Yale School of Management

International Center for Finance

Providing academic and professional support for research in financial economics.

Discover the ICF's South Sea Bubble of 1720 Financial History Collection

August 4, 2020

Interested in the South Sea Bubble of 1720?

Visit the Origins of Value online visual database where the ICF has collected a number of historical bonds, securities, financial instruments and documents related to the history of financial markets. Using the search function, you can view several items relating to the South Sea Bubble that Professors William Goerzmann and Geert Rouwenhorst have collected over the years and have posted online.

Below are some of the featured financial historical items from our online South Sea Bubble collection about the first global financial bubble that occurred 300 years ago in Paris, London and the Netherlands. Click on the links to view high-res images and zoom in on the documents in the Origins of Value virtual museum. Enjoy!

The Ladies Shirley Stock in the South Sea Company Transferred between sisters

Ladies Shirley StockDescription: In a document dated April 22, 1721, Lady Anna Elinora Shirley transferred "all such stock as is due to me for five hundred - pounds paid upon my name in the third subscription for sale of South Sea Stock" to the Acc of Hon the Landy Barbara Shirley. The signatures of Lady Anna Elinora Shirley and Elizabeth Franklin (witness) appear at the bottom. The ladies Shirley, both spinsters, were in all likelihood, sisters of the first Earl of Ferrers, Robert Shirley. These ladies were probably one of the first female speculators. Read more.

South Seas Annuity dividend receipt, 1730

Dividend ReceiptDescription: South Seas Annuity dividend receipt, 1730 - Annuities advance notice, printed form, addressed to John Bardin, Jr., completed in ms., and signed by J. Anderson and W. Dams. Read more.








Conditien van de maatschappy tot het asseureeren van scheepen en goederen binnen de stad Middelburg|Groote tafereel der dwaasheid

South Sea ChartersDesctiption: Part of a collection of company charters, pamphlets and regulations relating to the Dutch speculative mania of 1720 - 57 printed and 6 ms. items bound together under title page.: Het groote tafereel der dwaasheid. Only one page is listed. Read more.













About the Origins of Value online visual database: The goal of the collection is to identify securities that represent important innovations in financial markets. Many of the pieces in the exhibit represent a new method of raising capital, or a special event or period in capital market history. While interesting historically, the stories they tell are never-the-less pertinent to the global markets of today. Each piece in the collection is, in effect, a contract between a company or country and an investor. The design of these contracts were in some cases remarkably creative and some of the securities had a lasting impact -- not only on world finance, but on global politics.

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About the author

Electra Ferriello

Assistant Director ICF