Monday, June 25, 2012

Where is Kuhn, Loeb?

During the late 1800s and early 1900s, one of the largest and most significant New York banking houses was Kuhn, Loeb & Company.  While J. Pierpont Morgan with his self-named firm was certainly preeminent, Jacob Schiff with the firm Kuhn, Loeb emerged as a major player and frequent competitor to Mr. Morgan.

Mr. Schiff and his partners in Kuhn, Loeb did a huge volume of business through private deals and European exchanges, but their home exchange was the New York Stock Exchange.  Schiff and Kuhn, Loeb became the banker and backer of E. H. "Ned" Harriman, the railroader, through a partnership to take over and reorganize the Union Pacific Railroad, part of a process that would make Harriman one of the greatest railroad men in the United States.  This UP takeover was completed in late 1897, before the 1898 war taxes were imposed. 

J. P. Morgan was allied with the great Minnesota-based railroader James J. Hill, the builder of the Great Northern Railway and acquirer of the Northern Pacific.   Hill became a buyer of Chicago, Burlington & Quincy RR stock in early 1901, in an aim to acquire the property for his Northern Pacific and Great Northern Railroads.  It turned out that Harriman was also interested in the CB&Q.  When Schiff informed Harriman that Hill was acquiring the CB&Q, Harriman vowed revenge.

What Harriman decided to do, with Schiff backing, was to try to seize the Northern Pacific out from under Hill and Morgan.  The result was a market bubble and crash built on Northern Pacific stock which saw NP shares rocket over 1000%, climaxing due to a stock corner by Rockefeller backed interests.  100s of thousands of shares changed hands on both sides of the Atlantic.

Never mind normal activity of the firm Kuhn, Loeb, but with an event as large as the accumulation of enough NP shares to attempt a takeover for Harriman from Hill, an enormous volume of revenue stamps had to be used by the firm.  Yet as far as I can tell, despite more than 100 cancels featured on this site by NYSE-based stock brokers, none has appeared by Kuhn, Loeb, and that is because neither David Thompson or I have one to post. 

I have dozens of J. P. Morgan & Co. cancel examples, and many from the large and active traders on Wall Street.  But not a one from Kuhn, Loeb.  So, if you have an example of a Kuhn, Loeb cancel of any type, please scan and send the file, or simply write to

Schiff partner in Kuhn, Loeb, Abraham Wolff, held a seat on the NYSE.  Schiff did not have his own seat.

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