Tulips Atprices ((LINK))
Under the stimulus of "free" coinage, an immense quantity of the precious metals found their way to Holland, and a rise of prices ensued, which found one form of expression in the curious mania of buying tulips at prices often exceeding that of the ground on which they were grown.
As a result, tulips rapidly became a coveted luxury item, and a profusion of varieties followed. They were classified in groups: the single-hued tulips of red, yellow, or white were known as Couleren; the multicolored Rosen (white streaks on a red or pink background); Violetten (white streaks on a purple or lilac background); and the rarest of all, the Bizarden (Bizarres), (yellow or white streaks on a red, brown or purple background). The multicolour effects of intricate lines and flame-like streaks on the petals were vivid and spectacular, making the bulbs that produced these even more exotic-looking plants highly sought-after. It is now known that this effect is due to the bulbs being infected with a type of tulip-specific mosaic virus, known as the "tulip breaking virus", so called because it "breaks" the one petal colour into two or more.
In the Northern Hemisphere, tulips bloom in April and May for about one week. During the plant's dormant phase from June to September, bulbs can be uprooted and moved about, so actual purchases (in the spot market) occurred during these months.
During the rest of the year, florists, or tulip traders, signed forward contracts before a notary to buy tulips at the end of the season. Thus the Dutch, who developed many of the techniques of modern finance, created a market for tulip bulbs, which were durable goods. Short selling was banned by an edict of 1610, which was reiterated or strengthened in 1621 and 1630, and again in 1636. Short sellers were not prosecuted under these edicts, but forward contracts were deemed unenforceable, so traders could repudiate deals if faced with a loss.
By 1636, tulips were traded on the exchanges of numerous Dutch towns and cities. This encouraged trade by all members of society. Mackay recounted people selling possessions in order to speculate on the tulip market, such as an offer of 5 hectares (12 acres) of land for one of two existing Semper Augustus bulbs, or a single bulb of the Viceroy that, he said, was purchased in exchange for a basket of goods (shown in table) worth 2,500 florins.
Many individuals suddenly became rich. A golden bait hung temptingly out before the people, and, one after the other, they rushed to the tulip marts, like flies around a honey-pot. Every one imagined that the passion for tulips would last for ever, and that the wealthy from every part of the world would send to Holland, and pay whatever prices were asked for them. The riches of Europe would be concentrated on the shores of the Zuyder Zee, and poverty banished from the favoured clime of Holland. Nobles, citizens, farmers, mechanics, seamen, footmen, maidservants, even chimney sweeps and old clotheswomen, dabbled in tulips.
The increasing mania generated several amusing, if unlikely, anecdotes that Mackay recounted, such as a sailor who mistook the valuable tulip bulb of a merchant for an onion and grabbed it to eat. According to Mackay, the merchant and his family hunted down the sailor to find him "eating a breakfast whose cost might have regaled a whole ship's crew for a twelvemonth"; the sailor was supposedly jailed for eating the bulb. However, tulips are poisonous if prepared incorrectly, taste bad, and are considered to be only marginally edible even during famines. This directly contradicts Mackay's claim that the tulip bulb had been "quite delicious".
While Mackay's account held that a wide array of society was involved in the tulip trade, Goldgar's study of archived contracts found that even at its peak the trade in tulips was conducted almost exclusively by merchants and skilled craftsmen who were wealthy, but not members of the nobility. Any economic fallout from the bubble was very limited. Goldgar, who identified many prominent buyers and sellers in the market, found fewer than half a dozen who experienced financial troubles in the time period, and even of these cases it is not clear that tulips were to blame. This is not altogether surprising. Although prices had risen, money had not changed hands between buyers and sellers. Thus profits were never realised for sellers; unless sellers had made other purchases on credit in expectation of the profits, the collapse in prices did not cause anyone to lose money.
Garber compared the available price data on tulips to hyacinth prices at the beginning of the 19th century when the hyacinth replaced the tulip as the fashionable flower and found a similar pattern. When hyacinths were introduced florists strove with one another to grow beautiful hyacinth flowers, as demand was strong. As people became more accustomed to hyacinths the prices began to fall. The most expensive bulbs fell to 1 to 2 percent of their peak value within 30 years.
On February 24, 1637, the self-regulating guild of Dutch florists, in a decision that was later ratified by the Dutch Parliament, announced that all futures contracts written after November 30, 1636, and before the re-opening of the cash market in the early Spring, were to be interpreted as option contracts. They did this by simply relieving the futures buyers of the obligation to buy the future tulips, forcing them merely to compensate the sellers with a small fixed percentage of the contract price.
Tulipomania resulted as well-to-do Dutchmen developed a taste for tulips as a luxury item. Some socialites regarded the precious tulip bulbs as even too valuable to plant. Many saved the bulbs and displayed them on tables as part of a high style centerpiece. By the 1630s, tulips had increased in popularity and in price with significant property exchanges taking place all in the pursuit of tulips.
Since the 17th century, the tulip has been the flower of the privileged. Dutch baroque artists such as Heda, de Heem, and Rauysch all painted floral still lifes featuring tulips for a new breed of art collectors.
Today, international auctions command as much as six figures for these 17th century masterpieces. While images of tulips bring big money today, the flower said wealth in days gone by. Today, the favorite flower still helps promote Holland's tourist industry.
In the 20th century, the tulip became a true symbol of American wealth. By the late 1940s, the tulip was the obvious choice in World War II's aftermath when Americans were rebuilding and rebirthing at home. Young American families embraced the American prosperity movement of the 1950s and selected tulips as a favorite symbol.
The hopeful post-war feeling was synonymous with tulips that appeared on various American-made planters, canister sets, and cookie jars that sell on today's market for as much as $500. Also, tulips adorned mid-century fruit bowls, candy dishes and advertising tins, all in the promotion of American prosperity.
The tulip, introduced to Europe in the middle of the 16th century, experienced a strong growth in popularity in the Netherlands, boosted by competition between members of the middle classes to outcompete each other in possession of the rarest tulips. Competition escalated until prices reached unsustainable levels.
Tulip cultivation in the Netherlands is thought to have started in 1593, when Charles de L'Ecluse first bred tulips able to tolerate the harsher conditions of the Low Countries from bulbs sent to him from Turkey by Ogier de Busbecq. The flower rapidly became a coveted luxury item and a status symbol. Special breeds were given exotic names or named after Dutch naval admirals. The most spectacular and highly sought after tulips had vivid colors, lines, and flames on the petals as a result of being infected with a tulip-specific virus known as the Mosaic Virus. In 1623, a single bulb of a famous tulip breed could cost as much as a thousand Dutch florins (the average yearly income at the time was 150 florins). Tulips were also exchanged for land, valuable livestock, and houses. Allegedly, a good trader could earn sixty thousand florins a month.
By 1636, tulips were traded on the stock exchanges of numerous Dutch towns and cities. This encouraged trading in tulips by all members of society, with many people selling or trading their other possessions in order to speculate in the tulip market. Some speculators made large profits as a result.
In February 1637 tulip traders could no longer get inflated prices for their bulbs, and they began to sell. The bubble burst. People began to suspect that the demand for tulips could not last, and as this spread a panic developed. Some were left holding contracts to purchase tulips at prices now ten times greater than those on the open market, while others found themselves in possession of bulbs now worth a fraction of the price they had paid. Thousands of Dutch, including businessmen and dignitaries, were financially ruined.
Tulips are old staples of the gardening world, but they have been far from boring since our first obsession with them. There must be something particularly special about these flowers that they have us fascinated and excited for century after century. They are not only easy to grow, but a delight to enjoy, adding rewarding color and cheer to our gardens. To see more new tulips, visit our website for our online tulip selection today!
Definition: Tulip mania was a period when tulips were recently introduced and bought in large quantities by many people. This caused tulip prices to shoot up. They were sold at prices higher than skilled workers' income. After reaching a peak, tulip prices crashed, leaving tulip holders bankrupt. It was the first major economic bubble.Description: Tulip mania is used as a metaphor to describe an economic bubble. People start investing in a particular asset in large quantities because of positive sentiments about it. This pushes the prices of that asset to very high levels. After reaching a peak, prices suffer a sharp fall due to an extensive sell off, leaving the asset holders bankrupt. These assets are metaphorically called tulips. 041b061a72