Before you answer that, no, in this scenario you are not the villain of a Mission: Impossible flick.
If, instead, you are a 17th century Dutch investor, you might be willing to pay the equivalent of ten years' income. Ten years of hard work just to buy...
Yep, that's a tulip.
Back in the 1630s, in a phenomenon known as Tulip Mania, tulip prices in the Netherlands soared to unstable heights. The most expensive tulips were like the one pictured above: striped instead of solid.
And what caused those stripes? A virus! The "tulip breaking virus" specifically, which, in addition to the stripes, causes the tulip to weaken. Weak = rare. Rare = valuable. And there you have it--a virus worth loads of money.
Now I get that tulips are beautiful. Personally I like the solid colors better, especially the yellow ones.
gratuitous yellow tulips
But regardless of color or design, tulips are my favorite flowers. I mean, just look at these. Such vibrant colors! Still, I would never pay thousands of dollars for one bulb.
But then... I'm not a 17th century Dutch investor, am I?
[This post brought to you by: "Eeeeeee, tulips!" aka: "I have a shiny new book idea, but I can't work on it yet, so here's some research thinly disguised as a blog post."]