Tulip bulb mania

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Tulip bulb mania

Post  Ryu on Wed Nov 12, 2008 1:24 pm

Tulip Bulb Mania
Could a mere tulip bulb be worth $76,000? It is if people are willing to pay for it! It may sound preposterous, but this is exactly what happened in Holland in the 1630’s.

The seeds of this craze were planted in 1593. A man by the name of Conrad Guestner imported the first tulip bulb into Holland from Constantinople, in present day Turkey. After a few years, tulip bulbs became a status symbol and a novelty for the rich and famous. Eventually, tulip bulbs became a hot ticket item in neighboring Germany, as well. After some time, a few tulip bulbs contracted a non-harmful plant virus called mosaic. The effects of this mosaic virus were tulip petals with beautiful “flames” of color. This unique effect furthermore increased the value of the already rare and highly exclusive tulip bulb.

Initially, only the true connoisseurs bought tulip bulbs, but the rapidly rising price quickly attracted speculators looking to profit. It didn’t take long before the tulip bulbs were traded on local market exchanges, which were not unlike today’s stock exchanges. By 1634, tulip mania had feverishly spread to the Dutch middle class. Pretty soon everybody was dealing in tulip bulbs, looking to make a quick fortune. The majority of the tulip bulb buyers had no intentions of even planting these bulbs! The name of the game was to buy low and sell high, just like in any other market. The whole Dutch nation was caught in a sweeping mania, as people traded in their land, livestock, farms and life savings all to acquire 1 single tulip bulb!

In less than one month, the price of tulip bulbs went up twenty-fold! To put that into perspective, if you had invested $1,000 and came back on month later, your investment would have ballooned to $20,000! Now you can understand the mad rush to buy tulip bulbs at any cost. Tulip bulb mania affected the public psyche to an extreme. One drunk man in a bar started peeling and eating what he thought was an onion, while it was in fact it was the bar owner's tulip bulb on display. This man was jailed for many months!
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Ryu

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