Catalog Archive
Auction 181, Lot 712

"Floraes Gecks-Kap of Afbeeldinge van't Wonderlijcke Iaer van 1637 doen d'eene Geck d'Ander Uytbroeyde, de Luy Rijck Sonder Goet, en Wijs Sonder Verstant Waeren",

Subject: Satire - Stock Trading

Period: 1720 (circa)

Publication: Het Groote Tafereel der Dwaasheid…

Color: Black & White

20.7 x 14.1 inches
52.6 x 35.8 cm

This interesting engraving centers on a large fool's cap that is being used as a tent in a tulip market. A flag featuring two fools hangs from the tent, and a woman named Flora rides a donkey with an angry crowd behind her. At left is a devil figure holding a rod with fool's cap hanging from the end. The engraving satirizes the financial bubble of Tulipmania of the 17th century, re-imagined in light of the Mississippi Bubble incident. Based on a drawing by Pieter Nolpe. The 8 columns of Dutch text below the engraving were composed by Hendrick Focken.

Exiled to Europe because of a duel, John Law managed to become a financial adviser to the Duke of Orleans. Law proposed the establishment of a state-chartered bank with the power to issue unbacked paper currency, the Banque Generale, which was established in 1716. 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. The financial meltdown became known as the Mississippi Bubble incident.


Condition: B+

A dark impression, issued folding on a sheet with a Strasburg bend and lily watermark, some printer's ink residue, and a few extraneous creases.

Estimate: $550 - $700

Sold for: $400

Closed on 2/10/2021