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This Day In Market History: NYSE Began Selling Seats On The Floor

This Day In Market History: NYSE Began Selling Seats On The Floor

Each day, Benzinga takes a look back at a notable market-related moment that happened on this date.

What Happened: On Oct. 23, 1868, the New York Stock Exchange put 1,060 seats up for sale to limit access to the trading floor.

What Else Was Going On In The World: The U.S. had adopted the 14th Amendment guaranteeing full citizenship to African Americans and due process to all people. Thomas Edison was about to apply for his first patent.

Seats Go Up For Sale: In the early days of the New York Stock Exchange, new members could buy access to the trading floor’s unlimited seats by appealing to the board. In 1868, access became property. People gained membership by, among other things, buying “seats” on the floor, and ownership became transferable.

Space was limited. The NYSE offered just 1,060 seats in 1868 and eventually added 306 more. Seat prices generally fluctuated with supply and demand, reflecting the strength of the economy. One seat cost about $4,000 in the 1800s and rose to about $3.575 million in 2005.

By the 1970s, the NYSE changed its policy to allow members to lease their seats, rather than sell them, to non-member brokers. The practice of selling and occupying seats ceased in 2006 when the NYSE became a public, for-profit company. Now, floor access is purchased through one-year licenses.

Related Links:

Brokers Begin Trading Their Own Shares On NYSE

NYSE Launches After-Hours Trading


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