32¢ Stock Market Crash
Celebrate the Century – 1920s
Issue Date: May 28, 1998
City: Washington, DC
Printed By: Ashton-Potter (USA) Ltd
Printing Method: Lithographed
The early 1920s was a time of great economic prosperity for America. Industry was booming, and Americans wanted to be a part of this economic surge. To accomplish this, they bought common stock on the open market, often borrowing money to do so. The average cost of each share more than doubled between 1925 and 1929, and market speculation increased. People purchased stock in hope of future price increases.
The first clue that the market was overloaded came on October 24, 1929, now known as Black Thursday. Prices began to enter a slump, and investors became suspicious of a panic. Prices held Friday and Saturday, but fell again Monday. On Tuesday, October 29th, the day of the stock market crash, more than 16 million shares changed hands. Investors sold stock at far less than they had paid. Some witnesses said that shares may have even been given away.
It was almost impossible to add up all the losses, as stunned brokers watched stock prices plummet. In fact, stocks were traded so fast that by the time the final bell sounded at three o’clock, the ticker was four hours behind. By the end of the day, trading had stabilized, but not in time to save billions of dollars. Stock values continued to fall steadily for the next three years.