Collectible Stocks and Bonds from North American Railroads     by Terry Cox

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Illinois Central Railroad route maps used on stock certificates

Railroad companies were constantly building, buying, selling and abandoning routes, so only a handful of companies ever decorated their certificates with route maps. The Illinois Central Railroad was one of the few exceptions. It used route maps on its stock certificates for at least 65 years.

Illinois Central stock certificateBased upon images contributed by collectors, I can positively confirm five map variations, but I suspect there may be at least one more. To confirm more varieties, I will need high-resolution images. The addition or subtraction of small line segments is impossible to see on low-resolution images.

Map variations more or less coincide with changes in corporate capitalization. Here are the variations I currently know about.

Illinois Central route map 1

Earliest version found on stock certificates with $29,000,000 capitalization. Note single route from Kankakee through Indianapolis to Cincinnati. It seems this particular issue of stock represents the period during which Stuyvesant Fish shook up the board of the company and installed E.H. Harriman as a member. (Image courtesy Bernhard Wilde.)

Illinois Central route map 2

This seems to be the second version that also appears on slightly later certificates also having a $29,000,000 capitalization. Note multiple new routes to Cincinnati and Indianapolis. New branches appear in north central Illinois and the branch has been finished to Aberdeen, Mississippi. A new IC branch appears on the west side of the Mississippi River from Cairo, IL to southern Arkansas. By this time, Fish and Harriman has begun serious expansion plans. (Image courtesy Bill Knadler.)

Certificates are reported with a $40,000,000 capitalization. However, I have no images of this series, so I cannot confirm whether these certificates have a different route map. Please send a 300 dpi image if you have any certificates like this.

Illinois Central route map 4

This version of the Illinois Central route map seems to have appeared about 1899. It was used on certificates having capitalizations of $60,000,000, $66,000,000 and $79,200,000. Note that many routes changes appear in this version: the route from Cairo to southern Arkansas is gone, as is the Kankakee-Cincinnati route. New branches appear in Iowa and Wisconsin. Several hundred miles of new routes appear in western Mississippi, paralleling the Mississippi River. This particular route map seems to represent the system after Harriman and Fish gained control of the Chesapeake Ohio & Southwestern. (Image courtesy Vernon Alexander.)

Illinois Central route map 5

This version appears on certificates having a capitalization of $109,296,000. With this version, western Mississippi routes are now gone, but there are new minor branches in Alabama, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky and Iowa. (Image courtesy Vernon Alexander.)

Illinois Central route map 6

This appears to be the last version of the Illinois Central route map and appeared on certificates dated as late as 1947. No capitalization amount appears on certificates carrying this particular map, so there may be more variations waiting to be found. Moreover, there seems to be a long period between this and the previous series of stock certificates, so again, there may be more variations out there. (Image courtesy Vernon Alexander.)


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