Holland is most famous in financial history for its Tulipmania in 1637 -- the prototype financial bubble against which all other bubbles will forever be measured. The price of one special, rare type of tulip bulb called Semper Augustus was 1000 guilders in 1623, 1200 guilders in 1624, 2000 guilders in 1625, and 5500 guilders in 1637. Shortly thereafter, the bottom fell out on the market and prices plummeted to 1/200 of their peak price.
Though tulip bulbs have spent the last 366 years in happy financial dormancy, the more contemporary mania involving stocks and irredeemable paper money continue to crop around the globe with disturbing regularity. A Dutch newspaper reported in 2002 that there now exists a tulip appropriately named Dow Jones, and advised that stock market investors might consider cashing in their holdings and investing the proceeds in (you guessed it) . . . tulip bulbs. It seems they are once again on the upswing. History teaches us that gold coins, like the Dutch 10 Guilder, protect one's portfolio against such mania.
Dutch Kings, as they have come to be known, are more difficult to obtain than the better-known Queen Wilhelmina 10 Guilder gold coins shown on the next page, though high-end brilliant uncirculated specimens show up often. The obverse depicts King Willem III, a ruler known for his autocratic tendencies. England's Victoria referred to him as the 'uneducated farmer.' He died in 1890 leaving the throne to his precocious daughter, Wilhelmina.