All my worldly goods for a single tulip bulb

All my worldly goods for a single tulip bulb

Horrendous real estate prices? We know that. But for tulip bulbs? Read what was paid for a single bulb at the height of the tulip mania.
The Dutch tulip mania
The tulip is one of the few flowers that constantly inspires enthusiasm. As soon as it came to Constantinople in the 16th century, it was admired so much that absolute tulip mania broke out. This was coupled with a brisk trade in tulip bulbs that drove prices sky high.

The same happened some time later in the Netherlands. There, too, aristocrats and wealthy burghers were so enthralled by these spring blooms that they paid enormous prices for them.
Terrific prices for a single bulb
In 1637, for example, 30,000 guilders was paid for a bulb of the red and white striped «Semper Augustus» variety.

And this was despite the fact that the average annual income was around 150 guilders and the most expensive canalside houses in Amsterdam cost around 10,000 guilders.
Even in kind was paid
Those who didn’t have enough cash sometimes paid in kind: it is said that a bulb of the «Viceroy» variety was once paid for with the following goods: 120 bushels of wheat, 240 bushels of rye, four fat oxen, eight fat swine, twelve fat sheep, two barrels of wine, four cart loads of beer, two barrels of butter, 1000 pounds of cheese, a bed, a suit of clothing and a silver drinking cup.

We may well wonder what the household looked like AFTER this exchange (smile). Fortunately, our tulips aren’t that expensive!

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