History of Finance


Shavers, Sharks and Payday Lenders

Westerners have long harbored a love-hate relationship with lenders, and their ambivalence shows no sign of abating anytime soon. What has changed over time is the perception of what constitutes “bad” types of lenders or loans. In various times and places, it was illegal/immoral to charge any interest at all, to exact interest from kinsfolk, to charge rates considered too high or to use violent collection methods. Today, it is lawful, and even somewhat morally acceptable, to charge any rate of interest to anybody willing to pay it. Reformers, however, want to protect borrowers from being cajoled, forced or tricked into borrowing at high rates for long periods.

The King James version of Exodus (22:25) states that “If thou lend money to my people poor by thee, thou shalt not be to him as a usurer, neither shalt thou lay upon him usury.” Usury here is usually taken to mean taking any interest whatsoever, though at least one recent translation reads instead: “If you lend money to one of my people among you who is needy, do not treat it like a business deal; charge no interest.” If the traditional interpretation is correct, perhaps early Jews lamented lost profit opportunities because Deuteronomy (23:19–20) clearly allows some lending at interest: “Unto a stranger thou mayest lend upon usury; but unto thy brother thou shalt not lend upon usury.”

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Visit the Wall Street Collectors Bourse IV

During the Revolutionary War, Jonathan Trumbull, then-governor of Connecticut and after whom Trumbull, Connecticut, is named, raised a lot of money to help its funding. Connecticut was the main source of supplies for the northern and middle states, and more of its debt instruments survive from the period than from any other state. In 1864, this certificate was issued to recall the sacrifices made by Trumbull, also known as “Brother Jonathan.” As General George Washington’s close friend, advisor, and aide throughout the war, the General gave him his nickname. "We must consult Brother Jonathan,” is used in New England to this day, an iconic symbol of the part the northern colonies played in our independence from Great Britain.

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The Evolution of Value Investing: Past, Present, and Beyond

Considering the popularity of value investing, it is somewhat surprising that a paper recently published by Joseph Calandro in the Journal of Investing was the first formal attempt to categorize the development of this highly-effective and influential school of thought over time. The following article summarizes this categorization of value investing’s past and present and offers suggestions on what its future may hold.

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Dominick & Dominick

The early 1900s were marked by steel and rail consolidations, a bull market, the Panic of 1907, securities investigations and re-regulation. This would all end by 1913 with the newly-created Federal Reserve and the death of J.P. Morgan. Historian Robert Sobel called this era, “The end of the Golden Age,” as Victorian bankers faded into the past.

Investment banking historian Vincent Carosso wrote, “Never again would they [bankers] be so free to conduct their affairs as they had been at the turn of the century, when J.P. Morgan presided over the securities industry. His death in Rome…proved to be far more of a dividing line in the history of American high finance than was generally acknowledged at the time.” All the while, D&D quietly involved itself in NYSE governance, developing its stock business and helping companies like International Nickel and American Bank Note distribute large blocks of stock.

As D&D headed into the 1920s, Bayard Dominick passed away and Bayard Dominick, Jr. took control of the firm. He surrounded himself with men like the well-connected Andrew V. Stout and the knowledgeable Major Barnard. When he retired in the mid-1920s, Stout took the reins of the firm. Along the way, Bernon Prentice had become an important driver of new business for D&D, and he made valuable connections to the DuPont family and William Durant, co-founder of General Motors.

Museum of American Finance

While securities trading was central to D&D’s business, it was also a private banking firm. Historian Susie Pak describes this world in her book, Gentlemen Bankers, saying, “A private banking partnership was not simply a job. It was an identity that required constant vigilance, a process or mode of becoming, that was fragile because of its dependence on relationships to others. If private banking was a way of life, a banker’s social ties were as much a statement of his identity and reputation as his economic associations.” In short, the senior partners at D&D gained their influence through their standing in the financial community, which allowed them to operate their style of business.

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–Bart Ward is CEO of the Investment Advisory firm of Ward & Company, Ltd. Since 1993 he has written the weekly Wall Street history and market-oriented column, “The Corner.” He has his degree in history from UCLA.


Book Review: The Downfall of Money


I still remember a conversation with Pat Hyland, Chairman of Hughes Aircraft, when I was director of their pension fund investments. Pat recalled being in Germany in the early 1920s, seeing people with wheelbarrows filled with paper money. This lasting memory prompted his concern to protect the pension fund from inflation. In Germany to this day, the hyperinflation era continues to influence government fiscal policy and attitude. Frederick Taylor's The Downfall of Money: Germany's Hyperinflation and the Destruction of the Middle Class recalls that financial crisis, and how it affected the public.

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October Auction to Feature Rare 1792 US Federal Bond

The most highly prized stock and bond certificates signed by important people usually have a backstory, and the 1792 US Federal bond signed by George Washington, scheduled for auction on October 19th at the Museum of American Finance, is no exception.

In order to establish the national credit, and also to liquefy and reorganize the outstanding debt after the Revolutionary War, US Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton proposed the Plan of Assumption, to exchange all state debt for new US Treasury bonds, reflecting the struggle for independence as national, rather than local. All state debt instruments were to be exchanged at face value, and the numerous state obligations would receive one of only six new Treasury issues. This made the marketplace far more efficient as investor interest could be focused on only six issues. This bold plan was highly controversial, and resulted in a stalemate in Congress, resolved months later through a political agreement on a new location for the capital of the nation on the Potomac, in what was to become Washington, DC.


The face of the 1792 George Washington Bond

The plan was extremely successful, and formalized the national debt, which was held by a broad cross section of the population, and in a few years this debt became one of the highest credits in the world. The new Treasury bonds were among the first securities traded on the New York Stock Exchange, another institution Hamilton encouraged. The Plan of Assumption was one of the crucial elements of Hamilton’s advanced financial infrastructure which created the environment for the rapid growth of the 19th century. This exceedingly rare bond is one of the most important objects in American financial history, and the first example of this instrument to be offered in public auction; serious interest is expected.

One of the first US Treasury bonds is dated January 17, 1792 (size 17 ¾”x 5 ½,”  Anderson US-195). The bond's seemingly odd denomination, $123.99, resulted from the exchange  formula used when Washington’s non-performing Virginia state bonds were  surrendered for US Treasury bonds.Exceedingly rare and part of the Copps Collection, only two others like it are known - one exhibited in the Museum of American Finance, and another at George Washington University Library.


The reverse of the 1792 US Bond signed by George Washington.

Washington later sold this bond, and in the note on the verso asked that the proceeds be kept in his account at the Treasury, and then signed his name. Leaving his funds in the US Treasury was a very patriotic choice, as the government was in crisis mode dealing with the Whiskey Rebellion in western Pennsylvania.

The auction Saturday October 19 at 10:30 am is part of the annual Wall Street Coin, Currency and Collectibles Show, taking place at the Museum of American Finance, 44 Wall Street, New York City, October 17 – 19, 2013.  Museum admission is free for the Bourse weekend.

Show info: wallstreetbourse.com and 203-292-6819.
Auction Info: archivesinternational.com and 201-944-4800

–John E. Herzog is organizer of the Wall Street Coin, Currency and Collectibles Show and also founder of the Museum of American Finance and now its chairman emeritus. He has spent his life in the financial services industry. As a collector he has specialized in the financial instruments of the American Federal period, which made the creation of the United States possible. The Museum holds a major portion of his collection, and uses it in exhibits.


Book Review: After the Music Stopped


Throughout this long and multifaceted work on the recent financial crisis and its aftermath, Professor Blinder demonstrates that he is the rare academic economist who writes clearly about a complicated topic, clarifying complex issues for readers who remain confused about what happened. Some readers may find his proposed remedies problematic.

If writing the second draft of history is supposed to involve both fact telling and interpretation, Alan Blinder’s After the Music Stopped: The Financial Crisis, the Response, and the Work Ahead certainly qualifies. But if books written several years after the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression are supposed to reflect a deeper understanding than those written in the throes of the emergency, this one falls short. Moreover, as the subtitle indicates, the author attempts to combine work of adescriptive nature and work of a prescriptive nature into a single, large, and far-reaching undertaking.

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Beggar Thy Neighbor

Seven years before the assassination of Julius Caesar, an acrimonious dispute broke out between Marcus Tullius Cicero, at the time the provincial governor of Cilicia, and Marcus Junius Brutus, a young provincial Roman administrator. The elder statesman chided the younger man for using his administrative post in Cyprus to earn ill-gotten gains at the expense of the local people. Cicero received reports that Brutus had been lending money in Cyprus at four times the maximum rate stipulated by Roman law. To make matters even worse, he did it anonymously through an agent who did not mind using strong-arm tactics to collect the debts. When Cicero brought the matter to his attention, Brutus ignored him and continued to lend money. When he finally returned to Rome, he did so a wealthy man.

The problem caused Cicero to coin a name for the practice which became a cornerstone of Roman law. The story was told innumerable times over the next 1,800 years. The Roman historians dutifully recorded it, and Adam Smith alluded to it in the Wealth of Nations. According to Roman law, simple interest was permitted, but compound interest was anathema. Compounding had been used in many ancient civilizations, but the Romans eventually made it illegal. By doing so, they also established a tradition that would create much confusion in the centuries to follow. They did not make all interest illegal, only compound or “accumulating interest.”

Prohibitions against excessive interest, or more properly usury, have been found in almost all societies since antiquity. Charging interest on loans is the oldest financial practice. It has also been decried almost from the beginning as predatory, with the lender seeking to take advantage of the borrower. Whether loans were made in cash or in kind, unscrupulous lenders were said to be practicing a beggar-thy-neighbor policy by ensuring that the borrowers were disadvantaged to the point of losing their collateral, or in extreme cases even losing their freedom or families. Charging simple interest was barely condoned, but charging compound interest was unscrupulous, immoral and rapacious. It was also practiced with near impunity.

–Charles R. Geisst is Ambassador Charles A. Gargano Professor at Manhattan College and the author of 19 books. Reprinted from Beggar Thy Neighbor: A History of Usury and Debt by Charles R Geisst with permission from University of Pennsylvania Press. © 2013.

This exerpt and article is reprinted courtesy of the University of Pennsylvania Press and was originally excerpted in MOAF's Financial History magazine.

Museum of American Finance

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The Real Uncle Tom and the Unknown South He Helped Create

When President Abraham Lincoln met Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, during the Civil War, he reportedly said: “So you’re the little lady who started this great war.” There was some truth to his words. The book played a huge role in persuading northerners to view southerners as cruel, corrupt and insatiably greedy.

Neither Lincoln nor the book’s hundreds of thousands of readers had any idea that there was a real Uncle Tom and a real South that was very different from the portrait painted by Stowe and other anti-slavery critics such as her brother, the Rev. Henry Ward Beecher. Like Mrs. Stowe, most of these critics believed that God had inspired them to demand the immediate abolition of slavery — and condemn slave owners as contemptible. The vast majority of modern readers are equally unaware of the real Tom and the South he lived in.

The article originally appeared in Financial History magazine and is adapted from A Disease in the Public Mind by Thomas Fleming (Da Capo Press, 2013)

Museum of American Finance

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McDonald's and the New Franchising Paradigm

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

If you were to ask for the name of world’s largest real estate developer and property management firm, you may be surprised by the answer: McDonald’s. Aside from being the largest purveyor of food in the world, the company controls the real estate in 33,000 restaurant locations in 119 countries and territories.


The founders of McDonald’s—Richard and Maurice McDonald—did not start out by selling hamburgers.

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Early Corporate America: The Largest Industries and Companies before 1860

Second Bank of the United States
Philadelphia, PA, Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Although the United States drew on European precedents to guide much of its early financial maturation, in one area it led the way: the development of the corporation as an important form of competitive business enterprise. Early European corporations were few, far between, and usually monopolies. Examples include the Bank of England, which had a monopoly of corporate banking in England and Wales into the 1850s, and the East India Company, which enjoyed a monopoly of British trade with India until well into the 19th century.

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From Gilt-Edged to Blue Chip - The Evolution of a Stock Market Term


Credit: Wikimedia Commons

When the stock market was in full-scale panic mode in 1893, the New York Herald reported that “there was no relation whatever between prices made on the tape and the intrinsic value of the securities sold.” The paper noted that “the fall was perhaps sharpest in gilt edged, dividend paying stocks which have been comparatively firm while others were tumbling.”

Today even the most casual followers of the financial markets would describe those as blue chip stocks, while the term “gilt- edged” is now applied to one particular segment of the bond market.

How did this change in the language of investing come to pass? Perhaps the Stock Market Crash of 1929 played a role.

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The $1 Conspiracy


Credit: Wikimedia Commons

How Ralph Kramden brought down Casey Jones, in which a cartoon rabbit and a very real civil-rights heroine also appear...

Conspiracy theories are endemic to politics and big business. Vast library shelves groan under the weight of hundreds of volumes revealing “the truth” about or debunking lurid tales of assassinations, movie stars, organized crime, and smoke-filled rooms. Most of the theories fall flat after a moment’s sober reflection, but the stories seem deathless.

A great irony of the unending fascination with conspiracies is that one of the very few that was not just proven, but for which the perpetrators were tried and convicted, lies forgotten. Among a dedicated few the debate over the National City Lines (NCL) continues to rage. But few people outside the wonkish world of transit advocates know that for the middle half of the 20th century a coalition of oil, tire, and automobile companies created a front company to buy up municipal streetcar lines and convert them to buses.

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Insuring Lives and Protecting Families - The Early Years of the $5 Trillion Life Insurance Industry

NY Life Check

19th century blank check from the New-York Life Insurance and Trust Company

It’s hard to believe that life insurance, a $5 trillion industry in the United States, was once considered profane. After all, many initially thought it would be offensive to put a dollar value on a person’s life.

But the insurance industry, which already had been insuring ships and later the lives of marines in England as far back as the 16th century, began informally protecting human lives in the United States in the mid-18th century.

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Beware of Unintended Economic Consequences


Unissued bank note from the
Second Bank of the United States

Many observers are beginning to examine the unintended economic consequences of major reform legislation in the areas of health care (The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) and financial services (The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act). Such consequences have often followed sweeping actions taken by various elements of the federal government. All three branches have at times seemed equally oblivious to the unintended economic consequences of their decisions.

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Checks & Balances: Three Epochs of Federal Budget Management

White House
Credit: Wikimedia Commons

“Today,” President Bill Clinton (1993–2001) said on January 6, 1999, “I am proud to announce that we can say the era of big deficits is over.”1 Clinton’s pronouncement was profoundly premature, a fact underscored by the debt ceiling impasse and Treasury bond downgrade of 2011. Unless the US economy improves faster than even the most optimistic economist now forecasts, huge federal deficits will be in America’s future for many years to come. That means the national debt, already at almost $15 trillion and 100% of GDP, will continue to grow, putting more downward pressure on the government’s bond rating and additional upward pressure on interest rates. Many Americans believe that more dangerously destabilizing political squabbles over taxes and social programs are forthcoming, with results that no one with a decent respect for the intricacies of politics and economics dares to predict.

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Wall Street in Widescreen: The Financial Crisis of '08 in Cinema


In the fall of 2008, as investment banks exploded and their debris cascaded upon the middle and lower classes, many Wall Street CEOs continued receiving bonuses worth millions. The Financial Crisis of 2008 fit Hollywood’s formula for profit—power, corruption, and lies equal ticket sales—so the recent spate of crisis-related films is not surprising. It is important to analyze the most noteworthy of the new films because they will, undoubtedly, become historical references in their own right in years to come as they help to define the Financial Crisis of 2008 for millions of moviegoers.

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Harry Markowitz - Father of Modern Portfolio Theory - Still Diversified

Markowitz2Harry Markowitz’s Nobel Prize winning Modern Portfolio Theory was put to the supreme test in The Great Recession of 2008. The stock market plunged nearly 40%, stock and corporate bond markets crashed, the money markets froze up. Uncle Sam had to bail out major banks, while letting Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers fail.

It raised the big question: Does Modern Portfolio Theory hold up during once-in-a-lifetime events?

“It is sometimes said that portfolio theory fails during a financial crisis because all asset classes go down and all correlations go up,” Markowitz said in a telephone interview from his office in San Diego, CA.

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First Wall Street Collectors Bourse at the Museum of American Finance a Success

Ribbon Cutting

The first Wall Street Collectors Bourse, held at the Museum of American Finance, on October 21 and 22, 2011, was a success with approximately 400 visitors. Twenty-three dealers participated, showing and trading their stock and bond certificates and bank notes, including US and worldwide rarities in a wide variety of subjects. In addition, there were autographs, coins, and other ephemera related to finance.

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The First Activist Congress

LincolnObservers who marvel at the far-reaching nature of the legislation passed by the 111th Congress that met from January 2009 to December 2010 may be even more amazed at the groundbreaking actions of the 37th Congress. 

That group of representatives met in four separate sessions from March 1861 to March 1863, and passed several acts that profoundly changed the federal government’s involvement in many aspects of the nation’s business.The 35th and 36th Congresses had passed 129 and 157 public acts and resolutions, respectively. The 37th Congress passed 428, while its successor extended or passed another 411. Many related not to contingencies of the ongoing Civil War, but to unfinished Republican Party business left over from prewar legislative sessions. Without representatives from 11 states that had seceded and formed the Confederate States of America (CSA), the 37th Congress passed landmark legislation such as the Revenue Act, Legal Tender Act, Homestead Act, Morrill Act, National Banking Act, and Pacific Railway Act, creating what historian Leonard Curry has labeled “a blueprint for modern America” that is still visible some 150 years later.

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Nerds on Wall Street


Not long ago, trading on a stock market meant you would be in a crowd of people energetically shouting, running around, and making a mess with great quantities of paper.

No more.

Visiting a financial market now is more like visiting the “cloud,” a big data center. Computers and network gear hum in racks. Fans blow. Rows of tiny lights flicker. Occasionally someone shows up, but do not count on much water cooler conversation.

Technology did not suddenly transform our markets. It has been a gradual process, and understanding how we got here, and the simpler machines we used along the way, provides insight into today’s complex markets. It turns out that going back to the basics, from the buttonwood tree and hand signals, is a good way to explain technology that can seem hopelessly complex and buried in jargon.

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Wall Street Bourse at Museum of American Finance

HerzogCertificate Wall Street Bourse, the first numismatic show to take place at the Museum of American Finance, will be held on October 21 and 22, 2011. Twenty-two dealers will bring stock and bond certificates and bank notes including US and worldwide rarities in a wide array of topics and subjects such as railroads, mining, autos, aviation, Internet and technology, telecommunications, and navigation.  In addition there will be autographs, coins, tokens and other ephemera related to finance and its history.  Admission to museum events, including the Bourse (which will be run by an independent numismatic group), will be free to the public from 10 am to 4 pm on both days.  Much to the delight of collectors and enthusiasts of numismatic objects, the Bourse will also feature an auction by Archives International Auctions on Friday evening at 8 pm, hosted at India House (One Hanover Square). John Herzog, founder and chairman emeritus of the Museum, says "This show should be of interest for the historical perspective it offers practitioners about companies they might be analyzing."   

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The Real Road to Serfdom

        The past is never dead. It is not even the past.
                    —William Faulkner (1951), Requiem for a Nun

        History is more or less bunk.
                    —Henry Ford (1916), Interview in Chicago Tribune

In June of this year, I was a presenter, discussant, and session chair at the 18th Conference of the Multinational Finance Society, held in Rome. In his keynote address, Hersh Shefrin, professor of finance at Santa Clara University and a pioneer in behavioral finance, made a desperate plea to restore historical economics to the finance and international business curricula within graduate programs. There are several arguments in favor of educating future finance professors, economic diplomats, and investment bankers in the history of economic processes: 

    • First, many practices and relationships long abandoned by developed nations still flourish in developing markets. 

    • Second, many extant laws and attitudes originated in the distant past. 

    • Finally, setting aside concepts such as quantum finance and “financial hydrogen bombs,” we find   that systemic dislocations in the financial markets have analogs in the past, for greed, fear, and gullibility have always been characteristic of our species. 

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Pulp Finance

Wall Street StoriesThe tumultuous life of Wall Street has always fascinated American novelists, often (though not always) emerging from their pens in the form of potboilers, or pulp fiction—thrillers, murder mysteries, or hardboiled noir. And despite the fact that this literary subgenre has been alive and well for more than a century, the depiction of the hero (or antihero) has changed little in that time. In the popular imagination, the analyst or investment banker is rarely harried or cowed, drab or meek. Whether the protagonists of these novels are idealistic crusaders for free markets and fair play, or the scheming, sneering villains of insider deals and underhanded intrigue, they almost always embody American finance as a figure of daring—glamorous, breakneck, and dangerous!

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Artifacts of Finance: Bull and Bear, Wall Street’s Good Luck Icon

Bull and Bear Statue from the NYSE Luncheon Club
There is debate as to the exact origins of the terms “bull” and “bear” markets. But, many agree that the term “bears” first originated in reference to London bearskin brokers who would speculate on the future purchase price of the skins they acquired from trappers. The bulls were likely designated the opponents of the bears due to the popular 19th century blood sport of pitting bears against bulls. It has also been suggested that the metaphor is derived from the manner in which the animals attack, with the bull thrusting its horns up, and the bear swiping its paw down.

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From the Arcives: Benjamin Graham on Being Right in Security Analysis

Ben GrahamBenjamin Graham, the man widely recognized as the father of security analysis, wrote the following article in 1946. Though the market has changed dramatically since then, his approach to judging the success of an analyst’s recommendations remain just as valid today.


The most interesting and important work of the senior ana­lyst leads up to and includes the recommendation that one or more common stocks be purchased. How can we tell whether such a recommendation has been right or wrong?

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The Bank Panic of October 1907—A Spectator's View

Bank Panic 1907, Harpers This is a story not an analysis: the “what happened” of this event is well-known. Several studies have focused on the economy, the money supply and systemic faults in the banking system, and the bank events have been well discussed. Behind them there was the stock market and the behavior of stock speculators in the month of October. This story explains more about the “why” of this event; it is the story of Charles W. Morse and his friend, Fritz Heinze.

To give some background on Morse and Heinze, we need to go back to 1900. A short man with penetrating blue eyes, Morse combined many ice companies to create the American Ice Company, which monopolized the natural ice business in New York (estimated to be two million pounds a year). Morse doubled the price of ice on May 1, during an early warm spell, and suddenly everyone in New York knew Charles W. Morse, including William Randolph Hearst and Governor Theodore Roosevelt. Under pressure in the press and through many law suits, the price was reduced, and in two years Morse was forced out of the company, taking at least $11 million with him.

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Suggestions for Modern Security Analysts

Ben Graham Economics is the social science that most identifies itself with the natural sciences. There is much that can be written about this statement in light of the events that unfolded in the 2007–2008 credit crisis, but this article focuses on the consequences pertaining to the field of Security Analysis, which is an economics-based discipline.

Security Analysis seeks to value firms based on the goods and services sold to customers via the assets (tangible and intangible) and obligations (liabilities) generated to support those sales. Despite the simplicity of this exposition, and the related simplicity of cash flow-based valuation, assessing value can be extremely difficult. The difficulty stems from the well-known fact that value is subjective, and from the equally well-known fact that the future is uncertain. Subjectivity and uncertainty means that Security Analysis requires many working assumptions, which is important because modern economics is currently grounded in mathematics that accommodates only a limited number of assumptions. As a purely theoretical, science-like endeavor this may (or may not) work, but Security Analysis is a profession, and professions are concerned with decision-making in contrast to science, which is concerned with prediction.

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Artifacts of Finance: Alexander Hamilton’s Society of the Cincinnati Badge

Hamilton's Society of the Cincinnati BadgeAlexander Hamilton is known for helping to create the US Mint and the first national bank—but he is also the founding father of our national debt, which, according to John Steele Gordon, eventually led to the creation of capital markets. Hamilton butted heads with Thomas Jefferson over the assumption of national debt—among many other issues—and revisiting these early debates seems apropos in light of recent politics.

The badge above, awarded to Hamilton by the Society of the Cincinnati and passed down through the generations to his descendants, is currently on display at the Museum of American Finance as part of the “Alexander Hamilton: Lineage and Legacy” exhibit (through July 12, 2011). According to guest curator Dr. Richard Sylla, “Hamilton’s principal goals—US independence, a stronger government and economic modernization—are also his legacy. The exhibit shows that Hamilton, the subject of many stiff portraits and cold statues, was really quite a passionate soldier, statesman and financier.” 


Artifacts of Finance: Puck Lampoons Jay Gould

Jay Gould cartoon
This 1882 cover of Puck lampoons Jay Gould, a leading railroad developer of the times. Labeled the “Robber Baron” by the press, Gould considered himself the most hated man in late-19th-century America. He was often vilified as a reckless speculator and brutal strikebreaker. Although he sought to create intricate railroad and communication systems in New York City, his hand in bribery and stock manipulation overshadowed his contribution to the development of American industry.

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Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained: The Rise of Canada’s Unique Capital Market for Start-Ups

Toronto Stock ExchangeMany people know of the historic dinner where bitter foes Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson, moderated by James Madison, hashed out a compromise that put the United States on a sound economic footing over many bottles of claret: federal assumption of the states’ Revolutionary War debts in exchange for a new capital to be built in the South. Although it was not quite so momentous, a similar evening of earnest discussion and good wine enabled the various regional stock exchanges in Canada to combine to form what is today the Venture Exchange. While that institution is formally only 12 years old, its predecessor exchanges trace their heritage back more than a century.

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