Scripophily.com will Attend the 16th Annual International Stock and Bond Show on January 27-28, 2017 in Herndon, Virginia

Scripophily.com LLC, the Internet’s leading buyer and seller of authentic stock and bond certificates, will be attending the 16th Annual International Stock and Bond Show in Herndon, Virginia. The show will have dealers from all over the world and is expected to be the best stock and bond event ever.

The location of the show is the Crowne Plaza Hotel near Dulles Airport on 2200 Centerville Road and located just 21 miles from Washington DC (call 800-227-6963). The show starts on Friday, January 27th to Saturday, January 28th, 2017. The show hours are from 9am to 6pm on Friday and from 9am to 4pm on Saturday.

OldCompany.com will be offering Free Old Stock Certificate Research Services ($39.95 Value) to anyone who brings in a certificate to our booth and wants to know what happened to the company. In addition, Bob Kerstein, the Old Stock Detective and founder of Scripophily.com will be offering free assessments of stock and bond certificates as to their collectability.

“Stock certificates make great gifts and make wonderful collectibles especially when they are historically relevant” said Bob Kerstein, Founder of Scripophily.com. “

Scripophily (scrip-ah-fil-ly) is the name of the hobby of collecting old stock and bond certificates. Certificate values range from a few dollars to more than $500,000 for the most unique and rare items. Tens of thousands of Scripophily buyers worldwide include casual collectors, corporate archives, business executives, museums and serious collectors. Due to the computer age, more and more stock and bonds are issued electronically which means fewer paper certificates are being issued. As a result, demand for paper certificates is increasing while supply is decreasing.

Scripophily.com has items on loan for display in the Smithsonian’s Museum of Financial History in New York. We have also partnered with the Museum of American Finance On Stock Giveaways for New York Area Teachers and Students.

Our company has been featured on CNBC, USA Today, Associated Press, Reuters, Nightline, Today Show, Baltimore Sun, and Washington Post and in many other media publications. The company also offers the World’s #1 old stock research service at OldCompany.com and offers high resolution scans for publications. Scripophily.com has over 16,500 selections on its website.

Scripophily.com /Old Company Research Service, founding member of the Old Stock Exchange, is the successor company to all material published by the Marvyn Scudders Manuals, the Robert D. Fisher Manuals, R.M. Smythe Stock Research Service, and the Herzog & Co., Inc. obsolete research services. These services have been performed continuously for over 138 years since 1880. We are the leading provider of authentic stock certificates, autographs, and old company stock research services.

Scripophily.com and Old Company Research Services was founded by Bob Kerstein (Bob.com). Bob is a CPA and CGMA, and has more than 41 years of senior management experience in the Cellular, Cable TV, Satellite, Internet, Professional Sports and Entertainment Industries. Bob is also the President of the Professional Scripophily Traders Association (PSTA).

For more information on Scripophily.com®, visit http://www.scripophily.com, http://www.oldcompany.com, http://www.scripophily.net, http://www.rambo.com, http://www.bob.com or call 1-703-787-3552

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Scripophily.com celebrates 20 years on the Internet

Analytics Tracking - Video

House of Representatives Check

All Orders will receive an authentic United States House of Representatives Sergeant of Arms Signed Check

and

Atari Stock Certificate

all orders over $200 receive an authentic Atari Corporation stock certificate

20 years ago, no one knew what the word Scripophily meant. Now it is all over the Internet, and is defined in encyclopedias and dictionaries, used in spelling bee’s,and has its own category on eBay, and is listed on Google over 370,000 times.

Scripophily.com®, the Internet’s largest buyer and seller of collectible stock and bond certificates is celebrating 20 years on the Internet by offering an authentic free United States House of Representatives Sergeant of Arms signed check from the 1950’s with all orders plus a free Atari Corporation – Famous pioneer video game (Pong) Company stock certificate with all orders over $200.

Scripophily.com opened its virtual doors in 1996 with a mission to use the Internet to transform the hobby of collecting stock and bond certificates as the fastest, easiest, and most enjoyable shopping experience possible. While our customer base and product offerings have grown considerably since our early days, we still maintain our founding commitment to customer satisfaction and the delivery of an educational product and an enjoyable shopping experience.

The authentic Sergeant of Arms House of Representatives signed check we are offering is from the United States Government issued in the 1950’s. This historic document has a vignette of the U.S. Capitol in the background and has been hand signed. The Sergeant at Arms of the United States House of Representatives is an officer of the House with law enforcement, protocol, and administrative responsibilities. The Sergeant at Arms is elected at the beginning of each Congress by the membership of the House.

The Atari Corporation Stock Certificate is issued no later than 1992 and was printed by the United States Banknote Corporation. This has an image of the famous company logo and has the printed signature of the company’s president, Jack Tramiel. These certificates are highly desirable and very collectible.

Scripophily (scrip-ah-fil-ly) is the name of the hobby of collecting old stock and bond certificates. Certificate values range from a few dollars to more than $500,000 for the most unique and rare items. Tens of thousands of Scripophily buyers worldwide include casual collectors, corporate archives, business executives, museums and serious collectors. Due to the computer age, more and more stock and bonds are issued electronically which means fewer paper certificates are being issued. As a result, demand for paper certificates is increasing while supply is decreasing.

Certificates are collected and given as gifts because of their historical significance, beauty and artwork, autographs, notoriety, as well as many other factors. Old Greek, Chinese, Confederate and Panama Canal bond certificates have been very popular this year. In addition, scandals like Lehman Bros. and Enron, and stock certificates signed by John D. Rockefeller and other famous businessmen continue to be our top sellers.

The supply of new certificates reaching the collector market has been substantially reduced due to changes in state laws and stock exchanges rules. Many companies are no longer required to issue physical stock and bond certificates by stock exchanges and the Securities and Exchange Commission, a process called “dematerialization.” Stock certificates can now be registered and transferred electronically. Paper stock certificates are slowly being removed and retired from circulation in exchange for electronic recording. This means fewer new paper certificates are reaching the market and older ones are destroyed when they are redeemed. As a result, the supply of paper stock certificates is significantly reduced.

In 2011, Scripophily.com, the parent company of Old Company Research Service, acquired the old stock & bond business research service correspondence, archives and copyrights from Herzog & Co., Inc. (formally R.M. Smythe Old Stock Research Services). The acquisition included rights to all reference material published by the Marvyn Scudders Manuals, the Robert D. Fisher Manuals, and Herzog & Co., Inc. as well as all correspondence from the R.M. Smythe Special Library used in the Smythe’s Obsolete Research activities which began in 1880.

Scripophily.com – The Gift of History is the Internet’s leading buyer and seller of collectible stock and bond certificates and has items on loan for display in the Smithsonian’s Museum of Financial History in New York. Our company has been featured on CNBC, USA Today, Associated Press, Reuters, Nightline, Today Show, Baltimore Sun, and Washington Post and in many other media publications. The company also offers the World’s #1 old stock research service at OldCompany.com and offers high resolution scans for publications. Scripophily.com has over 17,500 selections on its website.

Scripophily.com /Old Company Research Service, founding member of the Old Stock Exchange, is the successor company to all material published by the Marvyn Scudders Manuals, the Robert D. Fisher Manuals, R.M. Smythe Stock Research Service, and the Herzog & Co., Inc. obsolete research services.

Scripophily.com and Old Company Research Services was founded by Bob Kerstein (Bob.com). Bob is a CPA and CGMA, and has more than 40 years of senior management experience in the Cellular, Cable TV, Satellite, Internet, Professional Sports and Entertainment Industries. Bob is also the President of the Professional Scripophily Traders Association (PSTA) and co founder of the American Stock and Bond Collectors Association.

For more information on Scripophily.com®, visit http://www.scripophily.com, http://www.oldcompany.com, http://www.scripophily.net, http://www.bestservice.com, http://www.bob.com or call 1-703-787-3552.
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PRWeb ebooks – Another online visibility tool from PRWeb Scripophily.com celebrates 20 years on the Interne

Amalgamated Theatres Stock Certificate By Fred Fuld III, AntiqueStocks.com

Let Me Entertain your with an Amalgamated Theatres Stock Certificate

Handsigned by Balaban & Katz

By Fred Fuld III, AntiqueStocks.com,

Author of Let Me Entertain You with Antique Stock Certificates

AmalTheatBalabanKatz

The certificate shown is for Amalgamated Theatres Corporation, dated 1914. It is signed by two of the most important people in the early days of show business. Barney Balaban and Sam Katz. Although their names may not be well known, their contributions to the entertainment industry were substantial.

Balaban built the first movie theater with a balcony back in 1910. It was called the Circle Theatre. Sam Katz married Balaban’s sister Ida. The two men created the Balaban and Katz Theatre Chain to build a chain of movie cinemas in the Midwest. In 1917, they built the Central Park Theatre in Chicago.

They also created the first air-conditioned movie theater, with the air conditioning created by blowing an industrial fan over ice in a large bucket.

The Famous Players-Lasky Corporation paid thirteen million dollars for stock in the company in 1926, essentially taking over the company. Sam Katz ended up running the Paramount-Publix chain of theaters in New York City.

Barney Balaban became president of Paramount in 1936 and remained the head of the company until 1964. He signed on many new stars under his leadership including Bob Hope, Alan Ladd, and Veronica Lake. In the 1930’s, he produced numerous films including Little Orphan Annie, Gulliver’s Travels, and many Hopalong Cassidy films. He also produced several of the Bob Hope-Bing Crosby Road films, including Road to Singapore.

Other popular films under his leadership include:

Holiday Inn

For Whom the Bell Tolls (nominated for Best Picture)

Going My Way (Won Academy Award for Best Picture)

The Lost Weekend (Won Academy Award for Best Picture)

Sunset Boulevard (nominated for 11 Academy Awards)

The Greatest Show on Earth (Won Academy Award for Best Picture)

Roman Holiday (nominated for Best Picture)

White Christmas

The Ten Commandments

Some interesting trivia is that Balaban purchased one of the 14 original copies of the Bill of Rights and donated it to the Library of Congress in 1945.

 

Czech Scripophily: A Story of Love, Beer and Broken Promises

Czech Scripophily: A Story of Love, Beer and Broken Promises By Jeremy Monk, AKRO investiční společnost, a.s.

 

cheers
By Jeremy Monk, AKRO investiční společnost, a.s.
More than Just a Pretty Picture!

Scripophily isn’t the name of some rare disease, but rather a specialised branch of numismatics focused on the study and collection of old stocks and bonds. The word is derived from the English word “scrip” which represents an ownership right and the Greek word “philos” means to love. At AKRO, we have adorned the walls of our offices not with photos or paintings but with old stock and bond certificates. Such furnishings seem particularly fitting for a mutual fund group whose activities are focused on such investments.

Over the years, thousands of companies have at one time or another issued share and/or bond certificates. It is therefore possible to focus on almost any theme to start a collection. The railway and automotive industries are particular favourites amongst Scripophilists. Thematic collections can include anything from corporate scandals (Enron, Global Crossing,) to erotica (Nevada brothels, Playboy Inc., Beate Uhse). I will confess that my collection at AKRO, and at home, is rather eclectic in nature; a mixture of the decorative and the historically interesting. It includes some lavishly illustrated foreign certificates issued by Louis Bleriot, Claridges Hotels, The Port of Bruges, and Societe Paris-France S.A. The majority of the collection is however focused on old Czech certificates.

 

Czech Collectors: Spoilt for Choice

The Czech Republic represents a fruitful source of old shares and bonds. In countries such as the US and UK, old certificates are only normally available in companies that:

  1. Went into bankruptcy (and the owners just kept the certificates);
  2. Whose shares, when cancelled upon sale, were for whatever reason never destroyed by the transfer agents;
  3. And shares where specimens (of what was printed) and poofs (of what will be printed) have survived.

In the Czech Republic, on the other hand, political change under communism meant most shareholders just kept their shares in the their bottom draw in the hope that one day they would have some value. As a consequence, at lot of certificates remain in numerous Czech companies. Czech collectors are therefore spoilt for choice!

BrugesParis-France

Left: Certificate from the Compagnie Des Installations Maritimes De Bruges issued in 1904. The company was formed in 1895 to construct the port installations and a canal at Bruges. Widely acknowledged as one of the most beautiful certificates ever made. Source: Scripophily.com – The Gift of History

Right: Paris-France S.A., issued 1927, and illustrated by Alfonse Mucha. Paris-France S.A. was incorporated in 1898 to establish a shop in Paris to sell high quality clothing and other items. Alfonse Mucha was retained to illustrate their certificates. Source: gutowski.de

Top: Cheers! Smichov Brewery, issued 1939. Featuring a large vignette of a seated King holding a beer. The company was formed in 1869. Its products can still be enjoyed today. Source: Author’s private collection.

Do these shares have any value?

To some extent, it rather depends how you define value. Certainly many have considerable aesthetic value whilst others may be regarded as of historic value. In some cases, old stocks and bonds may even have some intrinsic value. Like most collectibles overall scarcity and condition also play a part with regard to value.

Old certificates can be purchased on general websites such as ebay or aukro. Specialist websites and auctions also exist, e.g. hwph.com, fhw-online.de. International auction houses, such as Spink and Bonhams, have also held Scripophily auctions. Interesting certificates can be bought for a few hundred or a few thousand Euros. Rare certificates can, however, fetch significantly more.

The Aesthetic Value

Old Certificates, particularly those issued during the nineteenth and early twentieth century are usually beautifully illustrated. Like banknotes, intricate engravings were used to limit the scope for forgeries. Indeed, many of the same printers, engravers and artists were used in the production of stock and bond certificates as for banknotes and postage stamps. It was also felt that an elaborate illustration was a sign of good things to come! An early form of corporate promotion. Unfortunately, not all certificates have the artist’s name. Czech artists whose work appears on certificates include: Alfonse Mucha, Josef Herčík, Emanuel Bohač, and Cyril Bouda.

Czechoslovak Commercial Corp

Left: Czechoslovak Commercial Corporation of America, issued 1926. Illustrated by E. Bohac. The company aided the emigration of Czechs to America. Note the symbolism of the Czech figures on the right with their luggage, the rich and fertile land that awaits them, and the Statue of Liberty that beckons. Source: Scripophily.com – The Gift of History

Historic Value

Through surviving certificates it is possible to trace the evolution of our modern capital markets from their origins in the seventeenth century to the present day. In many cases, these certificates are the only tangible remains of enterprises, great and small, successful or failed, and the colourful personalities often associated with them.

Some of the most sought after shares are those issued by The Dutch East India Company, which was Holland’s biggest trading company during the 17th and 18th centuries. It was also the world’s first joint-stock limited liability company with freely transferable shares. The public share subscription ended on September 1st 1602. It is a share in The Dutch East India Company, dated 1606, which is regarded as the oldest known share in existence. The ultimate success of the Dutch East India Company, and other similar companies shortly thereafter, secured the limited liability company as the foundation stone of modern finance. Whilst Czech certificates are not so old, many also have historical significance.

The availability of historic bonds and shares tells us a lot about the relative historic importance of industries to countries. Given the vast expanse of America, not surprisingly, old railroad shares are very easily found in North American reflecting the railway boom of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In Africa, Australia, Canada, mining shares predominate. What then of the Czech Republic? Well, you guessed it, for Czech Scripophilists, by far the most represented industry, measured by the availability of historic shares, is the brewing industry! Not surprising given the historic importance of the beer industry to the Czech Republic. Indeed, in 1931, tiny Czechoslovakia was ranked 6th in the world in terms of beer production being home to some 430 breweries.

The Czech market isn’t just about collecting brewery shares. As one of Europe’s most advanced economies almost every industry is represented, from automobiles (Skoda) to banking (Zivnostenka banka). Furthermore, in the era before electronic signatures, old stocks and bonds often bear the signatures of yesteryear’s entrepreneurs. For autograph collectors, old certificates can be valuable source of authentic signatures.

Anton PuppHeinrich PuppGrand Hotel Pupp

Anton Pupp, 1841-1907                   Heinrich Pupp 1850-1931              Grand Hotel Pupp

Signatures

The signatures of Anton and Heinrich Pupp appear on share certificates, issued in 1898, to finance the building of the Hotel Grand Pupp in Karlovy Vary (Carlsbad). Source: Securityprinting.org, Pupp.cz

With the recent popularity of ‘crowdfunding’, it is worth reflecting on the fact that the Czech Republic has a rich and proud history of public subscription to projects deemed of national significance, be it the National Theatre, the repair of St Vitas Cathedral or Petrin Tower. The internet has merely given new life to an old idea.

Petrin certificatePetrin PhotoCity of Carlsbad

Left and centre: Public subscription to finance of the View Tower on Petrin Hill, issued 1891, was an example of successful Crowd funding. In March 1891 the building of the tower started for the General Land Centennial Exhibition. It was finished in only four months. The building of The National Theatre and the renovation of St. Vitus Cathedral were financed in a similar way. Source: Securityprinting.org, Wikipedia

Right: City of Carlsbad (Karlovy Vary) municipal loan, issued in dollars and linked to the gold price. One of the pre-war bonds subject to a 1984 agreement. Source: Author’s private collection

On a less uplifting note, securities linked to the scandalous voucher privatisations of the 1990’s act as a reminder of the endemic deceit and fraud that has so undermined trust in the Czech capital market.

Intrinsic Value

Just because a security is old doesn’t mean it has no intrinsic value. In a previous article, I noted the recent repayment of debt by the UK government that originated from the South Sea Bubble of 1720! The very oldest active bond is a perpetual bond issued by the Dutch Water Board of Lekdijk Bovendams on May 15, 1648, to finance the repair of a dike. Now owned by Yale University, the bond still pays interest.

On occasions, even hitherto defaulted bonds can also turn out to have some intrinsic value left in them. My first experience of this was in 1987, when the Chinese government quietly paid-off the British holders of Chinese government bonds issued before 1949, when the communists came to power. The most prominent was a GBP25m sterling bond issued in 1913, indexed to the price of gold, which was to mature in 1960. The desire of the Chinese government to issue new bonds in the late 1980’s prompted the settlement. Traditionally, The London Stock Exchange has refused to list securities issued by defaulters therefore providing an incentive for a settlement.

Settlements in eastern-Europe have included: Poland, Bulgaria and Romania. Many Czech pre-war dollar denominated bonds were subject to a settlement in 1984/6. However, many of these bonds would appear not to have received the payment indicated in the agreement. The evidence suggests that the Czechoslovak government never fully honoured the agreement.

What can we learn from Scripophily?

Old stock and bond certificates often represent extremely decorative pieces of commercial art illustrated by the leading contemporary artists of their day. However, old stocks and bonds are also important because they represent tangible reminders of our financial history. The successes, failures, booms, busts, entrepreneurs, fraudsters, ongoing controversies, are all represented. Hopefully, by reflecting on past experience, today’s investors can make better decisions. How can investors commit to buying a long-dated Czech government bond without first noting the ongoing treatment of bondholders subject to a bond-holders agreement signed 30 years ago?

For more than 400 years, ever since the successful formation of the Dutch East India Company, public subscription to joint stock companies has been the foundation stone of modern corporate finance. On the whole, it has been a story of economic success and progress. However, it is sobering to think that most old certificates represent investments that, for one reason or another, are now worthless. The reasons for their failure are manifold: politics, war, new technologies, economic decline, incompetence, fraud or just plain bad luck. Investors who blithely ignore these risks, and focus just on the present, ignoring history, are worse investors because of it.

A surprisingly high number of bonds, especially sovereign and municipal bonds, even after default, ultimately yield at least a nominal return. For example, since its formation in 1933 until its effective demise, the Foreign Bondholders Protective Council brokered more than 50 settlements. The message is clear, never ever, throw away a seemingly worthless certificate. In the future, it may well have some artistic, historic or even intrinsic value. You never know your luck!

For investors and collectors alike, Scripophily is indeed about more than just a pretty picture.

Jeremy Monk

Investment Director

AKRO investiční společnost, a.s.

19th April, 2016

I would like to a acknowledge the help of Vladimir Gutowski (Gutowski.de), Jiří Jaroš (securityprinting.org), Bob Kerstein (Scripophily.com – The Gift of History) and Jitka Markusová (Grandhotel Pupp) for kindly letting me illustrate the article with photographs from their websites. A special thanks to Stanford University Libraries who provided me with copies of the 1984 and 1986 original signed agreements between the Foreign Bondholders Protective Council and Czechoslovak state.

 

This article does not constitute investment advice or a recommendation to buy or sell any security. The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s and do not necessarily represent the views of AKRO investiční společnost, a.s. Examples of the certificates illustrated in this article are held in the author’s private collection including the pre-war Czech dollar denominated bonds issued by the Czechoslovak State, Karlovy Vary (Carlsbad) and City of Greater Prague.

ANNA SAUNDERS “LEANS IN” AS PRESIDENT OF A CRIPPLE CREEK, CO. MINING COMPANY IN 1912 By Brent Brown

ANNA SAUNDERS “LEANS IN” AS PRESIDENT OF A CRIPPLE CREEK, CO. MINING COMPANY IN 1912

By Brent Brown

www.westernminingstocks.com

A very rare example of a woman running a mining company, and this was over 100 years ago. The Crystal Peak Gem Company was a Cripple Creek mining company run by Anna M. Saunders as president in 1912.

http://www.westernminingstocks.com/collections/colorado-mining-stocks/products/crystal-peak-gem-co-stock-cripple-creek-co-anna-saunders-president

crystalpeak

 

Crystal Peak

The Crystal Peak Gem Company mined semi-precious stones on Crystal Peak, in Teller County, Colorado. According to the 1917 Biennial Report issued by the Colorado Bureau of Mines, small quantities of semi-precious stones were mined in Colorado each year. These included Amazon-stone, smoky quartz, rock crystal, orthoclase, topaz and phenacite. They were then sold in curio stores in Denver and Colorado Springs.

The Crystal Peak Gem Co. ran mine tours and sold fine native cut stones and jewelry, along with geological curios and district ores at their store at 508 Bennett Avenue in Cripple Creek. Bennett Avenue was the main street in Cripple Creek.

In 1906, Ms. Saunders was listed in the Colorado Business Directory as the proprietor of the Burlington House at 101 W. Masonic. The Burlington House might have been a rooming house. It was located just a block or two from the Red Light District in Cripple Creek.

Anna Saunders signs the Crystal Peak Gem Co. stock certificate as president in 1912.

Jacob Little – The Original Wall Street Bear by Bob Kerstein

Jacob Little

The Original Wall Street Bear
by Bob Kerstein, CEO Scripophily.com

          Scripophily.com is a name you can TRUST!
Image of Jacob Little

Signature of Jacob Little on Certificate
 

Jacob Little was the first Great Bear of Wall Street. Bears on Wall Street had operated more in the United States than in Europe. Although there was a ban on short sales by the New York Legislature in 1812, the bear operator was a familiar figure in the nineteenth century. One who gained celebrity status was Jacob Little. He was a leading bear operator in the first half of the 19th century. His nick names included the “Great Bear,” the “Old Bear,” and the “Napoleon of Wall Street”. Little is also known for the Inventor of the Short Sale in the United States and the Inventor the convertible bond.

The Civil War wiped out his fortune and he died penniless.

From the book “FIFTY YEARS IN WALL STREET” by Henry Clews

MY DEBUT IN WALL STREET

MY advent in Wall Street was on the heels of the panic of 1857. That panic was known as the “Western blizzard.” It was entitled to the name, as its destructive power and chilling effects had surpassed all other financial gales that had swept over Wall Street. The first serious result of its fatal force was the failure of the Ohio Life and Trust Company, a concern of gigantic dimensions in those days.

The Company had an office in Wall Street, and on the announcement of the collapse, business became completely paralyzed. This failure was immediately followed by the suspension of many large firms that had withstood the shock of all ordinary collisions and had successfully weathered many financial storms.

The panic was due in part to excessive importations of foreign goods, and also to the rapid construction of railroads, to a large extent on borrowed capital. There were other contributing causes. The crops were bad that year, and the country was unable to pay for its imports in produce, and coin was brought to the exporting point. In October, the New York City banks suspended payments, and their example was followed throughout the country. Bank credits had been unduly expanded everywhere, and the time had naturally arrived for contraction. It came with a bound, and financial disaster spread like a whirlwind, becoming general.

The Stock Exchange had been a moderately growing concern for the ten years previous to this calamity, and the securities there dealt in had been rapidly accumulating in number and appreciating in value. Its members were wealthy and conservative, with a strong infusion of Knickerbocker blood, an admixture of the Southern element and a sprinkling of Englishmen and other foreigners.

The effect of the crisis on the majority of Stock Exchange properties was ruinous. Prices fell fifty per cent. in a few days, and a large proportion of the Board of Brokers were obliged to go into involuntary liquidation. There was a great shaking up all around.

Then came the work of rehabilitation and reorganization. Confidence gradually returned. The Young Republic had great recuperative powers, and they were thoroughly exerted in the work of resuming business. Much of the old conservative element had fallen in the general upheaval, to rise no more. This element was eliminated, and its place supplied by better material, and with young blood, and in December the banks resumed business.

This panic and its immediate results created an entire revolution in the methods of doing business in Wall Street. Prior to this time, the antique element had ruled in things financial, speculative and commercial. This crisis sounded the death knell of old fogyism in the “street.” A younger race of financiers arose and filled the places of the old conservative leaders. The change was a fine exemplification of the survival of the fittest, and proved that there was a law of natural selection in financial affairs that superseded old conservatism and sealed its doom.

Until that time, the general idea prevailed that those engaged in financial matters must be people well advanced in years, even to the verge of infirmity. It is the same idea that has been handed down, as if by divine right, from old world prejudices, especially in the learned professions. No doctor was considered a safe prescriber unless his hoary locks, bald head and wrinkled brow proclaimed that he had almost passed the period of exercising human sympathy. The same rule of judgment was applied to the lawyer and the clergyman. These unworthy prejudices were fostered by the character of the Government of the old country, and nurtured by the surroundings of the venerable monarchies of Europe, where they exist largely even to the present day. So tenacious of life are these old-fashioned ideas, that many of them were found in full vigor, dominating Wall Street affairs up to the crash of 1857, fostering the antique element and choking off salutary enterprise.

Hence the process of decay of these archaic notions and our gradual development. This struggle for new life in Wall Street was not successfully developed without a serious effort to attain it. The old potentates of the street fought hard to prolong their obstructive power, and their tenacious vitality was hard to smother, reminding one of the nine lives attributed to the feline species. The efforts of the young and enterprising men to gain an entrance to the Stock Exchange were regarded by the older members as an impertinent intrusion on the natural rights of the senior members. It was next to impossible for a young man, without powerful and wealthy patrons, to obtain membership in the New York Stock Exchange at the time of which I speak.

The old fellows were united together in a mutual admiration league, and fought the young men tooth and nail, contesting every inch of ground when a young man sought entrance to their sacred circle.

The idea then struck me that there was a chance for young men to come to the front in Wall Street. I was then engaged in the dry goods importing trade, in which I received my early training. I had been kept out of the Exchange for several years by the methods to which I have alluded. My fate was similar to that of many others. It was only by an enterprising effort, and by changing the base of my operations, that I finally succeeded.

The commissions charged at that time were an eighth of one per cent. for buying and selling, respectively. After numerous efforts to gain admission to the Exchange, without success, I finally made up my mind to force it. I at once inserted an advertisement in the newspapers, and proposed to buy and sell stocks at a sixteenth of one per cent each way. This was such a bombshell in the camp of these old fogies that they were almost paralyzed. What rendered it more distasteful to them still was the fact that, while they lost customers, I steadily gained them. The result was that they felt compelled to admit me to their ranks, so that I could be kept amenable to their rules and do business only in their own conventional fashion.

My membership cost me, in all, initiation fee and other trifling expenses in connection therewith, $500. This presents a striking contrast to the recent price of a seat, $35,000, but though this difference seems very large, yet the changes in every other respect connected with Wall Street affairs have been in similar proportion. Among some of the old members of that day were Jacob Little, John Ward, David Clarkson and others whose names may be found in the archives of the Stock Exchange. As an instance of the way in which membership was then appreciated, it may be mentioned that speculators frequently offered $100 a week, or ten times the cost of membership, for the privilege of listening at the keyhole during the calls.

Although the prostration growing out of this panic was very great and of long continuance throughout the country, general confidence being shaken to its very foundation, yet, on the whole, it was a great gain, and marked an era of financial and speculative progress. It was the chief cause in drawing out the young element in the business of Wall Street, which might have lain dormant for a much longer period without this sudden and somewhat rude awakening. It not only brought Young America to the front in speculation, commerce and general business, but it imparted an impetus of genuine enterprise to every department of trade and industry, from the good effects of which the country has never since receded.

This new element, emanating from the throes of one of the greatest business revolutions that any country has ever experienced, has continued to grow and thrive with marvellous rapidity. It is now getting so large that the Exchange will soon require a whole block instead of a basement as at its origin for its head-quarters. The Governing Committee of the Stock Exchange are now looking forward to arrangements for this consummation. How the ancient fathers of my early days in Wall Street would have been shocked at the bare idea of such amazing progress!

It is not the least singular phase of this evolution in Wall Street, that the youthful element to which I have referred stands alone as compared with the progress achieved by the same class of men in any other nation. In America only does the youthful element predominate in financial affairs; and results have justified the selection, which perhaps in no other nation is possible. Thanks to the freedom of our Republican institutions, which, in spite of some individual deductions and the occasional obstructions of “crankdom,” make way for that progress, in the wake of which the other nations of the world are emulous to follow.

The Exchange was at this time situated on William Street between Beaver Street and Exchange Place. That place is rich in speculative reminiscences. It was there that Jacob Little made and lost his nine fortunes. It was there that Anthony Morse, the lightning calculator, operated. He could foot up four columns of figures as easily as the ordinary accountant could run up one. He had been a clerk, and having saved seven hundred dollars by close economy, began to deal in stocks. His career at that time was more marvellous even than that of Keene of a recent date. Morse made a fortune of several millions in a year, and became bankrupt during the same period, without any available assets to speak of. It was all honorably lost, however. There was no Ferdinand Ward game connected with it.

Youthful speculators had not then learned the “crooked” methods of the young idea of modern times. It was there also that Daniel Drew began to accumulate those millions that afterward were subject to such a rude scattering. It was there that the celebrated “corners” in Rock Island, Prarie du Chien and Harlem were concocted. It was there that the wealth was accumulated which built twenty thousand miles of Western railroads, causing many millions of acres, that would otherwise have been a wilderness, to blossom like the rose, in spite of Mr. Powderly’s opinion that no material good can come out of speculation, and thus adding immense wealth in real estate to the country, besides conferring incalculable benefits on trade and commerce, and preparing comfortable homes not only for the pioneers and surplus population of the Eastern States, but a teeming soil that has attracted the downtrodden of every nation to come and partake of the blessings of freedom and prosperity.

One of Jacob Little’s speculative ventures has been rendered historically famous through the rule of limitation of sixty days for option contracts. The necessity for this limit was brought about by one of his celebrated attempts to manipulate the market. He was one of the most prominent speculators in Erie in the early days of Drew’s transactions with that property and its stocks. Mr. Little had been selling large blocks of Erie on seller’s option, to run from six to twelve months. This was in the early history of “corners,” before the method of managing them scientifically had been fully developed and while “blind pools” were yet in embryo.

The leading members of the Erie Board formed a pool to “corner” Mr. Little, and ran Erie shares up to a considerable height. They imagined that he was in blissful ignorance of their purpose, and had everything arranged for a coup d’etat which was to reach its crisis at two o’clock on a certain day, when Little was to be completely overwhelmed and hopelessly ruined. An hour prior to the time appointed by the clique for his disaster he walked into the Erie office, opened a bag filled with convertible bonds, and requested an exchange of stock for the same. He had purchased the bonds in London and had them safely locked up for the emergency, which he promptly met on its arrival. He got the stock, settled his contracts, broke the “corner,” and came out triumphantly. The option limit of sixty days was afterwards adopted in order to prevent similar triumphs in manipulation on the “short” side.

As will be illustrated more fully in subsequent chapters, Mr. Little’s convertible bond trick was used with signal advantage by his speculative successors in Erie, who practically demonstrated on several occasions that there were millions in it.

Mr. Little was generous and liberal to a fault with his brother speculators who had experienced misfortune. He used to say that he could paper his private office with notes he had forgiven to the members of the Board. He was also remarkable for his great memory. He could easily remember all the operations he made in the course of a day without making a note or a mistake.

Like Drew, he was careless in his attire, wearing a hat like that of a farmer, and not a very prosperous one, but he had no compeer in his day at calculating ahead in a speculative venture.


Sunshine and shadow in New York By Matthew Hale Smith – 1869

JACOB LITTLE, THE GREAT BEAR OF WALL STREET.

JACOB LITTLE originated the daring, dashing style of business in stocks, by which fortunes are made and lost in a day. He was born in Newburyport, Mass., and early exhibited great tact and aptitude for business. In 1817 he came to New York, and entered the store of Jacob Barker, who was at that time the most shrewd and talented merchant in the city. He remained with his master five years, and completed his financial education. In 1822 he opened an office in a small basement in Wall Street. Caution, self-reliance, integrity, and a far-sightedness beyond his years, marked his early career.

For twelve years he worked in his little den as few men work. His ambition was to hold the foremost place in Wall Street Eighteen hours a day he devoted to business — twelve hours to his office. His evenings he spent in visiting retail houses to purchase uncurrent money. He was prompt, energetic, reliable. He executed all orders committed to him with fidelity. He opened a correspondence with leading bankers in all the principal cities from New York to New Orleans.

Twelve years of industry, integrity, and energetic devotion to business placed Mr. Little at the head of fmancial operations in Wall Street. He identified himself with the style of business known as ” Bearing Stocks.” He was called the Great Bear on ‘change. His mode of business enabled him to roll up an almost untold fortune. He held on to his system till it hurled him down and beat him to pieces, as it had done many a strong man before.

For more than a quarter of a century Mr. Little’s office in the old Exchange building was the centre of daring, gigantic speculations. On ‘ change his tread was that of a king. He could sway and disturb the street when he pleased. He was rapid and prompt in his dealings, and his purchases were usually made with great judgment. He had unusual foresight, which at times seemed to amount to prescience. He controlled so large an amount of stock that he was called the Napoleon of the Board. When capitalists regarded railroads with distrust, he put himself at the head of the railroad movement. He comprehended the profit to be derived from their construction. In this way he rolled up an immense fortune, and was known everywhere as the Railway King.

He was the first-to discover when the business was overdone, and immediately changed his course. At this time the Erie was a favorite stock, and was selling at par. Mr. Little threw himself against the street. He contracted to sell a large amount of this stock, to be delivered at a future day. His rivals in Wall Street, anxious to floor him, formed a combination. They took all the contracts he offered, bought up all the new stock, and placed everything out of Mr. Little’s reach, making it, as they thought, impossible for him to carry out his contracts.

His ruin seemed inevitable, as his rivals had both his contract and the stock. If Mr. ” Little saw the way out of his trouble, he kept his own secrets; he asked no advice, solicited no accommodation. The morning dawned when the stock must be delivered, or the Great Bear of Wall Street break. He came down to his office that morning self-reliant and calm as usual. He said nothing about his business or his prospect. At one o’clock he entered the office of the Erie company. He presented certain certificates of indebtedness which had been issued by the corporation. By those certificates the company had covenanted to issue stock in exchange. That stock Mr. Little demanded. Nothing could be done but to comply. With that stock he met his contract, floored the conspirators, and triumphed.

Reverses so common to all who attempt the treacherous sea of speculation at length overtook Mr. Little. Walking from Wall Street with a friend one day they passed through Union Square, then the abode of our wealthiest people. Looking at the rows of elegant houses, Mr. Little remarked, ” I have lost money enough to-day to buy this whole square. . Yes,” he added, ” and half the people in it.” Three times he became bankrupt, and what was then regarded as a colossal fortune was in each instance swept away. In each failure he recovered, and paid his contracts in full. It was a common remark among the capitalists, that ” Jacob Little’s suspended papers were better than the checks of most men.”

His personal appearance was commanding. He was tall and slim; his eye expressive; his face indicated talent; the whole man inspired confidence. He was retiring jn his manner, and quite diffident except in business. He was generous as a creditor. If a man could not meet his contracts, and Mr. Little was satisfied that he was honest, he never pressed him. After his first suspension, though legally free, he paid every creditor in full, though it took nearly a million of dollars. He was a devout member of the Episcopal Church. Plis charities were large, unostentatious, and limited to no sect The Southern Rebellion swept away his remaining fortune, yet, without a murmur, he laid the loss on the altar of his country. He died in the bosom of his family. His last words were, * I am going up. Who will go with me ? ”