buried in Christ Church Burial Ground in Philadelphia. He was the father of Joseph Hopkinson, member of the United States House of Representatives and federal judge.

Francis Hopkinson, signer of the Declaration of Independence, signs this bill of exchange as Treasurer of Loans. Francis Hopkinson (September 21, 1737 – May 9, 1791), an American author, was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence as a delegate from New Jersey. He later served as a federal judge in Pennsylvania. His supporters believe he played a key role in the design of the first American flag.

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Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Bloody 5th Texas Brigade

The 5th Texas Infantry was part of the famed "Texas Brigade" formed in Richmond in 1861 mainly from three Texas Regiments; the 1st, 4th, and 5th Texas Regiments. Later this famed unit was known as "Hood's Texas Brigade" commanded by General John B. Hood.

The 5th gained its nickname "the Bloody 5th" at 2nd Manasses where it destroyed two New York Regiments and continued to drive fresh Federal troops in retreat. This heroic action made the unit a favorite of General John B. Hood. As part of the Texas Brigade, the 5th Texas fought in both theaters of War; the campaign of the Army of Northern Virginia in the East and in the Army of the Tennessee in the West. It fought with distinction at Antietam, 2nd Manassas, Fredericksburg, Gettysburg, Chckamauga, and at the Wilderness. The unit surrendered at Appomattox. During the 2nd day at Gettysburg the 5th fought bravely during the fight at Devil's Den.

In the wilderness the 5th, as part of Hoods Texas Brigade, was instrumental in saving Lee's army by holding a position against overwhelming forces loosing 565 men killed or wounded out of 800 men engaged at the Orange Plank Road. For this the unit won Lee's everlasting thanks.
This flag remnant comes from a battle flag of the 5th Texas Infantry.

The copy of the carte de viste of the Texas battle flag shows the flag intact during the War. Both the flag remnant and the carte de viste belonged to Ensign W.C.Clarke the flag bearer of the 5th Texas Infantry. The term "Ensign" in the Confederate Army was a term assigned to a flag or color bearer in 1864. A copy of his "Ensign" appointment in the 5th Texas Infantry is included with the statement of provenance provided. The flag remnant, carte de viste, and appointment came from Clarke's effects.

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Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Bonds That Sparked the Chinese Revolution - Part Four

Prelude to Revolution: Until this point, opposition to foreign control of China’s railroads and mines had come from two sources with different aims and motives: a popular revolutionary movement, and the more organized “Rights Recovery Movement” promoted by gentry, merchants, landowners and officials. The revolutionaries wanted nothing less than the overthrow of the Manchu dynasty; to them the government’s surrender of rights to foreign governments and companies was just one of many objectionable policies. In contrast, the Rights Recovery Movement focused on foreign control of the mines and railroads, which it opposed primarily because it coveted that control for itself; it was essentially conservative and had no intention of overthrowing the Manchu government, on which it depended for the privileges it already enjoyed as well as those it hoped to gain.

After the abrogation of their Hukuang Railway contracts, though, the infuriated gentry fomented anti-government protests in Szechuan. As summarized by Woodhouse (2004),
  • [The gentry-merchants power group] demanded the cancellation of the Hukuang Loan contract. The provincial government supported this demand, for the provincial assembly was often made up of the local ruling class. The central government tried to pacify these groups without success. It proposed to exchange its railway shares for interest-earning government bonds, for the people in Hupeh and Hunan provinces. For the Szechuanese, however, it offered to redeem the sums spent solely for railway purposes rather than the sums actually subscribed. It was believed that such a policy was taken because Sheng Hsuan-huai[ ] had invested significantly in bonds in Hupeh and Hunan provinces but none in Szechuan province. The outraged Szechuanese groups protested that the government intended to sell Szechuan to the foreigners... The local ruling class mobilized students, workers and peasants into their “patriotic” protest. On 5 August 1911 the Szechuanese banded together and convened the Defend Railways League, declaring their defiance of the Hukuang Railway Loan contract... By mid-September, the protest took the form of rioting and street fighting, and the revolt quickly spread throughout the province.
Even so, the Szechuan uprising is not considered by historians to have been anti-dynastic in motive. The revolution is traditionally considered to have begun, not with the uprising in Szechuan, but with a coup at the Imperial Army garrison at Wuchang on October 10, 1911.

The Revolution Begins by Accident: Wuchang, directly across the Yangtze from Hankow, was the nearest garrison to Szechuan, and two regiments had been sent from there to suppress the uprising. In their absence, the revolution began by accident. The Hankow/Wuchang region was a hotbed of revolutionary activity, and with the garrison depleted, plans for an uprising were accelerated. A significant percentage of China’s New Army harbored revolutionary sentiments, especially at Wuchang, where potential rebels numbered an estimated one-fourth to one-third of the troops, and many had joined revolutionary secret societies. On October 9, 1911, a rebel bomb maker secreted within the Russian quarter at Hankow accidentally exploded one of his products. The ensuing police investigation uncovered a cache of incriminating evidence, and within hours three revolutionary leaders were arrested and executed. Among the materials found was a membership list of the Literary Society, whose innocent name belied subversive goals, which included soldiers at Wuchang. Alerted to their impending arrest and probable execution, they staged a successful coup the following day, taking the garrison and the city. The revolt spread rapidly; by October 16 the Prince Regent had proclaimed the abdication of the boy emperor from the throne, and within six weeks, fifteen provinces had seceded.

Tilting at Windmills
: The government of the new Chinese Republic pledged in 1912 to honor the debts of its imperial predecessor, and a succession of subsequent governments made similar guarantees, with foreign loans always a high priority. In 1921 the Chinese government declared bankruptcy, and began defaulting on its loans, but interest on the Hukuang Railway bonds was paid until 1938, when Japanese invasion intervened. The government of the People’s Republic of China repudiated all such debts in 1949, but numerous lawsuits have been brought against it and the government of the Republic of China seeking redemption of various bonds. A quixotic 2005 judgment in a New York court, factoring in the stratospheric increase in the price of gold, placed the then-current value of a 1913 £100 gold bond at $27.75 million!

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From: "The Bonds That Sparked the Chinese Revolution" by Michael Mahler.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Bonds That Sparked the Chinese Revolution - Part Three

Loans to the Imperial Chinese Government would not have been attractive to investors without strong guarantees. As security for its many foreign loans, the Manchu government pledged the proceeds of a vast array of revenues and taxes, so that by the time of its collapse nearly its entire revenue stream had been diverted to foreign banks. The most lucrative and dependable source of security was China’s considerable maritime customs revenue. This began to be attached beginning in 1866, and remained the preferred security for decades; it was the sole source of the massive war indemnities of 1895–1901, by which time virtually all maritime customs revenue was pledged to service foreign debt. New sources of security now had to be found, and subsequent foreign loans tapped the proceeds of various domestic taxes, most often salt and rice taxes and the “lekin,” a tax on internal transit of goods. With each loan the government incrementally lost control of its own finances.

Construction of the Hukuang railway was expected to break this mold. Hukuang (“lake plain”) is a region in south-central China including the provinces of Hunan, Hupei, and portions of Szechuan. The Hukuang Railway was to have two branches: one from Hankow south to the port of Canton, the other from Hankow west to Chengtu in Szechwan. Construction rights for the Canton-Hankow branch had been awarded to J. P. Morgan’s American China Development Company, but beginning in 1903 events took a radically different turn. The “Railway Regulations” of the Qing Government enacted that year granted domestic companies the right to operate railroads, and in 1904 the Ministry of Commerce promulgated reforms designed to facilitate development of domestic corporations. In 1905, with the active encouragement of the provincial governor of Hunan and Hupei, a consortium of Hukuang gentry, officials and businessmen first lobbied successfully for compensated cancellation of the construction rights of the American China Development Co., then obtained contracts to build the road. The Kwangtung Company of the Canton-Hankow Railway had an auspicious beginning; its entire capitalization of 44 million taels (some $60 million) was subscribed by Chinese investors rich and poor, making it the most successfully capitalized of all Chinese companies, by a very large margin. Most of the funds came from wealthy Chinese living abroad, but there was enthusiastic support from the populace as well. Shares were initially priced at only a single tael, and the North China Herald reported that
  • Not only are the monied classes rushing to buy shares, but the poorest of the poor and even those who are supposed of no cash to spare and hardly enough to keep body and soul together are buying up one or more shares (Lee, 1977).
The contract for the Hankow-Chengtu branch was entrusted to the Hupeh Company of the Szechuan-Hankow Railway.

The Kwangtung Company, though, was plagued by mismanagement and massive embezzlement. Its sister company, the Hupeh Company, raised only about 3% of its projected capitalization of 20 million taels. Years passed with no tracks laid or rolling stock purchased, and on May 9, 1911, the Qing government, bowing to diplomatic and political pressure, summarily nationalized all domestic railway development, and on May 20 re-awarded the contract to the aforementioned consortium of banks in London, Berlin, Paris and New York, which sponsored a £6 million bond issue to finance construction. The Imperial Government pledged as security the revenues of the railroad and the proceeds from six different taxes on salt, rice, and lekin, all of which are enumerated on the bonds themselves.

Item# 5055b: China 1913, Brown £20 5%, German Bank Issue or French Indochina Issue. 42-43 Coupons. Price upon request.

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From: "The Bonds That Sparked the Chinese Revolution" by Michael Mahler.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Bonds That Sparked the Chinese Revolution - Part Two

There is strong evidence that the controversial financing of the Hukuang Railway was the tipping point that sparked China’s revolution of 1911, which overthrew three millennia of dynastic rule and led to formation of the Chinese Republic the following year. No less qualified an observer than Sir John Newell Jordan, British Minister to Peking from 1906 until 1920, wrote with the benefit of hindsight at the end of his tenure that “the Hukuang Railway Agreement ... was the proximate cause of the downfall of the Dynasty.” (Woodhouse, 2004). The reader can be excused for finding it improbable that the terms of a railroad loan could trigger a revolution. The explanation is a tale worth telling.

By 1911, nationalists had long protested the extent of foreign control of China’s railroads. As summarized by Goetzmann and Ukhov (2005),
  • By most accounts the competition among the great powers to secure railway concessions during this period through a combination of political diplomacy and the financial might of their capital markets was, in some ways, the high point of the age of Imperialism. At least it was characterized as such by contemporary commentators such as Lenin, who used the division of China into spheres of influence by foreign capitalists as the example of Capitalist Imperialism par excellence.
  • ... Virtually of China’s railways constructed after 1895 were financed by foreign debt issues underwritten by European-led investment banking syndicates which obtained right of way, property concessions and promises of repayment from the Chinese Imperial government. Under the control of the bankers who financed the loans, Chinese railways were constructed, owned and operated by managers designated by the financial consortium. Certainly the most contentious feature of these loans was their provision for extra-territorial rights [by which foreigners enjoyed jurisdiction over portions of Chinese territory].
  • The Chinese Eastern Railway was a prime example of extra-territoriality. The Russo-Chinese bank issued a 5 million tael loan[ ] in Russia in 1896 to finance the construction of a railway across Manchuria linking the Trans-Siberian Railway to Vladivostok. The railway and its right of way were entirely administered and policed by Russian officials, who controlled the receipts and disbursements. The line was, in effect, a little bit of Russian territory within China’s borders, and issued its own currency. [Author’s note: To this it may be added that a contingent of Russian troops travelled on each train, housed at defense posts erected along the line; that the Chinese Eastern Railway had over 20,000 Russian employees; and that until the 1920s over 120,000 Russians lived in Manchuria, accounting for a quarter of its population, most dependent upon the C.E.R. for their livelihood.]
The Hukuang Railways £6 million loan was the last in a long succession of foreign loans to the Imperial Chinese Government for railroad construction. No fewer than 27 such loans appear in the extensive list of Chinese external debt issues after 1861 compiled by Goetzmann and Ukhov (2005); the Hukuang loan was the largest, but three others were for amounts between $19.6 million and $22.5 million, and six more ranged from $6.5 million to $14.8 million. Just as numerous if somewhat less costly were 22 loans for war or defense, notably including a $6.5 million bond issue in 1885 to finance China’s defense against France during the 1880s. By far the largest obligations, though, were bonds to cover war indemnities imposed after China’s defeats in the 1894-5 Sino-Japanese War and the 1898-1901 Boxer Rebellion, amounting to some $100 million and $300 million, respectively.

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From: "The Bonds That Sparked the Chinese Revolution" by Michael Mahler.

Friday, April 2, 2010

The Bonds That Sparked the Chinese Revolution - Part One

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.

Hukuang Railways bonds are among the most attractive pieces ever to bear stamps. Similar bonds issued in London, Berlin and Paris by the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation, Deutsch-Asiatische Bank, and Banque de L’Indo-Chine, respectively, show the signatures of their representatives and of the Chinese Ministers to Great Britain, Germany and France. Only the relatively few stamped bonds are philatelically interesting, but all are historically important.

In the days following I will be sharing excerpts from Michael Mahler's article "The Bonds That Sparked the Chinese Revolution."

Image 1: Item#: FB 5128.China, 1912 £20 5% Bond printed by J. Verschueren, Anvers. Large format. Condition: Excellent

Image 2: Item # 5055. China, 1913, Blue-Red. £100 5% Reorganization Gold Loan Bond, German Bank Issued. Uncancelled. 42-43 Coupons. Many coupons. Important to stress that these bonds have been bought up in recent years and pretty much taken off the market. As a result prices have risen rather dramatically. Excellent Condition! Price upon request.

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From: "The Bonds That Sparked the Chinese Revolution" by Michael Mahler.