The Bond That Walks Like a Bear

Like the strains of a waltz from old St. Petersburg, the dollar bonds of Czar Nicholas II's Russian Imperial Government have been haunting Wall Street for more than 30 years. At the time of the Czar's execution in 1918 some 75,000 of the bonds, each with a face value of $1,000, were floating around the U.S. One of the first acts of the Soviet government was to repudiate them, and they have never been worth a kopeck since. Yet U.S. speculators have never tired of trading in them and the bonds have kept some market "value"—based on nothing but...

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