1929: Tremendous Fall in Prices of Stocks Check by Buying by Bankers
In celebrating the 125th anniversary of The Aspen Times, we are printing a story or two from each year the newspaper has existed – 125 historical selections in 125 days. This series is in conjunction with the Aspen Historical Society.Utter collapse of prices regardless of intrinsic values made the first three days of the week the wildest the stock exchanges of the country ever had experienced. Paper profits of many billions were wiped out and many thousands of amateur speculators who had been reveling in “easy money” for months were eliminated completely. The professional bears grimly hammered away and the hysterical public dumped their securities in such a flood that on Tuesday the total of shares sold on the New York Exchange was more than twenty-six million.By Wednesday prices had reached so low a level that the big bankers, insurance companies and individual capitalists began buying heavily, and the immediate result was a recovery and steadying of the market. This buying was given the appearance of benevolence, to a certain extent, but the fact remains that the market did not receive such support until stocks had become a profitable investment.President Hoover, and after him Julius B. Klein, assistant secretary of commerce, gave out statements insisting that the prosperity and the industries of the country were unaffected by the stock collapse and still absolutely sound. Business men generally did not bemoan the great readjustment in the stock markets. For a long time they have been suffering because so many citizens have been using their money in speculation instead of in the purchase of commodities. (Nov. 8)A Happy New Year For You!Four more days and it’s just too bad for Old Nineteen Twenty-nine. But there is no reason why any Aspen feller should feel bad about it, because she didn’t do any more than she had to for our Dear Old Aspen Town.Of course, “we all, youens and me,” got through it without losing much, but our mineral industry sure had tough sledding throughout the year. To be sure the mining operators did the best they could with the capital at hand to do with. However, most of our mining during the past year was on a shoestring basis and the result was that not much showing was made in Aspen’s mining district.The Continental Divide Development company reports that it has around seven million shares out. If that many shares were sold at 10 cents each it would mean $700,000 – and the company has expended not to exceed $150,000 in this district. What became of the rest, if there is or was any rest? We’ll never tell you. We don’t know, do you? (Dec. 27)We Hate to Deny It?The last issue of the Glenwood Post contained a squib stating that Mr. David R. C. Brown had purchased the old Midland iron bridge across Maroon Creek and presented it to Pitkin County.The above coming as a most agreeable surprise to the Times its sleuth was sent out to get additional facts to tell its readers and give Mr. Brown proper credit.The County Commissioners tell us, however, that Mr. Brown was authorized by them to buy the aforesaid iron bridge for the county – the commissioners to draw a warrant up to $500.00 (or thereabouts) in payment of the same upon Mr. Brown concluding the deal. The Times truly regrets that the item in the Glenwood Post was a mistake as the County of Pitkin would certainly appreciate such a gift from Mr. Brown. (Sept. 20)
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