Tulip Mania

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Tulip Mania

History's first major asset bubble. Tulips were introduced to Europe from the Ottoman Empire in the mid-1500s and became very popular in the Netherlands. As they grew in popularity, prices for tulips rose steadily, then unsustainably, in the 1630s. Prices suddenly collapsed in February 1637. Interestingly, tulip mania resulted in the creation of a formal futures market and marked one of the first times when contracts were traded without exchanging the underlying asset.
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Recorded history declares that through a combination of knowledge, power, and secrecy, Clusius spurred on the passions of tulipomania as he transformed the tulip into a much desired and glamorous commodity.
Descriptions come from Pavord, Tulip; Pollan, Botany of Desire; Dash, Tulipomania.
Although he is content to avoid the moral refrain about how markets always crash, many other writers and commentators who have invoked tulipomania have made it a cautionary tale, usually in an attempt to puncture a market in the grip of a Yukon fever or to question the shibboleth of price equilibrium.
Dash ends his history in 1985, with a story of speculation in China over the red spider lily that followed the template of tulipomania.
Tulipomania concludes with a few non sequiturs about horticultural history; Dash stubbornly refuses to say anything substantive about finance.
Nolen, who is staging Tulipomania, believes that the show pulls off another balancing act: It stays upbeat, while exploring a troubling chapter in economic and sociological history.
The next piece, Tulipomania refers to what Allen Greenspan dubbed "irrational exuberance" during the housing boom leading to the burst of the bubble and the calamity of the Great Recession of 2008, not unlike the tulip craze that took place in 17th century Holland.
In Holland, the financial hysteria called tulipomania reached its peak 100 years later when bulbs changed hands for thousands of pounds each.
And at the height of tulipomania, a single "flamed" bulb traded for the equivalent of 15 years of wages for the average Amsterdam bricklayer.
It was called Tulipomania, and people spent huge sums of money on a single bulb.
Moreton Gardening Club, meeting, Tulipomania, by Roger Copson, Community Centre, Maryland Lane, 8pm.