Auction 146, Lot 789

"De Verslagen Actionist in de Stoel met Rinkels, Overreeden Geweest van 't Gelauwerd Paard van Troje", Anon.

Subject: Satire - Stock Trading

Period: 1720 (circa)

Publication: Het Groote Tafereel der Dwaasheid…

Color: Black & White

Size:
14.7 x 9.8 inches
37.3 x 24.9 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 scene appears in the clouds, with 12 vignettes, each explained in verses below the engraving. At center (1) is an investor wearing a fool's cap and sitting in a child's wheelchair. He blows bubbles with his distraught wife and three quarrelling children beside him. At bottom right (3) is a winged donkey carrying a man and a monkey "evacuating" coins and paper notes, which fall into the mouth of a man below. At bottom left (11) a man fires a cannon filled with useless stocks and shares. With text the engraving measures 14.7 x 11.7".

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: B+

A nice impression on bluish, watermarked paper with light soiling and two tiny holes near center of image that have been archivally reinforced.

Estimate: $70 - $90

Sold for: $50

Closed on 9/4/2013

Archived