General receipts involving stocks and bonds
Ordinary business receipts
The vast majority of receipts created by railroad companies had ordinary purposes quite distinct from the world of securities. Railroads, especially the major companies, employed squadrons of "bean counters" and those types of employees always insisted on having receipts for every imaginable transaction that involved a railroad company. Dedicated receipts can be found ranging from ticket sales to payments for livestock killed trains.
Ordinary receipts that involved purchases of goods and services are NOT cataloged in this project. Those kinds of receipts bear no relationship to stocks and bonds.
Receipts involving stocks and bonds
Some receipts, of course, involved stocks and bonds. Every company approached the purposes and designs of its receipts differently, so there is no semblance of uniformity. Even grouping receipts into sub-groups is rather pointless because nomenclature was so highly flexible and so few receipts survive, This project records all receipts that had relationships to the purchase, sale, ownership and movement of securities around the investment world. Collectors will encounter some types of receipts fairly frequently. Others have appeared only once or twice. Some receipts have proven outright mysterious although most are understandable.
Receipts directly involved the purchase, sale or ownership of stocks and bonds are likely cataloged. Here are examples of a few of the various kinds of receipts collectors will find in this project.
This type of certificate suggests the Pennsylvania Railroad Company had set aside groups of groups of shares for purchase by existing shareholders. The circumstances for the allotments are not described, but might be discoverable in announcements in financial newspapers of the time.
Bond conversion receipts
Documents like this are not common. This one represents the conversion of Pennsylvania Railroad Company bonds into company stock at the rate of $75 per share. Similar receipts showed conversion at $40. (Image courtesy of Robert Warchocki.)
Bond payment receipts
Only a few of these kinds of documents are known. In the example below, the Chicago Rock Island & Pacific Railroad Company had agreed to sell L. T. Hoyt one million dollars' worth of sinking fund bonds over the course of several payments. These are interesting documents because they reveal some of the workings between companies and brokers.
L. T. Hoyt was a New York broker, so was probably not buying $1,000,000 worth of bonds for himself. Chances are, Hoyt had orders for a large portion, or possibly all of the million dollars. Or maybe Hoyt was a broker for the company itself and bonds were going to be sold to the public through his firm. Since the receipt had a line to record smaller purchases, bonds probably were going to be purchased a few at a time. (Image courtesy of Damon Pritchett.)
Convertible railroad tax receipt
Several states imposed special railroad taxes that support railroad construction within specific counties. The general rationale was that access to better transportation would benefit all of the people who paid the railroad tax. Methods of collections and assessments varied widely. Tax receipts are scarce, but not outstandingly rare. Most receipts merely attest to the payments of the tax and do not represent direct connection to any rail venture. Those kind of tax receipts are NOT cataloged. There are, however, a few rare receipts that show direct ties to specific railroad companies and those are cataloged. This receipt from Leon County, Florida indicates that it was convertible into stock of the Pensacola & George Rail-Road Company. (Image courtesy of Thomas O'Shaughnessy.)
Exchange of stock certificate
This particular certificate was created during the consolidation of several railroads into The West Jersey Railroad Company; It represented the exchange of stock in one of the consolidated companies for stock in the new company. Similar certificates are known from a few other companies. This particular one shows a red overprint that explicitly says that no dividends will accrue until conversion. (Image courtesy of Luca Aspesi)
Documents similar to this attest to the ownership of stocks or bonds and enjoy the same benefits until formal engraved certificates were completed. In effect, they seem to have filled the same niche as temporary stocks and bonds. Why they were named differently may have been a matter of personal taste. The document shown represented ownership of a bond issued by the Lake Superior Southern Railway Company. (Image courtesy of Franky Leeuwerck)
There are very few certificates labeled like this and they seem to have played the same role as exchange receipts mentioned above. The certificate at right attests that stock holders surrendered certificates of the Lowell & Framingham Railroad Company directly to trustees serving the Old Colony Railroad Company. (Image courtesy of Luca Aspesi)
Stock payment receipt
The receipt shown confirmed the delivery of shares of the Air & Steam Train Line Coupler Company. In effect it was a bill of sale of an asset (a stock certificate) at the rate of $10 per share. Documents like this are quite rare. (Image courtesy of Kenneth Holter.)