"Vonnis van Apol over de Bubbels", Anon.
Subject: Satire - Stock Trading
Period: 1720 (circa)
Publication: Het Groote Tafereel der Dwaasheid…
Color: Black & White
13.8 x 10.5 inches
35.1 x 26.7 cm
This satirical engravings is from the important account of one the most infamous financial meltdowns in history, known as the Mississippi Bubble incident. This engraving is titled "Apollo's verdict on the stock-jobbers," and shows Zeus in the clouds throwing thunderbolts down upon masked rioters below. Apollo sits on a cloud-throne, with Mercury, the god of trade and commerce, and several muses before him. The coats of arms of Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Haarlem are also depicted at left.
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 price of the (Carte du Mexique et de la Floride) 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.
A crisp impression on a bright sheet with an extraneous crease adjacent to the centerfold, minor marginal soiling, and an archivally repaired tear that enters 2" into image at top.