Auction 140, Lot 868

"De Zuidze Compagnie door wind in top Gerezen Beklaagt nu Haar Verlies met een Bekommerd wezen", Anon.

Subject: Satire - Stock Trading

Period: 1720 (circa)

Publication: Het Groote Tafereel der Dwaasheid…

Color: Hand Color

Size:
11.5 x 7 inches
29.2 x 17.8 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 woman lounging in a lavish library, surrounded by her debit and commerce books. Beside her cherubs play music, while one holds a note that translates as "it's not like losing what one hears," meaning that the woman may have lost all her money, but at least hasn't lost her ability to hear. The central image is surrounded by four vignettes of others impacted by the Mississippi Bubble incident. There are three 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.

References:

Condition: A

Marginal soiling and a short centerfold separation in bottom blank margin.

Estimate: $70 - $90

Sold for: $50

Closed on 5/23/2012

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