A rare collection of historical business share certificates has been donated to the Beedie School of Business at Simon Fraser University by former member of the Canadian Senate Jack Austin.

Resembling sheets of antique postage stamps or engravers’ art, the collection, which will be displayed at the Segal Graduate School of Business in downtown Vancouver, is a snapshot of global business at the turn of the 20th century.

The certificates – 24 in total – show global business isn’t a recent phenomenon. They were issued – many in English – by the Chinese Government of 1913, British Canadian Lumber, 1911, and the City of Moscow, from pre-Tsarist Russia, 1908.

Austin says the collection represents two themes: globalization, and capital markets. They illustrate stories of both success and failure, in a period of history where revolutions, war and global economic integration impacted upon companies’ well being.

“These certificates are an excellent reminder to today’s generation of investors to be careful with their investments,” said Austin. “As we have moved to electronic anonymity since the 1980s, many share certificates have become collectors’ items. They could be either simply or beautifully designed, and many are a virtual work of art.”

Austin’s passion for collecting share certificates was ignited early in his career, when practicing as a commercial lawyer in the 1950s. He represented companies primarily in the energy resource sector, and specialized in securities, trades, property and commercial law.

“We are extremely grateful to Jack Austin for this generous donation of certificates, which are not only of historical significance, but also have artistic merit,” said Daniel Shapiro, Dean of the Beedie School of Business. “The certificates will be proudly displayed at our Segal Graduate School, and will serve as a reminder to our students and faculty of the foundations upon which today’s financial markets were built.”

Jack Austin was a member of the Senate of Canada for 32 years, representing British Columbia. He has championed stronger relations between Canada and Asia since 1971, when as deputy minister of Energy, Mines and Resources he was part of the first Canadian trade mission to China.

He served as president of the Canada China Business Council for seven years and co-chair of the Canada China Legislative Association for five. He was instrumental in establishing the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada in 1984 and in creating an endowment for the foundation in 2005.

The Beedie School of Business has a long-standing relationship with Austin, and hosts the Jack Austin Centre for Asia Pacific Business Studies in partnership with the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada. The Centre was named to recognize Austin’s exceptional contribution to Canada-Asia relations.

For more information about the Jack Austin Centre for Asia Pacific Business Studies, visit