Welcome toThe Rothschild Archive'swebsite

Sources for business history: catalogues of bank files

Sources for art history: Catalogue of the pictures of Alfred de Rothschild 1901

Sources for yachting history: Plans for Nathaniel von Rothschild's yacht Veglia 1905

Sources for natural history: Walter 2nd Lord Rothschild and his zebra carriage: c.1910

Sources for global financial history: Map of lines of the Brazil Railway Company: c.1920

Sources for business history: index cards to bank files

Sources for social history: Rothschild Hospital Paris: 1920s

Sources for business history: detail of a Rothschild bond coupon

Sources for architectural history: Halton House: 1890s

Sources for the history of travel: Lionel de Rothschild's tours of Spain: 1909

Sources for local history: Tring Park: c.1900

Sources for Royal history: shooting party with Edward Prince of Wales: 1893

Sources for political history: Lionel de Rothschild: first Jewish MP: 1858

Sources for sporting history: St Amant winner of the Derby: 1904

Sources for local history: gardeners at Aston Clinton: 1899

Sources for Rothschild family history: Lionel de Rothschild's yacht Rhodora: 1927

Sources for London history: entrance to New Court: 1965

Sources for design history: plans for Lionel de Rothschild's Rolls-Royce: 1930

Sources for business history: Rothschild gold bars produced by the Royal Mint Refinery: 1930s

Sources for business history: letters of August Belmont Rothschild Agent in New York: 1860s

Old Rothschild Bonds

Throughout the 19th century, the primary and best known area of business of N M Rothschild & Sons was the issuing of bonds as a means of raising loans, largely for sovereign governments. The finance secured by the Rothschild bonds was one of the essential building blocks of the modern world. Capital raised by the bonds was put to many uses, form supporting newly independent nation states, to the provision of infrastructure for global economic development. Examples of bonds issued by the Rothschild banks are still privately held.

The issuing of bonds

Once negotiations with the Rothschild partners and senior managers and the ministers and officials of a country seeking to raise money were complete, a prospectus would be printed, and these, together with application forms would be sent out to firms and individuals who had responded to advertisements for the bond issue placed in the newspapers.

'Scrip', or subscription receipts, would be sent out on receipt of deposit payments; the bond itself only when all instalments had been paid. The bonds themselves were often beautiful examples of iconography and engraving.

Each bond was printed with a sheet of coupons and every six months the bondholder would cut out the next coupon and present it to the Bank or paying agent in exchange for the designated dividend payment. The coupon number would be recorded in a ledger, the coupon cancelled, and counted into bundles. The method of processing the payments was so labour intensive that by the interwar years over half of the bank's staff were involved in this work.  

Old Rothschild bonds

Most bonds issued before the Second World War have been fully paid out many years ago. Such bonds as exist are usually found without the coupons attached, these having been redeemed. Complete, or partially redeemed bonds of this age are usually never worth more than the face value. Very few bonds with Rothschild as the paying agent are still valid; these are for a very limited number of Brazilian bond issues.

Bonds as collector's items

As a collector's item, old bonds may have a value as a collector's piece, (in the way that old stamps, bank notes and cheques may have) rather than as a bond. Old redeemed and cancelled bonds, as well as other bond and loan documentation (such as scrip, receipts, prospectuses, share certificates and application forms) are of interest to collectors.

Scripophily is the study and collection of stock and bond certificates. The British Banking History Society and The International Bond and Share Society may be of interest to collectors. The Rothschild Archive London has no affiliation with these Societies. The Rothschild Archive cannot give valuations of old bonds, and does not purchase old bonds from private individuals.

Brazilian 4% Loan 1911: bond for £1000

Brazilian 4% Loan 1911: bond for £1000

United States of Brazil Government 5% loan 1907: bond coupons

United States of Brazil Government 5% loan 1907: bond coupons