The Story Behind The Greatest Tattoo In The History Of Finance

Milken Lee’s tattoo of junk bond czar Michael Milken’s face

Famed financier and convicted felon Michael Milken is banned from the securities industry for life, but that did not stop one trader from inking the junk bond architect’s visage on his arm — also for life.

Billy Lee of Providence Trading in Chicago says his stipple-style Milken tattoo was “years in the making.” After reading Connie Bruck’s “The Predators’ Ball” — about Milken’s rise at Drexel Burnham Lambert — Lee was inspired to get into trading.

He took the book with him to Chicago where he shared it among finance friends.

“I used him as an example,” Lee told Business Insider. “The work ethic part.”

Lee talked about Milken so much that his buddies started to rib him about getting a tattoo. They never thought he would do it, and two of his friends even offered to pay.

So they were both out $US100 each when Lee called them up and said he was ready. Now, “They own a piece of real estate on me.”

Lee told the tattoo artist he wanted it to look like the Wall Street Journal’s famous dot-riddled “hedcut” rendering.

“The tattoo artist shook his head,” Lee says. “He felt like he was making a good bet he’d never again make another Michael Milken.”

“Everybody’s horrified,” Lee admits, but he doesn’t regret it one bit. For one, Lee is happy that he’s the only person with an original Michael Milken. Plus: “He’s a genius. The financing he originated did more to bring the U.S. economy out of doldrums in 80s than most people understand.”

As for Milken’s ethics: “It was a black eye on a story otherwise about a man with great courage,” Lee says. “He’s a revolutionary.”

Photo courtesy of Left Hash, a host of online TV network

Do you have a better finance tattoo? Or know someone who does? Email me at [email protected]

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