South Sea Bubble circa 1770


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South Sea Bubble, Trompe l’oeil, published by Carington Bowles, circa 1770 Greetings Card.

130 x 180 mm, contained in cellophane wrapper with fitted envelope. Price includes Postage & Packing within UK. 

The South Sea Bubble was the financial collapse of the South Sea Company in 1720. The company was formed to supply slaves to Spanish America.

Formed in 1711 in London and its purpose was to supply 4800 slaves each year for 30 years to the Spanish plantations in Central and Southern America. Britain had secured the rights to supply slaves to Spanish America at the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713. The South Sea Company bought the contract from the British government for £9,500,000, a large proportion of Britain’s national debt.

The sum was so huge because it was hoped that more lucrative trading rights with South America could be won once Britain got a toehold in the market. It was also assumed that the profits from slave trading would be enormous, which proved not to be the case.

Speculators paid inflated prices for the stock, leading eventually to the company’s spectacular financial collapse in 1720. A large number of people were ruined by the share collapse, and the national economy greatly reduced as a result. A parliamentary inquiry held afterwards, found that many had profited unlawfully from the company and had their assets confiscated.

Additional information

Weight .21 kg
Dimensions 130 × 180 cm