Stock in Buffalo Bill gets $20K at Smythe

NEW YORK CITY – The Feb. 6-7 Winter Stock & Bond Auction at R. M. Smythe & Company saw heated bidding, typified by the sale of a featured stock certificate from Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Company, which had a final hammer price of $20,000. The beautifully illustrated certificate featured a portrait of Buffalo Bill at top center.

Other noteworthy sales that warmed the winter auction included an “Accessory Transit of Nicaragua” stock certificate, issued out of New York City, 1856, for a stake in an auxiliary ocean going steamship, signed twice by Cornelius Vanderbilt as president,Smythe AT 3-12.jpg and on the reverse, and not cancelled.

Buffalo Bill Stock Certificate, which reached $20,000 at Smythe’s early February auction.

Cornelius Vanderbilt (1794-1877) was an American financier and founder of his family’s fortune. At age 16 he bought a boat and ferried passengers and goods between Staten Island and Manhattan. He later made a fortune in the steamship business, earning himself the nickname “Commodore.” In 1862 he turned to financing railroads, and amassed a fortune estimated at $100,000,000, making him one of the richest men of his time. Accessory Transit was organized by Vanderbilt to move passengers and freight to the West Coast through Nicaragua.

This was the first Accessory Transit Certificate signed by Cornelius Vanderbilt that Smythe has sold in more than a decade, a museum quality certificate that may not be obtainable again in a lifetime of collecting.
Lot #1092 was a stock certificate for the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, which brought $1,400 against a presale estimate of $500-$1,000. On the certificate people stroll along the Canal, with the Potomac River at left. Signed as corporate president by George C. Washington (1789-1854), grandnephew of George Washington, congressman and Indian treaty negotiator.

This enterprise was chartered in 1828, in succession to the old Potowmack Company. Half of the six million in capital came from the states of Maryland and Virginia as well as the cities of Washington, Georgetown and Alexandria. Although John Quincy Adams turned the first spade, the undertaking was not a success. The company ran at a profit from 1860-1880, with the exception of 1877 when a great flood on the Potomac wrecked the works. The company got back on its feet, but the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad steadily drained away its business. It lingered until 1924, when another great flood destroyed the works and made reconstruction financially impossible. The Federal government bought the land as a park in the 1930s.

R. M. Smythe and Co., established in 1880, buys, sells, and auctions coins, paper money, stocks and bonds, and autographs at its corporate headquarters in New York City.

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