Auction 140, Lot 866

"De Actie Valk, die uit ging vligen om te Stropen Ontmoet Zyn Dood, Daar Hemt Geval …", Anon.

Subject: Satire - Stock Trading

Period: 1720 (circa)

Publication: Het Groote Tafereel der Dwaasheid…

Color: Hand Color

5.3 x 5 inches
13.5 x 12.7 cm

This engraving is from the important account of one the most infamous financial meltdowns in history, known as the Mississippi Bubble incident. This engraved view depicts a falcon in flight being pierced by a stork, with people hunting with falcons in the background. Although the marauding falcon was intent on poaching food, he is killed by the stork for his greed. At left, a well-dressed couple points at some ruins, where an owl and another falcon feast on a "bubble" rat. There are five columns of verses in Dutch below the scene.

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. The share prices 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.


Condition: A

Watermarked paper with marginal soiling.

Estimate: $70 - $90

Sold for: $35

Closed on 5/23/2012