Result list 6 April 2019

The results of our April 6 sale will be online on April 7 here. .

Lotnumber: 256
BRUXELLES. Action Nominative de 1000 Florins. black. No 6. Issued to the Dutch King, Willem I (1772-1843). He was the first Dutch King after Napoleon's defeat in 1815 and remained king of the Netherlands until 1840, despite losing the southern part of the country - Belgium - in 1830. History sees him as the first 'King-entrepreneur' - he invested heavily in the heavy industry, founded the Nederlandsche Handel-Maatschappij and was amongst others an important shareholder in the Generale Maatschappij. As a result, he increased his fortune from 10 to 200 million guilders over his 25 years reign. One of the companies he bought shares of, is this most important insurance company. Its history starts in 1824 when Francois Rittweger, vice-president of the Chamber of Commerce of Brussels and Jacques Coghen, banker and later Finance Minister during the early days of Belgium, founded the life insurance company "AG Leven" (AG Life). It knew a difficult start-up period, whereas fire insurance companies experienced a rising turnover. This could be easily explained by the fact that life insurances were morally less acceptable as being considered "lotteries on life". Therefore, despite the already high competition, AG decided to set up a fire insurance company in 1830, 'Co. d'Assurances Générales contre les risques d'incendie', of which we offer here a founder share (with number 13). Its activities were soon hampered by the Belgian revolution, but by March 1831 it was successfully reorganized. Initial capital of 2 000 000 guilders was further paid in,it got the same board of directors as AG Life and could make use of the same network of agents as "AG Leven". During 1830-1858, it turned out to be more successful than the life insurance subsidiary. Annual dividends yielded to 15%, compared to a lower9% for the registered and 5.4% for the bearer shares. Thanks to profitable investments during this period, the company could keep its tariffs below those of competitors and remained market leader until 1880. The company was also more innovative: it showed a greater willingness to insure industrial risks. At that time, especially insuring factories was considered to be an unknown and very pricy risk. By acting on this market, AG actually encouraged the Industrial Revolution. However, the company also had to cope with less successful periods, being sensitive to the weather, business cycles and bad foreign performances. During times of economic downturn it suffered more from fraud and carelessness of company managers. Moreover, abroad, its reinsurance activities were hurt by some great disasters. In France, its Paris branch was heavily affected by the Prussian occupation and the following Civil War. In 1872, this resulted into a cumulative loss of 443 440 francs, on an annual premium income of around 700 000 francs! In the Netherlands, it was financially hurt by the fire in Enschede, which impacted 800 houses. Meanwhile, in Belgium, the company had lost its leader's position to Propriétaires Réunis (PR). In an attempt to stabilize tariffs, AG decided in 1862 to establish an association of insurance companies: Committee of Belgian Insurance companies (CBV). Next to price stabilisation, it also played a role in stimulating fire prevention, e.g. by agreements on lower tariffs for the use of fire extinguishers or the first sprinkler system. With a varying success, price stability was reached, but in 1962 the CBV was put to an end. By 1970, AG succeeded in regaining its leader position. First of all, it did not participate into the then ongoing price war, but preferred to offer quality by presenting itself as an all-round insurer. Next to that, it also entered into the International Network of Insurers (INI). INI offered multinationals uniform policies valid in various countries. It survived the crisis better than other insurers, and could even take over the former nr. 1, PR. During the 1980s, it also developed banking activities by taking over Metropolitan bank, which also helped to gain a market share on the growing private pension market. The 1990s were influenced by the growing concentration on the European insurance market: in 1990, AG therefore combined its activities and assets with those of the Dutch insurer AMEV into a new common structure, Fortis. Afterwards, in order to further spread overhead costs and to enlarge its distribution channels, it took over other banks like ASLK (1993) and NMKN (1995). After a ferocious bid war with ABN Amro, it took over Generale Bank in 1998, which resulted in the Fortis group, later taken over by BNP Paribas. In conclusion, this is the oldest FORTIS share with a history that goes back to the period that Belgium was still a part of the Netherlands. Moreover, it is a founder share issued to King Willem I two months before the Belgian Revolution started (25 August 1830). On the back, we see that after the death of King Willem I, the share is transferred (1844) to his son, King Willem II (we would remain King until 1849). A second transfer is dated 1880 and gives the ownership to R.A.R., Grand Duchess of Saxon (so decades after Belgium's independence, the share was remaining in Dutch Royal hands). She in turn sells the share to Albert de Smet in 1902. The final owner is Raymond Lippens of Gent. Raymond Lippens (1875-1964) was the grandfather of Maurice Lippens, the man who, as chairman of the Fortis board between 1990 and 2008 is largely held accountable for the collapse of the bank during the financial crisis. A most important piece of European history.
Themes: INSURANCE
BELGIUM, NETHERLANDS
Province: BRABANT
King Willem I (issued to)
Date: 1 July 1830
Quality: VF
Startprice: € 6000