Spotlight on History

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Scripophily is the study and collection of stock and bond certificates. The Dutch East India Company issued one of the oldest known stock certificates, dating from 1606. (Can insert this free wiki image into the text: ). The company, which was founded four years earlier in 1602, was the first multinational corporation in the world, and its foundation is considered the beginning of global stock trading. 

Tulip Mania Very early in the evolution of the Amsterdam stock exchange, the price of tulip bulbs skyrocketed -- one bulb of the highly coveted "Viceroy" tulip  could sell for up to 4,200 florins (approximately €40,000 today). The Tulip Market collapsed in February of 1637, wiping out the nascent fortunes of many bulb-holders.

Confusion de Confusiones, published in 1688, is the first known book about the exchange in Amsterdam. It was written by Joseph de la Vega, a Portuguese Jewish trader and intellectual. It is still read by students of the market, not only for its value as a historical document, but because the basic rules of the market it describes still hold in today's global exchange.

The Bank of New York, traded under the Buttonwood Tree, became the first company to list on the NYSE in 1792.

Napoleonic law established the Brussels Stock Exchange in 1801.

In 1824 Con Edison, known then as New York Gas Light Company, listed on the Exchange. Today it is the longest continuously listed stock on the NYSE.

Following the assassination of Abraham Lincoln in 1865, the Exchange closed for more than a week.

Edward A. Calahan invented the first stock ticker in 1867. It enabled quotes for stocks, bonds, and commodities to be transmitted directly from exchange floors to brokers and investors across the country. (Prior to the stock ticker, messengers ran price updates from exchange floors to brokers’ offices.) The NYSE was one of the first organizations to use the ticker.

Bells were introduced with the institution of continuous trading in the 1870s. A Chinese gong was initially used but was replaced by brass bells in 1903.

In 1896 the Dow Jones Industrial Average was published by Wall Street Journal for the first time. Its initial value was 40.74.

In 1943 women for the first time were allowed to work on the Exchange floor. In 1967 Muriel Siebert becomes the first woman to own a seat on the Exchange, the same year that women were first allowed entrance to the Paris Bourse.

In 1955 the Dow surpassed its 1929 peak of 381.17 for the first time.

In 1974 security transactions were suspended by Portugal's new revolutionary democratic government until January 1976.

Until the late 1980s, the Paris Bourse operated as an Open Outcry exchange, which involved shouting and the use of hand signals to transfer information about buy and sell orders.

2008 NYSE Euronext acquired the American Stock Exchange, becoming the third-largest U.S. options marketplace.