Catalog Archive
Auction 185, Lot 747

"Het Hobbelend Actiescheepje van Madame Compagnie en Monsieur Bubbels", Anon.

Subject: Satire - Stock Trading

Period: 1720 (circa)

Publication: Het Groote Tafereel der Dwaasheid…

Color: Black & White

3.9 x 5.9 inches
9.9 x 15 cm
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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 a trading ship transporting "Madame Compagnie" and "Monsieur Bubbels" sailing through dark waters, illuminated by a warning light. The image illustrates the title, which translates as: "The little trading ship knocked over on the billows, will bubble along, until it will sail into the abyss." There are five columns of verses in Dutch surrounding the scene. Engraved by Pieter van den Berge. The full sheet with Dutch text measures 12.1 x 16.7".

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.


Condition: A

A nice impression on a bright sheet with an Amsterdam coat of arms watermark and minor soiling.

Estimate: $70 - $90

Sold for: $35

Closed on 11/17/2021