American Bank Note Co. stock certificate tops AIA auction

Certificate, good for 14 shares, realizes $14,400 in Archives International July 26 auction
By , Special to Coin World
Published : 08/15/16
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At $14,400 (including 20 percent buyer’s fee) a rare American Bank Note Co. stock certificate issued in New York and dated May 15, 1868, was the top seller in the Archives International July 26 auction in Fort Lee, N.J. 

The certificate, good for 14 shares, was described as issued and punch canceled. It is black on red with a black border. At its center is Liberty with an eagle and flag superimposed over a U.S. shield. Busts of Benjamin Franklin and George Washington are in upper left and right corners. It was issued to George Sturgis and signed by John Gavit as president of the company. 

The other lot breaking the $10,000 barrier, albeit by $200 before the addition of the buyer’s fee, was a rare 1914 Russo-Asiatic Bank $5 note issued by its branch in Shanghai. The note has Cyrillic and Chinese characters on one side and English and Chinese ones on the other. Common to each side are a pair of dragons. It bears a grade assigned by Paper Money Guaranty of Very Fine 30, and is one of only two in the grading service’s census.

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The next Archives International sale will be on Sept. 26 in Fort Lee.

What is American Bank Note Co.?

“Collecting Paper” columnist Wendell Wolka discussed the history of American Bank Note Co. in a recent column:

Most paper money collectors are familiar with the formation of the American Bank Note Co. in 1858. 

Seven of the nation’s most prominent security printers decided to merge and form the nation’s largest firm dedicated to this business. It would be interesting to speculate whether this merger would have survived today’s antitrust laws. 

The few remaining stragglers did a merger of their own two years later and formed the National Bank Note Co.

The stock in the new American Bank Note Co. was apportioned to the seven founding firms based upon a number of factors such as the amount of business that each controlled, business contacts, and so forth. Rawdon, Wright, Hatch & Edson held the largest percentage of shares (23.9 percent) while the smallest number of shares (2 percent of the shares issued) went to Gavit & Co. of Albany, N.Y.

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