‘Tulipmania’ was the first major financial bubble. Investors began to madly purchase tulips, pushing their prices to unprecedented highs; the average price of a single flower exceeded the annual income of a skilled worker. Tulips sold for over 4000 florins, the currency of the Netherlands at the time. As prices drastically collapsed over the course of a week, many tulip holders instantly went bankrupt.
At one point during the height of Europe’s tulip mania, a single Viceroy tulip bulb was purchased for two lasts of wheat, four lasts of rye, four fat oxen, eight fat swine, 12 fat sheep, two hogsheads of wine, four casks of beer, two tons of butter, a complete bed, a suit of clothes and even a silver drinking cup! In the winter of 1636-37, a valuable tulip bulb could change hands ten times in a day.
Wikipedia actually has a wealth of tulip mania related information available for those who are interested. Quite a fascinating topic, considering the ever constant rise and fall of the modern stock market in comparison!