Boom and bust in New York real estate

[Title on cover:] GUIDE MAP OF NEW YORK CITY Showing present and proposed transit lines and pictures of properties owned by the New York Real Estate Security Company. These properties are the security for the Company’s 6% Mortgage Bonds. [Title on map:] SOME OF THE PROPERTIES OWNED BY THE NEW YORK REAL ESTATE SECURITY CO. MAIN OFFICE 42 BROADWAY, NEW YORK CITY, U. S. A. [New York, 1912-1913.]
Lithographic pocket map printed in black with red overprinting, map 32 ¾”h x 15 ½”w at neat line plus wide border of architectural vignettes on a 40”h x 26 ¼”w sheet. Folded and tipped into card stock folder with printed title. Modest wear to pocket, map in superb condition.

An unrecorded ca. 1912 persuasive map of New York City touting bonds offered by the New York Real Estate Security Company. Everything about the map is designed to convey the safety of the Company’s offerings, and yet in 1913 it was forced into bankruptcy and its holdings liquidated.  

The New York Real Estate Security Company was organized in 1908 by Louisville, Kentucky native William Eyre Gibson Gaillard (1877-1939), an experienced and well-connected real estate executive and entrepreneur. The Company financed its acquisitions of high-end real estate in Manhattan and the Bronx by sale of “gold mortgage bonds” paying a fixed six-percent interest. As seems to have been common practice at the time the bonds were marketed widely as a safe investment… see for example this 1912 puff piece in the journal American Medicine. Nevertheless the Company from going belly up in late 1913, when, faced with a decline in the luxury real estate market, it could no longer make interest payments to its creditors. (Brooklyn Daily Eagle, vol. 73 no. 329 (Nov. 28, 1913), p. 1)

Offered here is a very rare, indeed unrecorded, promotional map issued by the Company as part of its marketing campaign. The map was produced by retrofitting a garden-variety Hammond & Co. street map of Manhattan, the Bronx, and parts of Brooklyn and Queens. To this was added headline text in the upper and lower margins and overprinted text on the map, with the reassuring claim that “The Security for the 6% Mortgage Bonds Issued by the New York Real Estate Security Company—Improved, Income-producing Real Estate on Manhattan Island—is Time-tried and Panic-tested.” The margins were then adorned with a dozen photographic vignettes of solid-looking New York buildings held by the Company. Within just a few years these would have to be sold off to make good on the Company’s debts.

Possibly a unique survival, in superb condition, bearing witness to the never-ending siren song of New York real estate.

Not in OCLC or Haskell, Manhattan Maps[:] A Co-Operative List. Neither Rare Book Hub nor Antique Map Price Record list any examples having appeared on the antiquarian market.