The Market for Equity Options in the 1870s

  • Published: Apr 18, 2012
  • Pages: 1707-1723
  • DOI: 10.1111/j.1540-6261.1997.tb01128.x


The introduction of exchange‐traded options in 1973 led to explosive growth in the stock options market, but put and call options on equity securities have existed for more than a century. Prior to the listing of option contracts, trading was conducted in an order‐driven over‐the‐counter market. From 1873 to 1875, quotes for options contracts were published weekly in The Commercial and Financial Chronicle during a period that saw extensive marketing efforts by a number of brokerage firms. In this article we examine these quotes to determine why this seemingly sophisticated market existed for only a brief period in financial history.

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