ANTWERPEN. Aandeel van 1000 Gulden. black. #6000. No 24. Tiny edge-splits at the top and a few pin-holes. The company was formed in 1723 by wealthy Flemish businessmen on the initiative of the Austrian Kaiser Karl VI, who wanted to establish an independent colonial policy. It was formed for 30 years, and wasgiven the right to trade with the East and West Indies. The initial capital was 6.000.000 florins, divided into 6.000 shares of 1.000 florins, and these were oversubscribed by 11 a.m. on the morning they went on sale! The company's trading was extremely successful, paying dividends of more than 11.000.000 florins to its shareholders in the first year of its existence. Its success was its misfortune, since the great trading powers - England, Holland and France - felt their position to be menaced; they threatened war. Under the terms of the Treaty of Vienna, in 1731, the company was liquidated. This was part of the deal under which the three powers accepted that the Habsburg throne of Austria was available to Maria Theresa. The company had been sacrificed to the needs of politics. The certificate is attractive, with a copper-engraving of the arms of the company, including the Habsburg double-eagle. The initial payment on a share was 250 florins only; the certificate acknowledges receipt of this payment, and of the three later payments of the same amount (1723-1725). The signatures are those of leading Antwerp financiers of the time (e.g. J-B Cogels). One of the very first companies founded in what is today Belgium. This share,No. 24 and as such the lowest number we have ever seen, is issued to Pietro Proli (1671-1733). Of Italian origin, he came to Antwerp at an early age and was the leading director of the Ostend Co. He was also an important banker and director in several other companies in early 18th century Antwerp. He was nobled by Emperor Charles VI and his descendants continued the banking business until bankruptcy followed in 1785.
Themes: BEFORE 1800, IMPORT & EXPORT
BELGIUM, HUNGARY, INDIA, NETHERLANDS
Province: ANTWERPEN, WEST-VLAANDEREN
COGELS, Jean Baptiste, PROLI, Count Pietro (issued to)
Date: 4 October 1723
Startprice: € 1400