Item #010235 1868 – Stock Certificate issued by the Merchants Union Express Company immediately before it merged with a crippled American Express Company after two years of cutthroat competition. A. P. Ross, J N. Knapp.
1868 – Stock Certificate issued by the Merchants Union Express Company immediately before it merged with a crippled American Express Company after two years of cutthroat competition

1868 – Stock Certificate issued by the Merchants Union Express Company immediately before it merged with a crippled American Express Company after two years of cutthroat competition

New York: 1868. Unbound. This certificate for ten shares of stock in the Merchants Union Express Company, measuring approximately 11½” x 8¾”, was issued to Ketchum Clark of New York on October 16, 1868. It is signed by ''J.N. Knapp'' as Secretary and ''A. P. Ross'' as President. It features a classic central vignette showing an express wagon full of freight being pulled by four racing horses with freight train, ship, and factory in the background. It is franked with a pen-canceled 25-cent Washington revenue stamp (Scott #R44). In nice shape with some wear at the corners.

The American Express Company was formed in 1850 with the consolidation of three companies that transported goods, valuables, and specie between New York City, Buffalo, and cities in the Midwest: the Livingston Fargo and Company, Wells & Company, and Butterfield & Watson. Wells served as president and Fargo as secretary.

By the end of the Civil War, although American Express had prospered and grown to 900 offices in ten states, Knapp and Ross saw that it was also bloated and overextended. They formed the Merchants Union Express Company in 1867, immediately invaded American Express territory and began to pickoff its employees and staff. They also launched a cutthroat fight-to-the-death price war and rapidly captured a devastating amount of American Express’s customers. Although forced to spend almost all of their capital, the strategy was successful, and Merchant’s Union forced the financially exhausted American Express into a merger. On November 25, 1868, the two firms combined to form the American Merchants Union Express Company. Although Wells was named president, Ross and Knapp held the new company’s Secretary and Treasurer positions. Five years later, the company rechristened itself, changing its name back to the better known American Express Company.

This certificate was issued just a little over one month before the companies merged.

. Very good. Item #010235

(For more information, see “Merchants Union Express Co.” at scripophily.com and “American Express Company” at the online Encyclopedia Britannica.)

Pre-merger Merchants Union certificates occasionally are listed at ebay and other online scripophily venues.

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Price: $400.00

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