Share Certificate found for Dutch East India Company

A Dutch graduate student doing research at the West Frisian archives in Hoorn, just north of Amsterdam, found a certificate for a founder share of ownership in the Dutch East India Company. It is thought to worth over $700,000.00. It is dated 1606. It just goes to show you never know what you might find in old basements, attics and as well as archives.

Bloomberg reports on the discovery

doing research for his master’s thesis at the University of Utrecht, in February found the receipt for a founder share in the Dutch East India Company, dated Sept. 9, 1606. Auctioneers say the share, the fourth of its kind to emerge, may be worth as much as 600,000 euros ($764,000).

“This is the Rembrandt of shares,” said Reinhild Tschoepe of the namesake auction house in Germany by telephone. A share in the Dutch East India Company is “an absolute masterpiece in scripophily,” the collecting of old securities certificates, according to Mario Boone, director of auction house Booneshares in Belgium. Boone estimates the paper found in Hoorn to be worth as much as 600,000 euros.

German Investors

Schalk’s discovery is almost three weeks older than a similar security owned by a group of private German investors. Issued by the Amsterdam chamber of the East India Company on Sept. 27, 1606, it once belonged to the regional archives of the Dutch capital, deputy archivist Ellen Fleurbaay said in a telephone interview.

“It disappeared from the city’s archives in the nineties,” Fleurbaay said. “We want it back.”

The private German investors once said that they were prepared to talk about a sale starting at 5 million euros, said Tschoepe, who brokered the initial purchase of the share for the investors. “For us, that’s an amount we won’t even talk about,” said Fleurbaay.

The two other shares in the East India Company from the year 1606 are in the library of the University of Leiden and owned by NYSE Euronext in Amsterdam, respectively. All of them derived from the first share sale that ever took place, said Cees Vermaas, chairman of NYSE Euronext Amsterdam, in an e- mail today.
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