Back in the 1630s, "tulipmania" swept through the modern-day Netherlands as collectors clamored for rare "broken bulb" tulips, featuring a striped pattern as opposed to a single color. While the currency of that time is now obsolete, some estimates have put the rarest of tulips as selling for the equivalent of $750,000 by today's standards, although many were in the $50,000 - $150,000 range.

With the tulip trade booming by 1636, you could trade tulip bulbs at official marts via the Stock Exchange of Amsterdam.

Unfortunately, much like the housing bust of 2008, the tulip market was undone by citizens purchasing bulbs they couldn't afford, hoping that they'd make their money back by selling them.

The instability this created ultimately deteriorated the market entirely — new buyers held out on buying, and overextended purchasers were forced to sell their tulips at an increasingly declining rate to try and recoup some of their investment. It's not all grim news, though. Despite some urban legends around the crash suggesting mass declarations of bankruptcy, it seems there are no official records to back this up and ultimately, the Dutch economy wasn't directly affected by the tulip boom (or bust).

More Info: