LONDON. Power of Attorney. black. Folds, with tears, some paper missing at the edges of the trimmed borders. Slightly discoloured paper. Stuck on cardboard to reinforce the paper. The text and signatures are complete and hardly affected by the above mentioned condition problems. This is a Power of Attorney through which Anna Oldfield gives the power to James Round to sell in her name £1,000 of stock in the "Governor and Company of the merchants of Great Britain, trading to the South Seas and other parts of America, and for the encouragement of fishing", commonly known as the South Sea Co. Created in 1711, it was granted a monopoly of British trade with South America and the Pacific islands. It was highly successful. Towards the end of 1719 the directors recommended to the government that they take over the whole of the national debt, persuading the holders to exchange their annuities for South Sea stock. That stock would be sold at a high premium, repaying a large amount of debt. The stock appreciated in value, and the public bought at ever higher prices. From £128 in January 1720 it rose to £1000 in early August. Then the price fell, down to £135 in November. Thousands of people were ruined. The company continued to exist, with no great prosperity until the 19th century, when it was dissolved. Note that this certificate was issued the year following the South Sea Bubble. The owner, Anne Oldfield (1683-1730) was a very famous English actress. By 1704 she had become one of Drury Lane's leading actresses and a few years later, she was said to be the highest paid actress of her time and remained a theatrical idol until her death from cancer at the age of 47. She was buried in Westminster Abbey.
Themes: BEFORE 1800, FISHERY, SHIPPING
Date: 14 June 1721
Startprice: € 600