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Lot 593: FONDERIES ROYALES D'INDRET ET DE MONTCENIS & MANUFACTURE DES CRISTAUX DE LAREINE
29 October 2016
Brussels, BelgiumLive Auction
Description: 1786 Action. black. No 1050. Long format share with 9 coupons, very similar looking to the early Compagnie des Indes shares. Yet, while perhaps less known to collectors (as no scripophily had ever been discovered), the history of the "Royal Foundries of Indret and Montcenis and Crystalery of the Queen" is surely of similar importance for the history of France. Its creation marked the beginning of the Industrial Revolution in France by copying the modern iron-forging techniques from England with the help of Welshman William Wilkinson. From the mid-1780s onwards, the production of the works exceeded all iron production anywhere else (excluding England): an annual output of 5000 tons of iron and 4500 cannons. Moreover, the company operated the first (horse-drawn) railwayin France and manufactured the cannons used during the French Revolution and in the battles of Napoleon Bonaparte. Its glassworks - under the patronage of Queen Marie-Antoinette - made the shining crystal used at the Royal court of Louis XVI. In later years (1836) the company - renamed Le Creusot - was bought by the Schneider brothers who expanded it into a world-famous iron and steel-mill and major arms manufacturers, today known Schneider Electric, a Euro Stoxx 50 firm. The original Royal Foundry is now a major tourist site - a must see for anyone interested in the start of the industrialisation on the European Continent. The project of a major iron foundry in Indret (an island on the Loire near Nantes and close to the Atlantic Ocean), was initiated by King Louis XVI in 1776 in order to produce heavy guns for the French Navy. Almost 10 years later, and with the help of Wilkinson, Ignace de Wendel set up blast-furnaces in Indret (Loire-Atlantique) and Le Creusot (Burgundy). This company was created to group both production facilities, as well as the Crystalery. The capital was divided into 4000 shares. The King received 333 shares in return for the financial support he had given during the start-up phase in the previous years. Likewise, various other early investors who had given money in the years before the company was legally set-up, received in total 2947 shares. The remaining 720 shares were sold to the public and the money collected was the company's working capital. We can now offer for the very first time one such share. It is a unique piece from a collection of "old papers" built in the late 19th century by a French Attorney and in the hands of his heirs until earlier this year when the family decided to put this collection for sale in a provincial auction. Rarity 12.
Condition Report: VF-EF