Inquiring minds: What is a CUSIP number?

Each week the staff at the Roseville Library answers more than 2,500 questions on every subject under the sun. Here are some of the most interesting ones they’ve gotten lately.

Q. What is a CUSIP number?

A.  Sometime back during the Rise of Capitalism (and before the Rise of the Internet), an American knew that he was person of substance if he had an opulent stock certificate on fancy paper, ornamented with graceful calligraphy and an imaginative engraving of ladies in Grecian drapery who were supposed to represent the soul of whatever enterprise in which the bearer owned a share. But with the rise of the virtual world, most stockholders no longer have paper stock certificates locked in the vault. Nowadays, they identify their stock holdings by means of a CUSIP number. CUSIP stands for Committee on Uniform Securities Identification Procedures, and a CUSIP number consists of nine numbers and/or letters which uniquely identify the issuer and the particular issue of a stock or bond.  Since its start in 1962, the CUSIP system has gradually been extended to almost all American and Canadian stocks and government bonds.
(Internet resources.)

Do you have a question for the staff at the Roseville Library? You can call them at 628-6803 or ask your question in person at the Information Desk, Roseville Library, 2180 Hamline Ave. Library hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday; and 1 to 5 p.m. on Sunday.

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