The Henry Hoare share certificate, as it should be
Purely by chance, through a stamp collecting friend of Eric Shaw, we became aware of an original Surrey Iron Railway share certificate going for auction in March. The target price was £75.This seemed too good to be true (and was!). We put in a postal bid at up to £155 (double target plus£5). The Museum has never bought an item like this before, but we would have felt we had let ourselves down if we had not tried to acquire something which meant we could ‘touch' the Surrey Iron Railway.
We failed. The certificate sold for over £500, which meant there were at least two bidders going when we dropped out. To some extent we have a success though. The winning buyer was a dealer, who was kind enough to respond to a polite letter of enquiry, by telling us that the going rate for these certificates is over £1,000, and he was surprised to have got it so cheaply. That certificate is now safely with a collector within our area (not named, but we hope he will be in contact).
Henry Hoare was a significant local landowner. His house, Mitcham Grove, lay in the eastern part of what is now Ravensbury Park, and his land extended from the Cricket Green in Mitcham to what is now St Helier Hospital. He died in 1828.
The Henry Hoare share certificate, when it first arrived from Mike - the Royal mail had jiggled it so that when it arrived, its fold was up against the edge of the envelope, and got torn when Sheila opened it. Luckily it was only a copy, and a good one, so the miracles of modern technology have enabled us to piece it together (see main picture).
Mike Vesseid, of the Collector's Gallery, Shrewsbury, the dealer in question, has been kind enough to send us a photocopy of a certificate in his own collection, to add to our archive, No 190 belonging to Henry Hoare of Mitcham (see p15), for which we are most grateful.
Thanks to the House of Lords library, we have also acquired a full print of the Surrey Iron Railway Act of 1801, for the first time.