Historical Returns | Financial Bubbles

Historical Gallery

All of the images in this gallery come from the historical collections of Baker Library at Harvard Business School. They are some of the many artifacts in the library that bring the historic events of the South Sea Bubble to life.

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Lucipher's new row-barge

Lucipher's new row-barge

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Lucipher's new row-barge: [no. 2], [London?: s.n., 1721]. Bancroft Collection.

Formal investigations of the South Sea Bubble affair exposed a web of deceit, corruption, and bribery that included company directors, government officials, and members of the royal family. Many, including South Sea Company cashier Robert Knight, the subject of the satire shown here, fled the country and took incriminating evidence with them. Sir Robert Walpole rose to power as the first British prime minister, largely due to his successful management of the financial crisis caused by the South Sea Bubble.