Some years ago, it must be nearly twenty, I came upon some old share certificates. They aren't of any great value, maybe a few pounds each, but I decided to hold on to them. I thought that they would be an interesting addition to my study wall once framed. Most of them date from the latter years of the nineteenth century and were issued to a Mrs Mary Gaussen, wife of Rev James Gaussen of Wellington Road Dublin. I have tried to discover something about this lady and her husband, but although I can find reference to various Gaussens in Dublin in the nineteenth century to date I have been unsuccessful in discovering any information regarding this pair.
They must certainly have had a very comfortable life style. Mrs Gaussen's holding of £450 of Consolidated Preference Stock in the Belfast & Northern Counties Railway Company would equate to some £64,000 today, although of course the stock may have been trading at under par when it was purchased.
These old share certificates are interesting in that they do give an insight into our industrial past and the engraving is often very detailed. I suspect that it will not be long before share certificates become a thing of the past. Even private share holdings are for the most part now held on a paperless nominee basis.
The Belfast & Northern Counties Railway Company was the name adopted by the Belfast & Ballymena Railway Company after it amalgamated with/ took over the Ballymena Ballymoney Coleraine and Portrush Junction Railway in 1860.