William Fargo (1818-1881) was an American businessman who co-founded the famous express firm Wells, Fargo & Co. in 1852.
The company provided financial services to miners, merchants and ranchers during the Gold Rush, and became the biggest mail deliverer, bank, express agency and stagecoach company in the West.
Fargo was also a co-founder of American Express, which began life as a mail delivery company in Buffalo, New York in 1850, before expanding into money order services in the 1880s and becoming one of the world's biggest financial institutions.
Fargo served as the president of American Express from 1868 to his death in 1881. Today, the company is the 22nd most valuable brand in the world, estimated at $14.9bn.
This stock certificate for fifteen shares in the American Express Company was issued to an Edward A. Hastings on May 17, 1873.
It is signed at the bottom by William Fargo as the company president.
The certificate measures 11.5" x 7.5", and features expected stamps and cancellation holes.