Jan Breughel the Younger’s Satire of Tulip Mania, circa 1640 (Image: Wikimedia)

The great tulip bubble of 1637 is probably going to be bumped out of a lot of finance textbooks pretty soon because a far more astonishing and incomprehensible rise in prices has happened in 2021 and, just possibly, it's starting to unwind.

They call them “meme stocks”. Unlike the memes your uncle emails to you (FW: FW: FW: Funny!), these are real companies trading on the market for real money. Trading for a lot more money than they used to. 

The graph below shows the prices of some of the hottest assets of 2020-21. They include pure meme stocks Game Stop (GME), a computer game retailer, and AMC Entertainment (AMC), a movie theatre chain headquartered in Kansas. Also included are cryptocurrencies Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH), plus the original hot stock, Tesla (TSLA).