CAIRE. Promissory Note of 57.802,20 Piastres. black. No 102. Central fold with repaired edge-split. Very large format with text in Arabic and French. In 1858 Ferdinand de Lesseps founded the Compagnie universelledu canal maritime de Suez. It had 400.000 shares of 500 francs, so a total capital of 200 million francs. Although subscriptions were invited from all the major countries in the world, the shares were originally issued as follows: French investors 52% ; the Viceroy of Egypt 44% (later sold to the British Government, originally hostile to the project, at the bargain price of £4.000.000 - money Britain borrowed from the Rothschilds) ; sundry investors 4%. The Canal was dug between 1859 and 1869. This piece is a promissory note, issued by the Egyptian Ministry of Finances, Cairo, on 29 October1866. On it, the Minister of Finances of His Majesty the Viceroy of Egypt, Mohamed Hafuz Pacha, promises to pay, on 1 September 1867, to the Compagnie universelle du canal de Suez at Alexandria, the sum of 57.862,20 piastres tarif (or 15.000 francs). This is confirmed by the Egyptian Minister of Foreign Affaires, Raghib Pacha, who has also signed the piece. Finally, the note is countersigned by the French Consulate-General at Alexandria, to confirm the validity of the Minister's signature. During the American Civil War (1861-1865), the demand for Egyptian cotton was very strong, and the price rose sharply. The Viceroy, Ismail Pasha, took advantage of this to raise a large number of loans, largely on the security of the cotton crop. Many of the loans were for high rates of interest and ruinous discounts; in addition, much of the money that reached Egypt was misappropriated. By 1870 the country was virtually bankrupt, and that forced Ismail to sell the Canal shares to Britain. In addition, in 1864, legal disputes with France and the Ottoman Empire over the terms of the concession ended, after a judgment by Napoleon III at Fontainebleau, with the Egyptian Government being obliged to pay 84 million francs compensation to the company (including the abolition of the fresh-water canal plan, and the use of forced labour); this was to be done by a series of promissory notes, payable over the following 15 years. We believe that what we offer here is one of these promissory notes.Notes on the back confirm that the Suez Canal Co. has indeed received the payment from the Egyptian State. The date of this certificate is some ten years earlier than any other piece of Suez Canal scripophily ever seen. It is the only type of scripophily from the construction period of the canal, before its completion and opening in 1869.
Themes: CANALS, CITY & STATE BONDS
Startprice: € 500