The story of shares has its roots in antiquity. Stocks were already known in the era of slavery, which lasted from the time of formation of the first stable political systems and the creation of writing in such ancient centers of civilization as Ancient Egyptian state (epoch 1-3rd Kings) and the Ancient Sumerian state in the lower reaches of the Euphrates (mid 4th millennium BC – the end of the 5th century AD). Already at the time of Athens Merchants and Entrepreneurs (Athens was at that time the economic center of ancient Greece and, accordingly, had the most developed system of commodity-money relations) there was a form of trade and production activities on the basis of the contributed capital. Share in the total capital of such enterprise, the participants had already formalized in the form of the expression of papyrus or parchment scrolls, which indicated the number of participants enterprises, their contributions and the amount due from them in the city treasury of taxes. In the modern sense it was a charter company. These lists were registered in Komichi, who knew trade and crafts and then stored in Temple of Hermes patron of merchants and seafarers. Prescribed in these "statutes" share investors – the founders established the respective rights and making a profit.
In the days of Ancient Rome appeared, even the first documents that could be called a prototype remote shares. True, they do not appear in trade and not in the business, and in the field, so to speak, "slaveholding" capital. As a rule, it was receipt issued by one slave owner to another – the owner of a slave or slaves of passed this first for the work, mainly on agricultural latifundia. This consolidated the receipt the duty of the slaveholder, who supplied slaves to deduct the one who gave him those slaves in use, a certain share of manufactured products with their help in kind or in cash.