Thursday, December 10, 2009

Best commodites trading art ever!

Below I present the single greatest piece of commodities trading art that ever has or ever will exist:
"Me play the stock market? Hell no, brother, I make my money trading commodities."

The art was created by Alfred Marshall and is believed to date from 1969 or the early 1970s.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Trading pit photos

I've received a few requests on where to get some good trading pit photos and one suggestion, for CBOT and CME trading pit photos is through Barnes Photo Ltd. and here is a link to his galleries although you have to look through them to find the trading floor ones. Click Here

Of his galleries, my particular favorite is of the eurodollar pit as it was the largest trading pit ever and it's where I traded. Click Here to view

In full disclosure, I do not know the photographer and am just pointing it out to help requests. The prices are much more reasonable than to buy photos from other sources like Getty Images.

Monday, November 2, 2009

More trading floor buttons

Here is another grouping of buttons from the CBOT trading floor that were passed out in the 1980s to celebrate contract launches, trading floor opening or protest legislation as the first one is a bit humorous.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

CME video

I just found this funny because it reminded me of all the people on the floor goofing off. There were always laughs to be had. This video is one guy clowning around the S&P pit as the interest rate bells signal the close.

CBOT floor photo, undated and likely from 1940s or 50s

CBOT member tickets 1858-1895

The following collection of CBOT memberships is from a 1884 yearbook published by the brokerage firm Clapp & Company. It is noted that "Tickets of 1858 to 1871, inclusive, were in my safe during the Chicago fire of October 8th and 9th, 1871, therefore discolored. O.W. Clapp" As usual, you must click on the picture to see detail.

New York Cocoa Exchange

This patch of the New York Cocoa Exchange logo is probably from the 1940s or 50s. I obtained a large amount of memorabilia from that era but this is the only thing trading floor related.

CBOT floor map 1931

Pictured below is the floor plan of the Chicago Board of Trade from 1930, a year after it was built. If you click on the pictures, they enlarge to where they can be read better.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Monday, September 14, 2009

CBOT Aurora electronic trading system

Here is a screen shot of what the Aurora trading system that the CBOT developed in about 1989 looked like. It was supposed to look like the pit in a way.

Electronic Exchanges The Global Transformation from Pits to Bits

Electronic Exchanges: The Global Transformation from Pits to Bits is a new book that is certainly the most comprehensive description on how and why trading migrated to electronic markets from the open outcry trading pit. Although it might appear as an academic work, it's very easy to read and a nice historical review of how the exchanges and marketplace has gotten to their current state. The two authors are highly qualified on the topic and the book is an essential addition to anyone who is interested in financial history. The cover photo looks to be of the SIMEX trading pit in Singapore.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Leo Melamed new book For Crying Out Loud

Leo Melamed put out a new book, For Crying Out Loud, which reflects upon the past years since his 1996 book Escape to the Futures. It's a good supplement to catch up on his experiences as the Merc shifted strategies, personnel, and became the global leader in futures trading. What I was disappointed about is that only 109 pages is 'new' material while the remaining 225 pages are filled w/his speeches and notes of the past 13 years. The book isn't a must read for the average enthusiast but for recommended for those who want a detailed history of the CME.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Rogue Trader movie trailer

Although it's a decent story, the way the actors behave on the trading floor is absolutely ridiculous and it's as if they never consulted anyone who ever worked on one. Regardless, here is the movie trailer for Rogue Trader. A better way to understand what Nick Leeson did would be to read his book also titled Rogue Trader. Leeson's trading jacket was bought for 21,000 British pounds by a British guy who runs a state investment fund for Qatar in 2007.

CBOT artillery battery

I know this isn't trading pit related but the CBOT can claim to be the only exchange that's raised a standing army. During the Civil War, the CBOT answered President Lincoln's call for troops by raising an artillery unit of 156 Illinois volunteers and kicked in $15,000 to fund them. The flag of the Chicago Board of Trade Battery is shown above.

Further reading on the Chicago Board of Trade Battery can be found by clicking here.

Monday, August 24, 2009

1997 Cigar Aficionado article on CBOT traders and cigars

Hedging Stress

Cigars Ease the Tension for the Big Dogs on Chicago's Futures Exchanges

Fun and lengthy article if you click on above link from December 1997 Cigar Aficionado magazine that profiles a handful of CBOT traders, most notably Tom Baldwin, and their love of cigars along w/a profile of cigar shops surrounding the exchange. I have a copy of the magazine and it's also amazing how extensive the cigar boom was in the late 90s as that issue is 587 pages!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

KCBT trading pit photo

The background of KCBT's twitter page has a good trading pit photo that I thought was worth linking. I'd estimate that 95% of the people in the photo were trading there when I was a clerk back in 1998/99, now of course the only difference is the computers that come into the pit. Click on the photo to enlarge it for more detail.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

1942 CBOT members ticket

1942 was a special year at the CBOT and I'm grateful to add this piece to my collection for the simple reason that memberships were at the lowest price ever. CBOT memberships traded as low as $25 in 1942 as World War 2 resulted in a large amount of trading restrictions and price fixing by the government. It got so bad that I have read reports that some people tried to give memberships away just so they wouldn't have to continue to pay dues but not suprisingly, the potential recipient declined as they didn't want to be on the hook for dues. To give you a perspective on how far the price fell, memberships traded at a low of $800 in 1900 and as high as $62,000 in 1929. All figures are unadjusted for inflation.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Day One Trader - John Sussex

One of the finest books ever written on open outcry futures trading is being released in the US as of September 2009 and I highly recommend anyone with an interest in financial history, particularly the evolution of futures trading, to buy a copy of Day One Trader by John Sussex. It is very well written and certainly the finest trading floor book since Charlie D. was published in 1997. The book recounts the experience of one pit trader who was on the LIFFE floor beginning on the first day in 1982 and continues to the present, most interestingly with the indepth story of the transition from the trading pit to electronic trading, which Sussex participated in as a LIFFE director and owner of a dominant floor brokerage.

In the below video, some vintage footage of the LIFFE trading floor is shown as Sussex discusses the book.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Trading floor buttons

It has been a tradition to pass out buttons as floor staff went from the turnstile to the trading floor entrance inorder to commemorate milestones and contract launches at both the CME and CBOT. Here are some listed in no particular order. There are more I'll take photos of later....

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