Tulips were once more valuable than gold
The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign horticulture educator Martha Smith notes in a 2011 article that, back in the 1620s, "tulips were worth more than gold." Why were these particular plants so pricey? "Initially the tulip was a rarity only the very wealthy could afford," she further explains. Indeed, at the time, a single "Rembrandt-type bulb reached the equivalent of $1,500," which "was 10 times the annual income of a skilled craftsman or the price of a large house."