The Tulip Collection contains the Tulip book and 32 tulipomania pamphlets. The ‘Tulip book of Pieter Cos’ is a manuscript nursery catalogue from 1637 with tulips and a small number of other flowers.
The Tulip book of Pieter Cos (1637) was published at the peak of the tulipomania, a period in the Golden Age in which contract prices for bulbs of the recently introduced tulip reached extraordinarily high levels and then suddenly collapsed. The manuscript contains 54 gouaches of tulips, followed by 12 added drawings of tulips some by [Pieter] Holsteijn the Younger and Pieter Schagen, 7 watercolours of carnations and 2 drawings of other flowers. For most tulips, names are written at the bottom of the illustration with the same paint. Later on the weight and the prices for which the bulbs were sold was added with a more modern pen. The weight of each bulb is given in 'aasen', an aas being 0,048 gram. Prices are given in guilders.
The tulipomania pamphlets ridicule the craziness of the speculative trade with tulip bulbs. In the Netherlands during the first half of the seventeenth century, tulip bulbs were sold at outrageous prices. Speculation rose in the year 1637 to an extent that bulbs were sold faster than they could grow. Prices spiraled to a extremely high level for bulbs of which neither buyer nor seller had seen the flower. This tulipomania got out of hand so badly that bulb growers themselves asked the government to ban the trade.
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