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Item/Description: Vintage ca 1931-1969 "Refsnes, Ely, Beck & Co Stocks Est. 1931 Bonds" Phoenix, Arizona Bond House metal (? bronze/? brass/? copper) company letter opener advertising premium giveaway.
Excerpted Online Research Information About the Company & its Founders (attributed to http://www.arizonahistoricalsociety.org): “Joseph E. Refsnes (1897-1991), one of Arizona’s most
prolific and influential securities brokers, was born Nov. 27, 1897 in Anaconda, Montana...
...Refsnes moved in November 1916 to Arizona to work at the Inspiration Copper Mine...
In 1917...friends who worked at the Gila Valley Bank and Trust Company encouraged him to apply for a job typing ledger sheets...He stayed with the bank, took courses through the American Institute of Banking and worked his way up to manager at the Gila Valley branch in Miami, Arizona, where he helped people make investments by purchasing and selling stocks and bonds for them through New York City correspondents and charging a commission. By 1925 he had become branch manager...Refsnes’ success with investments at the Gila Valley Bank
caught the attention of officials at The Valley Bank and Trust Company, which acquired
Gila, and Refsnes was recruited to manage their new securities department in 1926 in
Phoenix. There he met Paul Beck who joined the department as assistant manager and
bank cashier Sims Ely Jr.
By the early 1930s, banking laws were changing in reaction to the Great Depression, and
the bank decided to discontinue its investment division. Refsnes, with the encouragement
of community members and the blessings of The Valley Bank board, acquired the files
and furniture of the department and began J.E. Refsnes & Co. with Beck as a partner. In
October 1931, Ely also became a partner and the firm’s title was changed to Refsnes, Ely,
Beck & Co. The company’s first big jobs were with the Salt River Water Users’
Association and the Central Arizona Light and Power Company. Refsnes and his
business partners traveled all around the state as the company became heavily involved in
public finance issues and handled security transactions, underwrote bonds, bid on new
bond issues and served as financial consultants to numerous municipalities and
government entities throughout Arizona including towns, school districts, and water
districts. The company worked with bonds that built Arizona schools, paved its roads and
constructed its municipal infrastructure including the Arizona State Fair Grounds
The company often worked in partnership with securities firms from other parts of the
country. Some of the other securities companies that Refsnes worked closely with in
syndicates include Pasadena Corporation of Pasadena, California; John Nuveen & Co. of
Chicago; Boettcher & Company of Denver; and Stranahan, Harris & Co. of Chicago. For
legal advice, Refsnes often relied on the legal firm Gust, Rosenfeld, Divelbess, Robinette
& Linton. The Rocky Mountain Bank Note Company of Denver frequently printed the
Refsnes, Ely, Beck & Co. was not only active in consulting work and buying and selling
municipal bonds but worked to innovate municipal financing as well. The company
helped invent advanced refunding bonds and developed the non-callable sinking fund
bond. In 1969, the company merged with Rauscher Pierce Securities Corporation to form
Rauscher Pierce Refsnes, Inc. and became vice chairman of that company’s board.
During his career Refsnes also conducted financial analysis of estates and was the cotrustee
on several large trusts dealing with philanthropic giving and served as the
executor of several estates...”
Age/Period: Vintage - ca 1931-1969 (1930s-1960s)
***The company in its incarnation as referenced on this letter opener, “Refsnes, Ely, Beck & Co.” was founded in 1931. In 1969, the name of the company was changed to “Rauscher Pierce Refsnes, Inc.” following a merger.
Manufacturer/Identification/Markings/Country of Origin: Unknown/Unspecified
Letter opener bears only this promotional advertising wording: “Refsnes, Ely, Beck & Co Stocks Est. 1931 Bonds”:
Material(s)/Format: Metalware (? bronze/? brass/? copper)
Quantity: One (1)
Condition: Excellent, evincing only a modest modicum of tarnish and bowing.