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Origins of Value

Origins of Value Virtual Field Trip

 Interested in financial history and looking for something fun to do this summer? Take a virtual field trip and visit our Origins of Value online visual database!

Origins of Value Virtual Field Trip
Items on display in Edward P. Evans Hall from the
Origins of Value collection.

Explore the Yale ICF’s endless collection of historical bonds, securities, financial instruments, and documents related to the history of financial markets across the globe. Most of the items date between the 18-20th centuries with the exception of a few items dating as far back as 14th century China. All images are in high resolution and you can zoom in to view text and details.

The goal of this collection is to identify securities that represent important innovations in financial markets. Many of the pieces in the exhibit represent a new method of raising capital, or a special event or period in capital market history. While interesting historically, the stories they tell are never-the-less pertinent to the global markets of today. Each piece in the collection is, in effect, a contract between a company or country and an investor. The design of these contracts were in some cases remarkably creative and some of the securities had a lasting impact — not only on world finance, but on global politics.


Every Friday the Yale ICF highlights an item from the collection on Twitter. Follow us (@YaleICF) and look for the hashtag: #ICF_FinancialHistoryFriday.


Click here to visit the Origins of Value virtual museum. You can browse a number of topics featuring, but not limited to:

The South Sea Bubble of 1720

Pictured: The Ladies Shirley Stock in the South Sea Company Transferred between sisters. Find out more.
Ladies Shirley
Alexander Hamilton

Pictured: Alexander Hamilton Letter discussing the national debt, 1790. Find out more.
Alexander Hamilton

Pictured: Debito Pubblico Del Regno DItalia, Italian public debt, 1861. Find out more.
Italian Public Debt

Pictured: Peruvian Government Loan, 1834. Find out more.
Peruvian Government Loan, 1834

Pictured: United States Lottery ticket, 1776. Find out more.

Pictured: Ming baochao papery currency issued 1375. Find out more.