Auction 133, Lot 694

"De Kermis-Kraam, van de Actie-Knaapen, Schaft vreugde, en droefheid, onder 't kaapen", Anon.

Subject: Satire - Stock Trading

Period: 1720 (circa)

Publication: Het Groote Tafereel der Dwaasheid

Color: Hand Color

Size:
13 x 17.3 inches
33 x 43.9 cm

This satirical engraving is from the important account of one the most infamous financial meltdowns in history, known as the Mississippi Bubble incident. A translation of the title is, "The stock boys’ shop gives pleasure and sorrow in stealing." The scene of rioting crowds takes place outside Kalverstraat No. 29, Amsterdam, a coffeehouse named Quincampoix after the headquarters of John Law's Mississippi Company in Paris. The chariot, driven by Deceit and drawn by monsters, contains a devil using a bellows on a stock broker's backside, causing him to cough up shares titled Utrecht, Delft, Mississippi, etc. Riding in the front is Bombario, the Chief Quack, holding a flag with a picture of a rat trap and the words "Bombario Ziet toe" (Bombast pays attention). Dimensions include Dutch text below engraving.

John Law, a Scottish financier, established the Banque Generale (central bank) in France. He was then granted control of Louisiana and founded the Compagnie de la Louisiane d'Occident, in 1717. Law developed an elaborate plan to exploit the fabulous resources of the region, which quickly gained popularity and people rushed to invest, not just in France, but throughout Europe. This resulted in the development of several other overseas companies, such as the English South Sea Company and a number of smaller companies in the Dutch Republic, many of which were sponsored by cities. The share price of the Compagnie de la Louisiane d'Occident rose dramatically in a frenzy of speculation. In 1720 the bubble burst; speculators cashed in, caused a run on the shares, and the company went bankrupt. As a consequence of the failure, confidence in other similar companies failed, and thousands of individual investors across Europe were ruined.

References:

Condition: A

There are some minor edge tears in the bottom margin, not affecting the image or text.

Estimate: $150 - $200

Sold for: $550

Closed on 9/1/2010

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