I noticed an article in The Economist the other day reviewing a collection of trading books and publications that’s on the market for $738,000.
It’s a 700 volume collection compiled by Christopher Dennistoun, a British antiquarian book dealer and part-time stock trader. Dennistoun spent 30 years collecting works about the history of the stock market and trading.
Naturally Jesse Livermore’s career occupies part of Dennistoun’s huge compilation, as does the career of Livermore’s lesser-known rival – Arthur Cutten. Cutten, although lesser-known than Livermore, was not a lesser trader. In 1925 Cutten was believed to have taken as much as $15m profit from trading wheat and he was undoubtedly America’s most important commodities trader during the 1920s.
The Economist comments that Cutten’s biography “The Story of a Speculator”, which he had privately printed in 1936, has to be the world’s driest attempt at autobiography. “I like to make money,” Cutten begins. “I have made it because I like to make it.”
When, like Livermore, Cutten was criticized for making a living through speculation. Cutten responded:
“Who other than the speculators are going to assume the necessary risks of commerce which cannot and should not be borne entirely by the merchants? Do not tell yourselves that we can dispense with these risks. They are part of existence on earth.”
Despite his being a contemporary of Livermore, Cutten is not mentioned in Reminiscences of a Stock Operator. He did, however, make the front cover of Time Magazine – as shown above. Here’s an article about Cutten printed by Time in 1932.