Friday, March 8, 2013
On March 8, 1817, a group of New York stockbrokers drafted a constitution and called themselves the "New York Stock & Exchange Board." The name became the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in 1863. The group originated with the Buttonwood Agreement, signed in May 1792 by 24 stockbrokers outside of 68 Wall Street under a buttonwood tree (aka American sycamore). Major transactions were speculation in Revolutionary War bonds and First Bank of the United States stock. Under the pact, the brokers would deal only with each other, thereby eliminating manipulative auctioneers, and commissions would be 0.25%. In 1793, the brokers built the Tontine Coffee House on Wall Street, which became a tumultuous meeting place for trading, gambling, political activities and occasional violence. For many decades the exchange was located at 10-12 Broad Street, and then moved to its current neoclassical building at 18 Broad in 1903.