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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