Welcome to the Yale Collection of Historical Securities, a collaborative project of the International Center for Finance (ICF) and the Beinecke Library. Each document in the collection is, in effect, a contract between a company or country and an investor. These securities represent important innovations in financial markets that are linked to new methods of raising capital and special events or periods in the history of capital markets.
In 2005, the history of financial instruments was documented for the first time in an award-winning book named The Origins of Value: The Financial Innovations that Created Modern Capital Markets. Edited by ICF Fellows William N. Goetzmann and K. Geert Rouwenhorst, this book traces the evolution of finance through 4,000 years of history, from the invention of interest in Mesopotamia and the origin of paper money in China to the creation of mutual funds, inflation-indexed bonds, and global financial securities. Click on the image to the left to visit a virtual museum that provides a glimpse into the many artifacts of financial history portrayed in the book.