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Royal Exchange

Thomas Gresham's Royal Exchange, which had opened in 1570, broke new ground in luxury consumption. Modeled after the Antwerp Bourse, it brought together merchants in international trade, those who sailed to Russia, North Africa, American, and elsewhere in search of luxury goods. There were two floors of small shops, each only five feet by seven and one-half feet. At first Gresham had trouble filling them, but by the end of the century there was a waiting list of merchants eager to set up shop at the Exchange. 




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Wenceslaus Hollar. Byrsa Londinensis vulgo the Royal Exchange. Etching, ca. 1644

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