Read e-book Tulipmania: Money, Honor, and Knowledge in the Dutch Golden Age

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This book reads like a college text you had to read for an exam. An interesting topic for me as I was traveling to Holland.

If it were written by my favorite author of nonfiction. John McPhee, it would have been a winner. I skimmed through it and couldn't wait until I was finished.

Table of Contents

Lots of information if you are truly interested in the 17th century tulip trade and not a dilettante like me. The mania for bulbs is often likened to our stock market crashes and internet crazes. The epilogue called "Cabbage Fever " is most interesting so I will give this tome 3 stars.


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Shopbop Designer Fashion Brands. Many more people could afford luxuries — and tulips were seen as beautiful, exotic, and redolent of the good taste and learning displayed by well-educated members of the merchant class. Many of those who bought tulips also bought paintings or collected rarities like shells. Prices rose, because tulips were hard to cultivate in a way that brought out the popular striped or speckled petals, and they were still rare.

Money, Honor, and Knowledge in the Dutch Golden Age

In fact, for much of the period trading was relatively calm, located in taverns and neighbourhoods rather than on the stock exchange. It also became increasingly organised, with companies set up in various towns to grow, buy, and sell, and committees of experts emerged to oversee the trade.

Far from bulbs being traded hundreds of times, I never found a chain of buyers longer than five, and most were far shorter. And what of the much-vaunted effect of the plague on tulip mania, supposedly making people with nothing to lose gamble their all? Again, this seems not to have existed. Despite an epidemic going on during , the biggest price rises occurred in January , when plague mainly a summer disease was on the wane. Perhaps some people inheriting money had a bit more in their pockets to spend on bulbs. Many tulips were far cheaper.


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With one or two exceptions, these top buyers came from the wealthy merchant class and were well able to afford the bulbs. Far from every chimneysweep or weaver being involved in the trade, the numbers were relatively small, mainly from the merchant and skilled artisan class — and many of the buyers and sellers were connected to each other by family, religion, or neighbourhood.

Sellers mainly sold to people they knew. When the crash came, it was not because of naive and uninformed people entering the market, but probably through fears of oversupply and the unsustainability of the great price rise in the first five weeks of None of the bulbs were actually available — they were all planted in the ground — and no money would be exchanged until the bulbs could be handed over in May or June.

So those who lost money in the February crash did so only notionally: they might not get paid later. Anyone who had both bought and sold a tulip on paper since the summer of had lost nothing. Only those waiting for payment were in trouble, and they were people able to bear the loss.

Tulipmania : Money, Honor, and Knowledge in the Dutch Golden Age by Anne Goldgar (2008, Paperback)

No one drowned themselves in canals. I found not a single bankrupt in these years who could be identified as someone dealt the fatal financial blow by tulip mania. Goldgar provides a rich survey of the historiography of early modern European cultural and financial history along with a detailed account of the rise of tulip connoisseurship and trade.

Some readers may find her interpretationthat participants in the tulip market were motivated more by connoisseurship and honor than pursuit of gainto be overly subtle, but most will be impressed by Goldgar's thoroughness in examining primary sources. Highly recommended. Drawing on extensive research in a wide range of archives. A fascinating and indeed convincing reconstruction of the tulip craze. It is well-researched, beautifully written and splendidly produced. Show More Show Less. Pre-owned Pre-owned. People who bought this also bought.

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