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The Record and Guide.
THE RECORD AND GUIDE,
Published every Saturday.
191 Broad^Ty^a-v, N". 'ST.
Onr Teleplione Call Is.....JOMN 370.
YEAR, in adTance, Sll DOLLARS.
Oommunications should be addressed to
C. W. SWEET, 191 Broadway.
J. T. LDTOSET, Business Manager.
Vol. XXXVIII. DECEMBER 11, 1886.
A volume ivhich should be in the hands of every builder, con¬
tractor, architect, and owner and dealer in real estate, is now
ready and can be procured at the offlce of The Record and
Guide. It is a new edition of the law relating to buildings in
the City of New York, with added matter, marginal notes and
colored engravings to illustrate the subject. It contains the law
limiting the height of dwelling-houses, also the existing Mechanics'
Lien Law. This loork is edited by 'William J. Fryer, Jr., whose
original and well-thought-out comments give it a special value.
The volume tvill also contain a complete directoi'y of architects
in New YorJc, Brooklyn, Jersey Gity, Neivark and Yonkers. The
book is handsomely bound in cloth, and is sold at the low price of
seventy-five cents, by mail eighty-five cents.
There seems to be a halt in the speculative markets such as all
sound business men have expected towards the close of the year.
There has been a break in petroleum and stocks are depressed.
Speculation may pause for a few weeks, but it will break oufc afresh
in all probability early in the coming year. The silver inflation is
yet to be heard from. The new ones, twos, fives and tens of the silver
certificates are yet to make their appearance in all the channels of
trade. When they do ifc will stimulate transactions in every possible
way and will give a " fillip" to prices of all kinds. We are on the
eve of a gigantic speculation in everything, and the sitting Congress
will add fuel to the flames by large appropriations and fiscal
legislation in the interest of those who wish to profifc by higher
The national banks see very clearly that neither Congress nor the
country is willing that they should have a monopoly of the paper
money of the country. None of the plans so far offered furnishing
a new basis for national bank issues will be indorsed by Congress.
But there is, we understand, a scheme on foot which is in the nature
of a compromise between the national banks and the silver men.
Certain representatives of the former in this city have a bill prepared
pledging the banks to recognize the silver currency, admitting it to
the Clearing House and issuing their own obligations on the deposit
of silver in their vaults. There is a hint of this plan in Secretary
Manning's reporfc, in which he says very truly that no more perfect
currency can be conceived than a paper note or certificate repre¬
senting a fall gold or silver dollar. Ifc is hardly likely, however,
that the silver representatives in Congress will make any alliance
with the national banks which does not recognize the full legal
tender quality of silver as of gold. As the Financial Chronicle of
this city well puts it:
Any reasonable person looking at fchis nsw frenzy in the London bullion
markefc cannot fail fco accept ifc as simply anofcher very forcible illusfcrafcion
of whafc a mere football silver has become. Ifc has no real value and can
have none until the commercial nations oE fche world reinstate ifc as
currency. They have arbitrarily taken away ifcs uses, and there is no more
reason why it should sfcand afc 47d. than afc 37d., except in prospecfc of some
resfcorafcive acfcion on fche parfc of the Royal Commission so recenfcly
appoinfced in Greafc Britain. If that source of relief fails, silver has no
future other than for mtinafacfcuring purposes. It is said fchat fche late rise
in the quotation and the signs o£ recovery in business in Europe have
lessened the chance of a favorable issue of the Commission's work, having
encouraged the feeling thafc drifting may be fche besfc policy after all.
Hence any scheme to make more use of silver will nofc do ; the
whifce mefcal muafc be joined with gold in measuring values.
The Record and Guide, while earnestly in favor of interna¬
tional bimetallism, is utterly opposed to the policy of substituting
paper for the precious metals in the retail trade of the country.
We believe the policy of the government should have been to
gradually withdraw the ones, twos, fives and tens of all paper
issues, replacing them by gold and silver coins, of which there is an
abundance in the country. This would place us on a par with
Great Britain, France, Germany and all the first-class nations of
the world, in all of which paper notes of low denominations are dis¬
countenanced. The United States is the great gold and silver pro¬
ducing nation of the world, and it ought to encourage its own
productions by using them. Storing up our gold and silver in
treasury and bank vaults is an extremely foolish proceeding, and
the issuing ot paper in their place is provocative of the wild specu¬
lation which in all probability will soon be upon us. Let us stick
to gold and silver; we cannot have too much of the precious
metals. But an exclusive paper currency means fiat money even¬
tually, and that involves, finally, a terrible coUapse in our finances
and a long and tedious recovery therefrom.
" Why not pay the greenback debt?" asks Secretary Manning.
It amounts to $346,000,000 and is a floating obligation of the gov¬
ernment contracted in war times twenty-five years ago. Whatever
way you look at it, it is an anomalous obligation. No other country
on earth has anything like it. It would have been disposed of long
since were it nofc that it involved a contraction which would have
been ruinous to the trade of the nation. The banks and the
Eastern newspapers have made a violent outcry against silver as
currency because its intrinsic value was not equal to gold. But
during all these years nothing was said against the greenback as
currency, although it was absolutely without any intrinsic value.
Secrefcary Manning's plan is to use the surplus aud to give a gold
or silver dollar for fche greenbacks as fchey are redeemed. This, he
declares, would nofc be contraction, and we could probably gefc rid
of this illegitimate obligation in five or six years. But Congress,
of course, will not ace upon this suggestion, yefc certainly the
greenback is a questionable kind of currency and ought in some
way to be retired. The only constitutional curreacy is gold and
silver and paper money represenfcing and converfcible into the
Some of the auctioneers in the Real Estate Exchange are said to
be opposed to any very stringent rules interfering with the devices
of properfcy owners which are intended fco mislead bona ^de bidders;
yet it is very clear that the auction business could be easily
doubled if the purchasing public could have the same faith in all
sales as they do in those ordered by a courfc or by executors. There
is no need of any tricks of fche fcrade to inspire bidders when prop*
erty is ordered to be sold by a court. There is then always a large
attendance, and the best figures are secured when the purchasers
are certain that the property is to be knocked down to the party
offering the most money for ifc. Legal sales—that is, where prop¬
erty is sold under a foreclosure—are too often n?anaged in the
interest of the money lenders. Ambiguous statements are made by
receivers and lawyers, and everything is done to scare away those
who are wUling to pay a fair price. This whole matter should be
rectified, and the Real Estate Exchange should have its lawyers
draw a bill putting the legal sales on a more satisfactory basis.
Of coarse the auctioneers are not afc all to blame for these abuses.
They have come down to us from the pasfc, and were in existence
before the presenfc race of auctioneers entered business. Undoubt¬
edly they would all heartily sanction any measure or measures
which would make every sale as attractive to purchasers as are
those ordered by the courfc or by executors.
The Real Estate Exchange owes its existence as much to The
Record and Guide as to any other one agency. Every depart¬
menfc of the Liberfcy street institution was firsfc suggested in these
columns, and we have done our best to add to the efficiency and
usefulness of the Exchange. No one did more than we to help the
brokers' meetings. Our back files show thafc we published arfcicle
after article favoring them, giving diagrams showing the various
parts of the floor that should be assigned to real estate trading. The
Information Bureau was first suggested by us, and the head of
that department, Mr. Hugh F. Dolan, was for a long time connected
with The Record and Guide. The Legislative Committee which
has done such a good work was also firsfc suggested in these
But the new year must see a development of the Exchange in
other directions. There ought to be a call in the auction room of
miscellaneous securities, such as fire insurance and gas stocks, the
shares of apartment houses; indeed, some railroad bonds might be
included, as they represent real estate. Horse-car and cable stock
might also be quoted and traded in. Then has not the time come
when the price of knockdowns should be revised. Under the system
which has obtained the purchaser of a f 100 lot pays the same price
as the one who buys a $200,000 house. The selling of lots ..should
be encouraged by lower rates, and the people who buy $100,000
houses would nofc object to a $30. fee for a knockdown. The
revenues of the Exchange might be largely increased from this
source, while trading would be encouraged.
- In our " Business World " will be found an article from the Even-'
inflr Posf, describing the new "progressive" or " graduated " tax
now being enforced in Switzerland. A great deal has been said by
the journals representing the working classes as to the desirability