Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Sydney Futures Exchange documentary Bulls and Bears - full length video now available

It was brought to my attention yesterday by an amigo of the blog, M.G., that the full length version of the 1999 era Sydney Futures Exchange based film, Bulls and Bears, is now up on youtube since someone uploaded it a few months ago.  The final minutes are missing of it but the vast majority of the hour long film can finally be seen.  I corresponded w/the producer of it to try to get a copy and have looked for years but have never been able to obtain a full look til now. 

The film spectacularly captures the true essence of a trading floor and how loose it used to be.  What makes me nostalgic isn't necessarily the floor but the market volatility which the film captures!  In the next few days I'll post an over-analysis of what I saw in the film.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Charlie D speech *now with enhanced audio*

It was 23 years ago this week that Charlie DiFrancesca ("Charlie D") passed away, but when someone does something great, their legacy lives on in many different ways forever.  His obituary at the Chicago Tribune is a great intro for those not aware of the high regard he was held in by fellow traders at the time and I highly suggest the book Charlie D. The Story of the Legendary Bond Trader by William Falloon for a more in depth look at his life.

The two hour video has been up on youtube since 2009 when I obtained it, after years of focused effort, but the audio has been low and due to youtube upload limits back then, I had to break it into a dozen clips.  It was a big hassle to get it uploaded in the first place that I never circled back around to have the audio enhanced but now I'm happy that the above video is shown in it's entirety and also with enhanced audio.  As a bonus, the speech can now also be heard via mp3 on soundcloud either via the embed below, on the free soundcloud mobile app, and directly at the link  It was frustrating to get it all done that I sought out a freelance guy to do it and he did an excellent job on it all. 

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Front page of the FT during first days of 1995 Barings collapse

click photo to enlarge

Pictured above is the front pages of the FT on Monday February 27, 1995 and Tuesday February 28, 1995 as news broke of the Barings collapse.  You'll need to definitely click on the photo for this one to properly read the headlines.  It's quite interesting to read, w/proper hindsight after the facts have been established, of a news story as it developed and the wide ranging confusion at the time. 

There are many places to buy copies of old newspapers but I purchased mine at to obtain these and they probably have more if others are interested. 

To really bring the story full circle, BBC radio did a reunion a few years ago between Nick and his former colleagues at Barings.  You can listen to the radio program (45 minutes) by clicking here.

1877-1882 CBOT members tickets

click on photos to enlarge

Above are CBOT members tickets dating from 1877, 1878, 1879, 1880 and 1882.  I cannot find any historical reference to the particular person whom these memberships belonged to so my assumption is he was a regional merchant most likely. 

For those with an interest regarding the early history of the CBOT, I suggest reading the research which Mark Geiger has been embarking upon such as this paper: Social Networks on the Exchange Floor

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Video of last day in old CBOT bond room

Above is a great 14 minute clip of candid footage on the last day of the old CBOT bond room which closed in 1997 and was subsequently turned into the MidAm trading floor, but is currently occupied by the offices of Peak6.  Clearly it was some seriously tight quarters at the old bond room before moving to the far more spacious new bond room! 

Evidently part of this video, in addition to some other footage shot by the same guy, will be turned into a movie entitled The Floor.   While I'm a huge fan of original content that captures the history of the trading pits, I do get the feel by watching the trailer of The Floor that it'll be overly sensationalist and as we've seen in other floor related documentaries, that mostly reflects bad upon the messenger.  Not trying to prejudge, but it'll certainly be met w/a collective groan by the all locals I still keep in contact with.

Cotton trading, 60 years apart

Two clips of the NY cotton pit w/the first being the recently released clip from British Pathe of the New York Cotton Exchange around 1929 (although the video is dated 1921).  I can't tell if the footage was embellished and staged but lean towards that opinion because it appears that way to me atleast.

The second video is of the NY cotton pit at the World Trade Center in the 1980s and not much to juxtapose against the clip from half a century earlier.

One of the most interesting photos I've seen regarding any type of trading is the one below of the Galveston Cotton Exchange in 1884 where spittoons were provided at regular intervals around the trading ring.  Click on the photo to enlarge it

photo credit:

Monday, May 12, 2014

Transition to amazon complete

Just a quick note that the book Trading Pit Hand Signals is now available only from amazon and click here for that link.  Forthcoming are additional book notes which I'll post up once a first draft is ready into Google Docs and also a source listing of every hand signal in the book.  A short promo vid was shot in January in homage to a track from my favorite Ice-T album (!?!?!?!?) but the footage has yet to be edited into a short clip, hopefully within the next couple weeks I can get on a caffeine binge to make it happen.  Too many other side projects going on so this space has been pretty boring lately, sorry about that. 
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