Sunday, June 19, 2011

Who was Sidney Dillon?

Who was Sidney Dillon?

As a fairly new collector interested in vintage stocks and bonds, I have had the opportunity to meet with seasoned dealers and collectors in an attempt to learn as much as possible with the goal of improving my modest collection. I have written articles here on over the last several weeks detailing some of my collecting experiences from the POV of the collector. While practicing what I wrote in my prior column, I dedicated several days driving from antique store to antique store, with gas approaching 4 dollars a gallon all over eastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey, in search of that illusive treasure. In one of the larger antique malls I found, tucked on a bottom shelf of one of the hundreds of booths, a frame containing an original stock certificate of the Union Pacific Railway, serial number B6935 signed by the then president, Sidney Dillon (1812-1892).

Among Dillon's accomplishments is his participation in driving the Golden Spike at Promontory Summit joining the Western Trans-continental Railway with the Eastern Trans-continental Railways. He was President of the Union Pacific Railroad 1874-1884 and 1890-1892. I did not know at that instance the true value of my find. I decided not to purchase the framed certificate and instead drove over to the local Starbucks, (free WiFi for the cost of a small cup of coffee) and take a look at to see if Terry's site had any thoughts about the value of the this railway certificate. What I discovered was potentially incredible. I quickly made my way back to the booth and bought the Union Pacific certificate.

What I find amazing about this certificate besides the large vignette of Lady Liberty and the center image of a locomotive is the rendering of the sad eagle to the left of the shield. Printed by the American Bank Note Company. New York and knowing how hard the engraver worked his magic on this vignette, it seems highly unlikely that the visual results were unintentional.

I wonder if one great find is all I am destined for? No, I refuse to believe that it was all luck but instead perhaps a combination of a little luck and a great deal of sweat searching in places that continue to percolate new material from the hidden depths of hidden estates returning it back to the viewing public.

1 comment:

  1. I have just visited the Nebraska Archives and the University of Utah Special Collections investigating the financing of the Union Pacific Railroad during the building of the Transcontinental railroad building and after. I recorded records on a digital camera and have a great data base. If interested please contact me.

    Best John Chamberlin tenaceus1@gmail.coom