Category Archives: Coins and Paper Money

Exceptional items of American history on the block

History lovers, rejoice! Archives International in Fort Lee, N.J., will be hosting the third annual Wall Street Coin, Currency and Collectibles Show being held at the Museum of American Finance, located at 48 Wall Street in New York City. And for those who can't make it out to the East Coast, the two-session auction, which will be held Oct. 19 and 22, will take place concurrently on iCollector.com.

To try to summarize the more than 1,400 lots in this collectibles auction is an exercise in futility. There are so many rare pieces of worldwide scripophily (stock and bond certificates), banknotes, autographs, security printing ephemera and historical artifacts that the auction is practically a museum onto itself. However, there are several items of particular note.

Scripophily
Yes, there's that word again. But it's a wonderful one, isn't it? And what better way to indulge your appreciation for American history than to view it through the lens of the capitalist prism that has defined the country throughout its more than 225 years.

The Standard Oil Co. was one of the most important institutions in America's development as a world power. It was established in Ohio in 1870 by John D. Rockefeller, his brother William and several other partners, and quickly became one of the largest oil companies in the world. It was also one of the first multinational corporations, becoming so iconic that for decades after it was ruled a monopoly in 1911 and partially dissolved, people still used its founder's last name as a synonym for great wealth.

Now you can own a piece of that history with an 1876-issued stock certificate from Standard Oil bearing the signature of Rockefeller and Henry Flagler (lot #159), one of the other men credited with turning the company into the international behemoth it became.

There are also two more stock certificates from Standard that feature Rockefeller's signature – one from 1881 (lot #161) and one from 1882 (lot #162).

Famous authors
If literary history is more to your liking, you will also have several items from which to choose. Autographed artifacts from two men who need no introduction – Mark Twain and Charles Dickens – will be among the highlights of the Wall Street auction.

Twain's signature comes on a letter he wrote to a Miss Faith Baldwin of Brooklyn, N.Y., in 1906, which comes with a picture of the author and is matted and framed (lot #128). And Dickens' inscription appears on a piece of 1860 correspondence with one W. Adams on Tabistock House letterhead, and is accompanied by a color engraving of the the great writer as a 56-year-old (lot #126).

Historical resonance
Those are just a few of the items that represent the closest one can come to stepping into a time machine. The many other fascinating antiques and collectibles in the October auction, including items important to the American presidency, the early days of Wall Street and the first years of the United States, will have history buffs drooling and tripping over themselves as they rush to add these pieces to their collections. So be sure to get there first on iCollector.com.