There was a short period of time (1636 – 1637) in Holland when a single tulip bulb sold for ten times the annual income of a skilled workman. In some instances, single bulbs were traded for twelve acres of land, four oxen, twelve fat sheep, 1,000 pounds of cheese or — believe it or not — two tons of butter.
As a result, tulip bulbs soon became a luxury item noted for their multicolored and intricate lines and flame-like streaks (caused by a mosiac virus). Toward the end of the craze, tulip traders could no longer find new buyers willing to pay the extraordinary high prices the bulbs were fetching. The demand for them collapsed and prices plummeted.
Ed Myers, an Advanced Master Gardener, is the Steward of the Benton House Historic Garden, 312 South Downey Avenue, where SILVER STANDARD (1750) a white tulip with vivid red veins and streaks can be seen.
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