Trader Talk

This single-paged document started the New York Stock Exchange 225 years ago

NYSE celebrates its 225th anniversary
NYSE celebrates its 225th anniversary

On May 17, 1792, 24 brokers met under a buttonwood tree on Wall Street to sign an agreement to set a commission rate charged to clients and require the signers to give preference to each other in securities sales, which were mostly Revolutionary War bonds and stock from the First Bank of the United States.

That "Buttonwood Agreement" was the foundation for the New York Stock Exchange and one of the most important financial documents in U.S. history.

Take a tour with me and NYSE President Tom Farley as he shows us the Buttonwood Agreement and other rarities from the NYSE archives — the original trading clock, the Faberge urn from Czar Nicholas II in 1904 to commemorate the NYSE's listing of $2 billion in Russian bonds, letters from Thomas Edison detailing an "improved" stock ticker machine, a letter from the Bell Telephone Co. in 1878 asking if the NYSE would like to install telephones on the floor (they did) and an original "seat" that entitled the owner to trade stocks on the floor.

The New York Stock Exchange meeting under Buttonwood Tree on Wall St: Leonard Bleeker, Andrew Barclay, Charles McEvers, Augustine Lawrence, David Reedy. Painting, 1792.
Bettman Collection | Getty Images