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Discussion Starter · #1 ·

J. P. Morgan as Cutthroat Capitalist
In 1903, photographer Edward Steichen portrayed the American tycoon in an especially ruthless light

“No price is too great,” John Pierpont Morgan once declared, “for a work of unquestioned beauty and known authenticity.” Indeed, the financier spent half his fortune on art: Chinese porcelains, Byzantine reliquaries, Renaissance bronzes. His London house was so decked out a critic said it resembled “a pawnbrokers’ shop for Croesuses.” Morgan also commissioned a number of portraits of himself—but he was too restless and busy making money to sit still while they were painted.

Which was why, in 1903, the painter Fedor Encke hired a young photographer named Edward Steichen to take Morgan’s picture as a kind of cheat sheet for a portrait Encke was trying to finish.

The sitting lasted just three minutes, during which Stei-chen took only two photographs. But one of them would define Morgan forever.

In January 1903, Morgan, 65, was at the height of his power, a steel, railroad and electrical-power mogul influential enough to direct huge segments of the American economy. (Four years later he would almost single-handedly quell a financial panic.) Steichen, 23, an immigrant with an eighth-grade education, was working furiously to establish a place in fine-art photography, which was itself struggling to be taken seriously.

Steichen prepared for the shoot by having a janitor sit in for the magnate while he perfected the lighting. Morgan entered, put down his cigar and assumed an accustomed pose. Steichen snapped one picture, then asked Morgan to shift his position slightly. This annoyed him. “His expression had sharpened and his body posture became tense,” Steichen recalled in his autobiography, A Life in Photography. “I saw that a dynamic self-assertion had taken place.” He quickly took a second picture.

“Is that all?” Morgan said. It was. “I like you, young man!” He paid the efficient photographer $500 in cash on the spot.

Morgan’s delight faded when he saw the proofs.

The first shot was innocuous. Morgan ordered a dozen copies; Encke used it to complete an oil portrait in which Morgan looks more like Santa Claus than himself.

But the second image became a sensation. Morgan’s expression is forbidding: his mustache forms a frown, and his eyes (which Steichen later compared to the headlights of an express train) blaze out of the shadows. His face, set off by a stiff white collar, seems almost disembodied in the darkness, though his gold watch chain hints at his considerable girth. In this image, Steichen later said, he only slightly touched up Morgan’s nose, which was swollen from a skin disease. Yet Steichen denied having engineered the image’s most arresting aspect: the illusion of a dagger—actually the arm of the chair—in Morgan’s left hand.

Morgan tore up the proof on the spot."

page one of two....

Related story, present day:

Feds probing JPMorgan trades in silver pit

Federal agents have launched parallel criminal and civil probes of JPMorgan Chase and its trading activity in the precious metals market, The Post has learned.

The probes are centering on whether or not JPMorgan, a top derivatives holder in precious metals, acted improperly to depress the price of silver, sources said.

The Commodities Futures Trade Commission is looking into civil charges, and the Department of Justice's Antitrust Division is handling the criminal probe, according to sources, who did not wish to be identified due to the sensitive nature of the information.

The probes are far-ranging, with federal officials looking into JPMorgan's precious metals trades on the London Bullion Market Association's (LBMA) exchange, which is a physical delivery market, and the New York Mercantile Exchange (Nymex) for future paper derivative trades.

JPMorgan increased its silver derivative holdings by $6.76 billion, or about 220 million ounces, during the last three months of 2009, according to the Office of Comptroller of the Currency.

Regulators are pulling trading tickets on JPMorgan's precious metals moves on all the exchanges as part of the probe, sources tell The Post.

JPMorgan has not been charged with any wrongdoing.

The DOJ and CFTC each declined to comment, as did JPMorgan.

The investigations stem from a story in The Post, which reported on a whistleblower questioning JPMorgan's involvement in suppressing the price of silver by "shorting" the precious metal around the release of news announcements that should have sent the price upwards.

It is alleged that in shorting silver, JPMorgan sells large blocks of silver option contracts or physical metal -- actions that would bring down the price of the metal -- closely following news that would otherwise move the metals higher.

Last week, The Post got a telling e-mail the Justice Dept. sent to a concerned investor. "Thank you for your e-mail regarding allegations that JPMorgan Chase, and perhaps other traders, are manipulating the silver futures market," the e-mail read.

Telling, indeed, as the concerned investor, in an e-mail to Justice's Anti-trust division, never mentioned any companies or traders.

Correction: Following the publication of this story, JPMorgan issued a statement: "There is no criminal or civil Department of Justice investigation of J.P. Morgan for its silver trading practices."

NYPOST Comments (25)


05/10/2010 10:38 AM

>>It's good to see this story getting some mainstream press coverage. Scary to think that the same company with these short positions are also responsible for storing physical silver on behalf of funds and investors...<<

Don't forget they (LBMA) were charging their clients storage fees for gold/silver that didn't exist. This is outright fraud. I expect COMEX is doing the same thing. If only 1% of their customers ask to take delivery of gold/silver then the exchange goes bust. This is another Ponzi scheme.


[email protected]

05/10/2010 4:53 AM

If it is proven that some banks have been manipulaing the silver (and gold markets) by shorting the price and having derivatitives in excess of a years supply of metal they should be forced to remedy the loss to the metal producers (mining companies) an amount equal to one years production at todays price.


The Dude

05/10/2010 3:36 AM

go long: the lower ratio that you're referring to was during the period when it was not legal for US citizens to own and trade in gold and the official price was set at $35 an oz. until it was changed by Nixon. But even when the US (and other places) had that official $35 oz set price, gold was s till being traded on world markets and as I recall was $100 oz or so. Allowing gold to be owned by citizens and removing that artificial set price really increased the gov't. value of the gold stocks held at Ft Knox and the other depositories of US gold. Nothing is ever done for the benefit of the citizens and if they do benefit it's more or less a side effect.



05/09/2010 11:01 PM

The subliminal message I'm getting is that this story may have been on the King World News internet site over a week ago.



05/09/2010 11:00 PM

Given the choice between worthless little bits of metal and worthless little bits of paper, I think I'll stick with the worthless paper - at least it's accepted everywhere.



05/09/2010 9:50 PM


Please write to, and contact en masse;
your federal, state, and local representatives; journalists, universities and others,
to keep the pressure on the CFTC, on the SEC, and if necessary bring additional litigation against these financial fraudsters, who continue to mislead, swindle, and who often destroy others by cheating them out of their life savings.

In the end, we as a huge class victimized by these financial sociopaths, may even receive compensatory damages from monies, assets, properties, etc, confiscated from these criminals.

The key here is to remain persistent and LOUD in our quest for long-overdue justice against these financial parasites.



05/09/2010 7:57 PM

What happens when word comes down from the White House to stop the probe? This could be interesting. Give credit to Ted Butler for tirelessly sounding the alarm to all who would listen.


Gary Hart

05/09/2010 7:22 PM

Mr Gray and The New York Post deserve massive credit for exposing this market manipulation. If you type market manipulation into Google you will see a great website that is run by a former syndicate trader called Tom Williams. He could see the manipulation by reading the volume on a chart, his book Master The Markets reveals a lot about what is going on!! Well done New York Post, your website is getting linked to by many sites that are there to expose this racket!!

12,109 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·

Ex- Goldman trader blows whistle on gold & silver price manipulation................for the FED RES!

There is no silver lining to the activities of JPMorgan Chase and HSBC in the precious-metals market here and in London, says a 40-year veteran of the metal pits.

The banks, which do the Federal Reserve's bidding in the metals markets, have long been the government's lead actors in keeping down the prices of gold and silver, according to a former Goldman Sachs trader working at the London Bullion Market Association.

Maguire was scheduled to testify last week before the Commodities Futures Trade Commission, which is looking into the activities of large banks in the metals market, but was knocked off the list at the last moment. So, he went public.

Brokers and traders transact gold futures on the Comex floor of The New York Mercantile Exchange, Thursday, April 6, 2006. Gold prices topped $600 an ounce in Comex trading Thursday. (AP Photo/John Marshall Mantel)
Maguire -- in an exclusive interview with The Post -- explained JPMorgan's role in the metals pits in both London and here, and how they can generate a profit either way the market moves.

"JPMorgan acts as an agent for the Federal Reserve; they act to halt the rise of gold and silver against the US dollar. JPMorgan is insulated from potential losses [on their short positions] by the Fed and/or the US taxpayer," Maguire said.
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