Thursday, January 19, 2012

Another challenge - Highest percentage of ownership

Another trip, another interesting find. Listed below is the Citizens Passenger Railway Company serial number 33 issued in 1919 to the Fidelity Title & Trust Company Trustee. When I find railroad stocks and bonds, my first place to check is coxrail.com. After a quick review, I determined that it is CIT-225 based on the green stamp in the lower left corner, listed but not yet reported on coxrail.com. I sent Terry Cox an image (300 dpi) and he noticed something else interesting. This certificate was issued for all but five shares issued for 3,995 of an outstanding 4,000 shares. That represents 99.875% of ownership of the railroad.

This is a rare certificate with a maximum number of certificates issued to this one and five more if the others were for one share each. I am reminded of a great quote from Terry Cox's April 2008 Newsletter "As best I can tell, rarity can do little but imply how long buyers may need to wait to find another example of the same certificate. If the period between buying opportunities is important, then rarity is a good thing to know." I think a major flaw inherent determining rarity is that they are based on items for sale and not certificates that are part of a collector's inventory. Therefore, I do not expect a perfect rarity scale anytime soon. As you can see from the image below, this certificate has a fairly common appearance. So now for my challenge to other collectors.

Does anyone posses a certificate with a greater portion of outstanding shares at the time the certificate was issued?

Citizens Passenger Railway Company - 1919 for 99.875% of ownership
   

I need to add some clarity about my trips in search of that next great treasure. This certificate was the results of one of two trips to South Jersey as far south as the town of Salem. My discovery occurred only after trolling through over a dozen antique stores and flea markets. At one of the antique shops, I did spend a few minutes speaking with Mike from the Royal Port Antiques. Although he only had some old receipts, Mike mentioned that more items are expected soon so I left him my card. Royal Port Antiques is fairly new with very interesting items displayed on multiple levels situated in an old barn. I mention this shop because it is in a remote area of the state that could yield some very worthy certificates. I look forward to hearing from him.

Most of the other antique shops I visited were in multi-vendor buildings offering the typical wide variety of merchandise varying from early American furniture to a massive array of smalls to yesterday's junk. As for my search, I guess they would not be called treasures if they appeared in every place I checked. As I have mentioned in my prior postings encouraging starting conversations with proprietors about vintage stocks and bonds, most have not seen any for many months. On my recent trips, besides the Citizen Passenger Railway Company, the one exception compared to what I usually find with recently dated overpriced certificates far from interesting, was a small camping association from the 1910s. Sadly the price kept me from adding it to my collection.

Stay tuned for my next blog entry on a recent research project based on the history of corporations in the United States.

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