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Tulipomania : The Story of the World's Most Coveted Flower & the Extraordinary Passions It Aroused (1999)

por Mike Dash

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9212023,529 (3.63)48
In 1630s Holland thousands of people from the wealthiest merchants to the lowest street traders were caught up in a literal frenzy of buying and selling. The object of the speculation was not oil or gold, but the tulip, a delicate and exotic bloom which had just arrived from the east (where it had been the talisman of generations of Ottoman sultans). Over three years, rare tulip bulbs changed hands for sums that would have bought a house in Amsterdam: a single bulb sold for more than £300, 000 at today¿s prices. Fortunes were made overnight, but then lost when, within a year, the market collapsed ¿ with disastrous consequences. Mike Dash recreates this bizarre episode in European history, separating myth from reality. He traces the hysterical boom and devastating bust, bringing to life a colourful cast of characters, and beautifully evoking Holland¿s Golden Age. A highly readable blend of history, horticulture and economics.… (mais)
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Mostrando 1-5 de 20 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
Well-researched, history of the tulip from early beginnings.
  PhyllisHarrison | Jan 2, 2022 |
This book tells the story of the famous tulip craze in seventeenth-century Holland. Tulips first appeared in Europe in 1559, and soon attracted the interest of botanists and horticulturists throughout the continent. What’s interesting is that tulips were seen as desirable before the craze. Even after their initial introduction, they remained rare enough to be expensive. Many wealthy people with country houses liked to show off their wealth by planting tulips, and there were also wealthy tulip connoisseurs who simply loved the flowers for their beauty. Because they were actually interested in the flowers, they continued to pay large sums for true rarities close to a hundred years after the crash.

One thing I didn't realize before reading this was that the tulip craze mostly involved the poor and ambitious; the wealthy never got involved and tulips were never traded on the Dutch stock exchange (and over three hundred other commodities were). The tulip dealers for the most part were not professionals but amateurs who conducted their business in taverns. Tulip growers and dealers would arrange to meet as a group two or three times a week in a tavern’s private back room to buy and sell, as well as talk, drink, and smoke tobacco (after reading some of this I was surprised it wasn’t something else). They would celebrate each deal with large pitchers of wine, and as the craze accelerated the meetings might begin in the morning but not end until early the next morning. This explains a lot about both the nature and the excesses of the mania: One seldom makes rational decisions while partying with friends late into the night with lots of alcohol on hand.

The fact that the craze was most prevalent among low-income amateurs also explains why a financial calamity with such a reputation that it is often compared to the 1929 stock market crash had very few short-term or long-term repercussions, with the exception of Holland’s bulb industry and postcard-perfect tulip farms. Indeed, the crash had almost no effect on the Dutch economy – neither the Dutch stock exchange nor Dutch trade was impacted, and no general recession followed.

I appreciated the table at the beginning of the book that provided the 1636 prices of other common (and not so common) items, such as a loaf of bread and a Rembrandt painting, as well as some average incomes for various professions, which helped immensely in giving perspective to the prices people were willing to pay for tulip bulbs. But the book was crying out for pictures of the flowers - while the varieties the Dutch prized no longer exist, illustrated bulb catalogs do (and some famous Dutch painters were involved in making them), and so do period still-life paintings of tulips:

( )
  Jennifer708 | Mar 21, 2020 |
This book tells the story of the famous tulip craze in seventeenth-century Holland. Tulips first appeared in Europe in 1559, and soon attracted the interest of botanists and horticulturists throughout the continent. What’s interesting is that tulips were seen as desirable before the craze. Even after their initial introduction, they remained rare enough to be expensive. Many wealthy people with country houses liked to show off their wealth by planting tulips, and there were also wealthy tulip connoisseurs who simply loved the flowers for their beauty. Because they were actually interested in the flowers, they continued to pay large sums for true rarities close to a hundred years after the crash.

One thing I didn't realize before reading this was that the tulip craze mostly involved the poor and ambitious; the wealthy never got involved and tulips were never traded on the Dutch stock exchange (and over three hundred other commodities were). The tulip dealers for the most part were not professionals but amateurs who conducted their business in taverns. Tulip growers and dealers would arrange to meet as a group two or three times a week in a tavern’s private back room to buy and sell, as well as talk, drink, and smoke tobacco (after reading some of this I was surprised it wasn’t something else). They would celebrate each deal with large pitchers of wine, and as the craze accelerated the meetings might begin in the morning but not end until early the next morning. This explains a lot about both the nature and the excesses of the mania: One seldom makes rational decisions while partying with friends late into the night with lots of alcohol on hand.

The fact that the craze was most prevalent among low-income amateurs also explains why a financial calamity with such a reputation that it is often compared to the 1929 stock market crash had very few short-term or long-term repercussions, with the exception of Holland’s bulb industry and postcard-perfect tulip farms. Indeed, the crash had almost no effect on the Dutch economy – neither the Dutch stock exchange nor Dutch trade was impacted, and no general recession followed.

I appreciated the table at the beginning of the book that provided the 1636 prices of other common (and not so common) items, such as a loaf of bread and a Rembrandt painting, as well as some average incomes for various professions, which helped immensely in giving perspective to the prices people were willing to pay for tulip bulbs. But the book was crying out for pictures of the flowers - while the varieties the Dutch prized no longer exist, illustrated bulb catalogs do (and some famous Dutch painters were involved in making them), and so do period still-life paintings of tulips:

( )
  Jennifer708 | Mar 21, 2020 |
Fascinating account of a remarkable episode. Some maps and illustrations would have helped. ( )
  rosiezbanks | Oct 19, 2018 |
When economists need to summon an age of unchecked speculation and financial fecklessness, the Dutch tulip mania is at the top of the list. If you’re not familiar with the story, it’s an early example of the vagaries of the stock market. In the mid-1630s, the Dutch fell in love with tulips. The flower became a status symbol, and the Dutch were all but tripping over each other in a race to conspicuously consume. To satisfy burgeoning demand, speculators began to trade in what were essentially tulip futures; these grew outlandishly complicated and expensive, and on the third of February, 1637, the tulip market collapsed.

The book begins with a history of the origins and cultivation of the tulip in the Ottoman Empire and how it came to be introduced in the Netherlands by botanist Carolus Clusius, who established an extensive garden at the University of Leiden.

The demand for tulips of a rare species increased so much in the year 1636, that regular markets for their sale were established on the Stock Exchange of Amsterdam, in Rotterdam, Harlaem, Leyden, Alkmar, Hoorn, and other towns. The tulip-jobbers speculated in the rise and fall of the tulip stocks. People of all grades converted their property into cash, and invested it in flowers. Houses and lands were offered for sale at ruinously low prices, or assigned in payment of bargains made at the tulip-mart.

This book was an interesting story of botany and greed and what can happen when the latter triumphs. ( )
  EvelynBernard | Dec 3, 2017 |
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Mike Dashautor principaltodas as ediçõescalculado
Abeling, AndréTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Eklöf, MargaretaTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Peschel, ElfriedeTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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They were possessed with such a Rage or,

to give it its proper Name, such as Itching for their Flowers,

as to give often three thousand Crowns for a

Tulip that pleased their Fancies;

a Disease that ruined several rich Families.

MONSIEUR DE BLAINVILLE, TRAVELS THROUGH HOLLAND

(LONDON, 1743), vol. 1, p. 28
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One day in the early spring of 1637, a Dutch merchant named François Koster paid the enormous sum of 6650 guilders for a few dozen tulip bulbs.
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In 1630s Holland thousands of people from the wealthiest merchants to the lowest street traders were caught up in a literal frenzy of buying and selling. The object of the speculation was not oil or gold, but the tulip, a delicate and exotic bloom which had just arrived from the east (where it had been the talisman of generations of Ottoman sultans). Over three years, rare tulip bulbs changed hands for sums that would have bought a house in Amsterdam: a single bulb sold for more than £300, 000 at today¿s prices. Fortunes were made overnight, but then lost when, within a year, the market collapsed ¿ with disastrous consequences. Mike Dash recreates this bizarre episode in European history, separating myth from reality. He traces the hysterical boom and devastating bust, bringing to life a colourful cast of characters, and beautifully evoking Holland¿s Golden Age. A highly readable blend of history, horticulture and economics.

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