Longwood Valley Railroad Co. Issued to and Signed by George F. Baker - Stock CertificateInv# AG2545 Stock
Stock issued to George F. Baker and signed on back by Geo. J. Baker. Very Rare!
George Fisher Baker (March 27, 1840 – May 2, 1931) was an American financier and philanthropist. Known as the "Dean of American Banking," Baker was known for his silence in public. He made a huge fortune after the Civil War in railroads and banking, and at his death he was estimated to be the third richest man in the United States, after Henry Ford and John D. Rockefeller.
Baker was born in Troy, New York, to Eveline Stevens Baker and George Ellis Baker, a shoe-store owner who was elected in 1850 on the Whig ticket to the New York State Assembly. At 14, young George entered S.S. Seward Institute in Florida, New York, where he studied geography, bookkeeping, history, and algebra. At 16, he was hired as the junior clerk in the New York State Banking Department.
In 1863, Baker, along with his mentor, John Thompson, and Thompson's sons Frederick Ferris Thompson and Samuel C. Thompson, co-founded the First National Bank of the City of New York. The first national bank to be chartered in New York City under the National Currency Act of 1863, it became a forerunner of today's Citibank N.A.
At age 37, Baker became First National's President on September 1, 1877. His 20,000 shares were worth about $20 million ($480,187,500 today). He retired as president in 1909, and became chairman of the board. He was succeeded in the presidency by Francis L. Hine, the former Vice President of the bank.
An avid investor, he held interests in many corporations and was the largest stockholder in the Central Railroad of New Jersey. In addition, he was a director in 22 corporations, which with their subsidiaries had aggregate resources of $7.27 billion. Owning $5,965,000 (equivalent to around $83,245,000 in 2017 dollars) of U.S. Steel stock in the early 1920s, Baker was also the largest individual owner of U.S. Steel stock, according to a May 4, 1924 Time magazine article.
A stock certificate is issued by businesses, usually companies. A stock is part of the permanent finance of a business. Normally, they are never repaid, and the investor can recover his/her money only by selling to another investor. Most stocks, or also called shares, earn dividends, at the business's discretion, depending on how well it has traded. A stockholder or shareholder is a part-owner of the business that issued the stock certificates.