The Real Estate Bank Ltd. Issued to John Sinclair of South Yarra, Victoria, Australia.
23 February 1889
Certificate No. 2746
Printed on white stock, black printed lettering and black handwritten text and red ink lines. There is a decorative cartouche on the left hand side bearing the company name.
The scrip is significant as an example of the extensive land speculation that occurred in Melbourne in the 1880s.
The Real Estate Bank was founded in 1887 by James Munro (1832-1908), banker and politician, Premier of Victoria 1890-92, evangelical Christian and leader of the temperance movement. During the boom of the late 1880s, investors flocked to these seemingly sound and robust institutions; the Real Estate Bank had a magnificent building on Collins Street, next to the Premier Permanent Building Association, founded by Munro's colleague James Mirams. At the annual meeting of the Bank in August 1891 Munro declared that the bank was sound; it collapsed four months later. In 1892 its 5 pound shares could be bought for a penny each.
When the crash came, Munro was Premier, and he marshaled through legislation, the Voluntary Liquidation Act 1891, that abolished the legal right of minority depositors to send a company into compulsory liquidation; this enabled many suspect banks and companies to wind up their affairs without independent investigation. In Feb 1892 the bank went into liquidation, Munro claiming that it still had a surplus of assets over liabilities of 600,000 pounds; the liquidators soon determined it had a deficiency of 540,000 pounds. In 1899 the liquidator paid investors 2s 6d in the pound.
As premier, Munro appointed himself Victoria Agent-General to London, and left the colony in early 1892. A solicitor who had lost money in the collapse undertook private investigations, and showed that the bank had paid 180,000 to Munro for various properties, all of them now valueless. Munro returned to bankruptcy in 1893, and paid nothing to his creditors. Later in 1893 Munro was bashed unconscious in Collins Street by a labourer who had lost his savings. Munro finished his days as a real estate agent in Armadale. [see Michael Cannon, The Land Boomers, 1972]
Type of item
22 cm (Length), 17.5 cm (Width)
222 mm (Width), 176 mm (Height)
Measurement From Conservation.