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Charlie, I think your post is based on a wrong assumption. I don't know if munis are different, but with corporate bonds there is NO MARKET. There is no recorded BID and there is no recorded ASK. The corporate bond market is an oligopoly carefully controlled by New York banks, and their Washington collaborators, and their lobbyists. Let no law be passed that makes this market fair for retail buyer or seller. The banks make their money here by making the market as cloudy as possible, to keep the bid and ask spreads very high, so they can pocket all of that as their profit.

Because there is no electronic place where any queue of bids or asks can be recorded, bond trades are done by informal relationships between banks and brokers. Effectively the broker makes a few phone calls and tries to find someone who wants to do a deal, and then collects those prices and prices to you based on that. It's about as advanced as buying sugar in 1920 would have been.
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