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May 31, 2003

From Paper to P.C.s

By Peter Chapman

Pink Sheets LLC began life in 1913 as the National Quotation Bureau, a publisher of securities prices. Until 1971, when Nasdaq came into existence, the pages of the Pinks were the only medium for distributing quotes of over-the-counter securities. The 300-page bound volume carried prices for about 11,000 securities on a daily basis.

Nasdaq eliminated much of the Pink Sheets raison d'etre, but it was not until 1990 when Pink Sheets came close to irrelevancy. That year the OTCBB was born. OTCBB broadcasted in "real-time" the quotes of about 4,400 Pink Sheets securities. Securities exclusive to Pink Sheets then declined to about 1,000.

In 1997, NQB came under new ownership. Its new management changed the name to Pink Sheets and built an electronic quotation system that complemented OTCBB.

During the 1999 to 2000 period, Pink Sheets began to regain its former clout. That's when Nasdaq stopped distributing the quotes of about 3,000 securities that would not meet new higher standards. Pink Sheets gained about 3,000 securities, bringing its total to 4,000. That number could shoot to 7,000 with the launch of BBX.