Stock Market Bubbles

Stock Market Bubbles - 1 BUBBLES COLLECTION 1600 to 2007...

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1 BUBBLES COLLECTION 1600 to 2007 When the Tulip Bubble Burst TULIPOMANIA The Story of the World's Most Coveted Flower By Mike Dash Crown Publishers 288pp $23 Long before anyone ever heard of Qualcomm, CMGI, Cisco Systems, or the other high-tech stocks that have soared during the current bull market, there was Semper Augustus. Both more prosaic and more sublime than any stock or bond, it was a tulip of extraordinary beauty, its midnight-blue petals topped by a band of pure white and accented with crimson flares. To denizens of 17th century Holland, little was as desirable. Around 1624, the Amsterdam man who owned the only dozen specimens was offered 3,000 guilders for one bulb. While there's no accurate way to render that in today's greenbacks, the sum was roughly equal to the annual income of a wealthy merchant. (A few years later, Rembrandt received about half that amount for painting The Night Watch.) Yet the bulb's owner, whose name is now lost to history, nixed the offer. Who was crazier, the tulip lover who refused to sell for a small fortune or the one who was willing to splurge? That's a question that springs to mind after reading Tulipomania: The Story of the World's Most Coveted Flower and the Extraordinary Passions It Aroused by British journalist Mike Dash. In recent years, as investors have intentionally forgotten everything they learned in Investing 101 in order to load up on unproved, unprofitable dot-com issues, tulip mania has been invoked frequently. In this concise, artfully written account, Dash tells the real history behind the buzzword and in doing so, offers a cautionary tale for our times. The Dutch were not the first to go gaga over the tulip. Long before the first tulip bloomed in Europe--in Bavaria, it turns out, in 1559--the flower had enchanted the Persians and bewitched the rulers of the Ottoman Empire. It was in Holland, however, that the passion for tulips found its most fertile ground, for reasons that had little to do with horticulture. Holland in the early 17th century was embarking on its Golden Age. Resources that had just a few years earlier gone toward fighting for independence from Spain now flowed into commerce. Amsterdam merchants were at the center of the lucrative East Indies trade, where a single voyage could yield profits of 400%. They displayed their success by erecting grand estates surrounded by flower gardens. The Dutch population seemed torn by two contradictory impulses: a horror of living beyond one's means and the love of a long shot. Enter the tulip. ''It is impossible to comprehend the tulip mania without understanding just how different tulips were from every other flower known to horticulturists in the 17th century,'' says Dash. ''The colors they exhibited were more intense and more concentrated than those of ordinary plants.'' Despite the outlandish prices commanded by rare bulbs, ordinary tulips were sold by the pound. Around 1630, however, a new type of tulip fancier appeared, lured
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This note was uploaded on 09/12/2011 for the course FINANCE 101 taught by Professor Staff during the Spring '10 term at Temple.

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Stock Market Bubbles - 1 BUBBLES COLLECTION 1600 to 2007...

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