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The E-Sylum (9/8/2013)

Book Content

The September 5, 2013 issue of CoinsWeekly has a great article on Wertpapierwelt, the Museum of Historical Shares and Bonds in Olten, Switzerland. Here's an excerpt. -Editor

Wertpapierwelt Museum 1 To commemorate its ten-year anniversary, the world’s most prominent collection of historical securities is presenting a new type of exhibition: one of modular design that invites visitors to look at the world of securities from different perspectives. In future, a two-part permanent exhibition will bear witness to the origin and spread of the joint stock company as well as explain how financial instruments function. This will be accompanied by a special exhibition that examines subjects of relevance to society, which this year takes the form of the globally networked nature of business.

The anniversary exhibitions will feature 140 selected securities spanning the period from the very beginnings of the joint stock company to the present day, all displayed in an area of 300 sqm. Detailed explanations provide background information and outline the importance of each of the exhibits.

In summer 2003 Wertpapierwelt – the Museum of Historical Shares and Bonds – in Olten became the first international museum of its kind to make the world of shares and bonds, not to mention their influence on economic history, accessible to the public. Using historical securities – relicts from a bygone past – the museum illustrates how they interrelate and shows in a generally understandable manner how shares and other financial instruments have always influenced our economy.

While the first part of the permanent exhibition is mainly given over to helping us gain an understanding of the technical and legal aspects of securities, the second part provides us with a thrilling insight into the economic, technological and societal developments that we have witnessed since the invention of the joint stock company in 1602. The share has had a lasting impact on our present world as an instrument that has financed our society’s progress in the last 400 years and served as the basis for the spread of capitalism.

Wertpapierwelt Museum

Thanks to its new modular exhibition design, Wertpapierwelt – Museum of Historical Shares and Bond – meets the expectations of all those visitors who want to just find out more about securities, their history and stock exchange trading. By combining the permanent exhibition with a current issue, a connection is established to our own experience that demonstrates how old shares and bonds are in no way dusty relics of history but have a message for developments in our current times.

Anyone who would like to find out more after viewing the variety of the securities on display can satisfy their hunger by taking a seat at a fictitious trading workplace set up on two PCs with access to the collection’s database.

The database contains both the fronts and backs of all the approximate 10,000 securities in the collection, and represents a unique archive of historical securities. A catalogue is available for the permanent exhibition with illustrations and explanations of all the securities on display, while a separate illustrated accompanying brochure takes you through the special exhibition. English-and French-speaking guides are at your disposal in the museum. The museum’s picture database encourages you to browse through the collection of the collection’s 10,000 historical shares and bonds.

To read the complete article, see: Ten years of Wertpapierwelt - Museum of Historical Shares and Bonds (

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