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Eine der beiden Bloomfield Aktien



I reported that a silver brooch that was stolen from us was found again with a stolen goods dealer in southern Germany. What I would not have thought is that I would later be suspected of dealing with stolen goods.

One of my sources for buying old tea stocks was a company near Birmingham. They would send me lists of historical securities at irregular intervals, which were then sold in a private auction. I would select all the tea stocks from these lists and place my bids. In most cases I won the bid, paid by pound check, and received the papers in the post. Everything perfectly correct.

In the mid-eighties, I discovered two stocks of "Bloomfield Tea Co. Ltd." and one of "Singtom Tea Company (1946) Limited" on one of these lists. I didn’t have shares in these two gardens in Darjeeling in my collection and I therefore bid on the papers. I won the bid and a fortnight later; I was the lucky owner of three shares from 1945 and 1947.



After purchasing historical securities, I take a second look at the back of the share certificates, as more often than not there are interesting entries to be found in the transfer register. These three stocks were no exception; there were details on all of them that surprised me.

I discovered the signature of Bejoy Kumar Chirimar on all of them, who, as Managing Director in 1967, confirmed a change of ownership. In the above case even for his wife; Shakuntala Chirimar


The company, Ludwig H. O. Schroeder & Rudolph Hamann, had a vast business volume with the company Bloomfield Tea Co. Ltd. mainly with original Darjeeling lots in Calcutta, especially in the 70s and 80s. The business was led by Bejoy Chirimar, whom I first met in 1969 on a flight from Calcutta to Tehran in 1969. Due to my annual visits to Calcutta and the close business relationships, a friendly bond was established, which also mutually developed into a close family relationship.




So, what could be more logical than to tell Bejoy Chrimar about my acquisition of the shares. Email and PDF files did not exist back then, so photocopies were made and sent by post to Calcutta. In a covering letter I pointed out that I was pleased to have acquired the shares and that I was surprised to discover the names of the owners and signatures in the transfer register. I was even more surprised, however, when I received the immediate reply from Bejoy Chirimar. He informed me that these three shares had been stolen from his brother's office in Calcutta about a year earlier. You just can't make this up: shares are stolen in Calcutta, sold in England and end up with a business friend in the suburb Hoisdorf!



Shakuntala and Bejoy Kumar Chirimar
1974 in Calcutta.

I immediately offered Bejoy to send the shares to Calcutta, but he informed me that they had already been declared invalid and that they had received replacements. The question arises as to whether such a theft is even worthwhile when you consider the route the papers took after the break-in in Calcutta. I remember, though vaguely, paying about £ 15 a share, which was Euro 30 at the time. There was not much left for the thief.

The garden name, Bloomfield, no longer exists in Darjeeling. The Chirimar family had decided to sell the garden but wanted to keep the company name "The Bloomfield Tea Co. Ltd." as it was well established in the trade. The BLOOMFIELD garden was therefore renamed ORANGE VALLEY before it was sold to the Bagaria Group of Companies. Today, there is only one division called BLOOMFIELD on this garden, which is located directly below the city of Darjeeling next to the ARYA and RISHEEHAT plantations.

September 2016

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