The tulip book of Pieter Cos is a manuscript nursery catalogue from 1637 with tulips and a small number of other flowers. It was published at the peak of the tulipomania, a period in the Golden Age during which contract prices for bulbs of the recently introduced tulip reached extraordinarily high levels and then suddenly collapsed.
The tulip book
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. For some tulips, names are indicated by a riddle, a drawing or a rebus. 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. Small bulbs were sold by the 500 or 1000 aasen. 17 tulips have the same prices and weight mentioned as some of those on the list of the auction at February 5th in Alkmaar for the orphans of Wouter Bartelmiesz. Winckel. The most expensive one, the Viseroij, was sold for Dfl 3,000 and Dfl 4,200. Fifteen or twenty times a year salary of a schooled craftsman then.
This book was part of the Krelage Collection.
Citation to the tulip book
Verzameling van een meenigte tulipaanen, naar het leven geteekend met hunne naamen, en swaarte der bollen, zoo als die publicq verkogt zijn, te Haarlem in den jaare A. 1637, door P. Cos, bloemist te Haarlem. - Haarlem : [s.n.], 1637. - 75 pl.