Saturday, December 29, 2007

Semper Augustus

From :

A Rosen, with blood-red flares or flames vividly streaked on a white ground, and flakes and flashes of the same color at the pedals' edge, Semper Augustus was, by all accounts, an extraordinary flower, and one celebrated at the time for its beauty and rarity. Because Semper Augustus was scarce, it was coveted and because it was desirable, it was expensive (indeed, by the time the market collapsed, the number of bulbs probably never was much greater than it had been originally). This rarity was reflected in the price. In 1623, one bulb was sold for a thousand guilders. Even then, the owner felt cheated when it was discovered that there were two offsets when lifted from the ground. The next year, only a dozen examples was said to exist, each of which could have sold for 1,200 guilders and all owned by an anonymous individual who refused to part with them, realizing that the price would fall if he did not control the market. The following year, 2,000 and then 3,000 guilders were offered for a single bulb but the owner still could not make up his mind, not wanting to increase the supply of such a rare bulb and appreciating that even more might be realized if he waited.

In 1633, one Semper Augustus was said to have sold for 5,500 guilders, and in 1637, just before the crash, a price of 10,000 guilders was asked, an exorbitant amount that would have purchased a grand home on the most fashionable canal in Amsterdam.

No comments: