Author Topic: Currency exchange in Limburg, 1760  (Read 1258 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Pellinore

  • Moderator
  • Honorary Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1 113
    • Some numismatic books for sale on our website
Currency exchange in Limburg, 1760
« on: January 23, 2016, 03:38:39 AM »
These are four pages from a tiny almanac printed in the city of Maestricht, 1760. That city was controlled by the Dutch stadtholder and also by the Prince Bishop of Liege, now Belgium.
In the first page you see a number of international coins and their values in florins/ guilders, stuivers and duiten.
The second page shows the exchange between money from the Netherlands and Liege: so. = sol (sou), fl. = florin/ guilder, li. = liard/ stuiver.

The third page shows a woodcut of a French gold coin I don't know, the Mirliton, worth 14 florins and 5 stuivers. I don't quite understand the 'deux grains de remede' section. And the fourth page shows the well-known Dutch ducat.
Of these coins, the value is expressed in 'fran.' and sous (you might think 'fous', a common mistake: the first letter is a 'long s').
But what does 'Fran.' stand for? Can anybody help?
-- Paul

Offline Manzikert

  • Honorary Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1 226
Re: Currency exchange in Limburg, 1760
« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2016, 10:50:46 AM »
A lovely book!

The coin is of course a Louis d'or from Lille, KM 470.21, but I've no idea what the name 'Mirliton' might be, appart from a local term in Liege.

The 'deux grains de remede' means that as long as it wasn't more than 2 grains underweight it would still be current for the 14 francs 15 sous.

The 'Fran.' is of course the franc, introduced as a unit of account quite early, but a gold 'franc a cheval' was struck in 1360 and a silver franc (20 sous) from the 1570's. After 1681 it became a unit of account again, equal to a livre tournois, and the Louis d'or around 1725 was supposed to be equivalent to 20 livres or 20 francs. This will have fluctuated with the value of gold, so at the time of the book in 1760 it was worth 14 francs 15 sous.

Alan
« Last Edit: January 23, 2016, 12:20:10 PM by Manzikert »

Offline Pellinore

  • Moderator
  • Honorary Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1 113
    • Some numismatic books for sale on our website
Re: Currency exchange in Limburg, 1760
« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2016, 11:28:38 AM »
Ah, 'franc' was used for livre, now I understand. A mirliton now is a kind of children's musical instrument, a flute or a comb-and-leaf, but this is its historical meaning according to a scientifical French language website. In other words, something bright, nice, small and round. Maybe the child's head of Louis XV has been taken into account.
I will make pictures for you of all the coin pages in the almanac, in a separate posting, so it may be removed to an adequate place.
-- Paul
« Last Edit: January 23, 2016, 01:17:28 PM by Pellinore »

Offline Pellinore

  • Moderator
  • Honorary Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1 113
    • Some numismatic books for sale on our website
Re: Currency exchange in Limburg, 1760
« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2016, 01:49:46 PM »
Almanach nouveau curieux pour l'année bissextile de N. Seigneur MDCCLX avec les noms des Mrs. du Noble Magistrat Ind. de cette Ville (...). Maestricht, Henry Landtmeter, [1759]. 9,7 x 5,7 cm. Contemporary boards. (144) pp. Monthly calendar interleaved with blanks. With 22 woodcut pictures of coins. First edition. Binding damaged, upper cover loose, repaired with scotch tape. Some browning and thumbing. Very rare and nice miniature Maastricht almanac for the year 1760. This year not in Worldcat (in fact, only one vol. in Worldcat: 1766).

Part C is dedicated to currency exchange, 26 pp. in all.

Title page + first part:

Offline Pellinore

  • Moderator
  • Honorary Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1 113
    • Some numismatic books for sale on our website
Re: Currency exchange in Limburg, 1760
« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2016, 01:51:57 PM »
Almanach nouveau curieux pour l'année bissextile de N. Seigneur MDCCLX avec les noms des Mrs. du Noble Magistrat Ind. de cette Ville (...). Maestricht, Henry Landtmeter, [1759]. 9,7 x 5,7 cm. Contemporary boards. (144) pp. Monthly calendar interleaved with blanks. With 22 woodcut pictures of coins. First edition. Binding damaged, upper cover loose, repaired with scotch tape. Some browning and thumbing. Very rare and nice miniature Maastricht almanac for the year 1760. This year not in Worldcat (in fact, only one vol. in Worldcat: 1766).

Part C is dedicated to currency exchange, 26 pp. in all.

Second and last part:


Offline Figleaf

  • Administrator
  • Honorary Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 28 237
Re: Currency exchange in Limburg, 1760
« Reply #5 on: January 23, 2016, 01:52:25 PM »
Maastricht was a part of the Republic. It was considered conquered territory (wingewest), so it didn't have a representation in the Federal "parliament" (Staten Generaal), but in fact, it was not conquered; it revolted against the prince-bishops of Liège/Luik.

The prince-bishops were from Bavaria, a catholic area in the South of Germany that was the nearest competitor to the Habsburgs in what is now Spain, Germany and Austria. In the complicated politics of those days, that meant the territory was used as a proxy battlefield, mainly by France and the Republic, with occasional appearances of England and bits and pieces of the Holy Roman Empire. This explains why not Liège, but France was generally the party threatening Maastricht and the statue to captain d'Artagnan, of "three musketeers" fame, who fell before the walls of Maastricht. It even explains Irish casualties in the Maastricht area.

Maastricht was a catholic outpost of the Republic, surrounded by Luik/Liège, who was usually also the bishop of Cologne, the Austrian Netherlands and a gaggle of autonomous towns, ranging from ancient Aachen to tiny Reckheim, all striking coins. These coins and others all circulated pell mell in the area. The booklet is to help merchants (the public at large wouldn't handle too many gold coins) cope with the confusing monetary mass, or, rather, mess.

The first page converts the value of coins in circulation into presumably Liégeois francs, sols and liards. On the last line, an Austrian Netherlands' escalin (schelling) is said to be 3 sols 2 liards, while a (presumably Austrian Netherlands) ducaton is valued at 5 francs 5 sols.

The second page gives a conversion table from Dutch to Liégeois money. The first table converts Dutch stuivers (called "sous") into francs (called what looks like "florins"), sous and liards. A quarter stuiver (duit) is said to be worth 1.2 liards. The right table converts 20 stuiver Dutch guldens (called "florins") also, not to be confused with a 14 stuiver Dutch-struck coin called florijn in a similar fashion.

Page 3 shows a Louis d'or 1725 Lille (type 1723-1725) Duplessy 1638, that is likely to have been one of the standard gold coins circulating in the area. The Louis d'or, the half and the double Louis d'or of this type were known popularly as mirliton, presumably because the L monogram reminded someone of a kazoo. The table converts it into silver values, so 1 mirliton is 14 francs 15 sous. Since the official tariff was 27 livres Tournois (with a l.T. being a franc), I presume the francs and sous are Liégeois money.

Page 4 does the same for the coin pictured, a ducat 1741 Dordrecht (type 1718-1805) Delmonte 965, Verkade 98.4.

In conclusion, the booklet is aimed at merchants from Luik who did business in the wider area. The prince-bishops would have considered reference to protestant money politically and religiously incorrect, so it was printed and presumably sold in relatively safe Maastricht in an easy to hide format.

The author/printer's first language is French, but he lives and works in Maastricht, a city that speaks Dutch with a strong German language influence. Maybe, in a previous iteration, he was a printer in Luik who got into trouble for printing a pamphlet or book the prince-bishop's zealots considered politically incorrect and had to flee. The nearest safe place would have been  ... Maastricht.

Peter
« Last Edit: January 23, 2016, 02:07:42 PM by Figleaf »
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline Pellinore

  • Moderator
  • Honorary Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1 113
    • Some numismatic books for sale on our website
Re: Currency exchange in Limburg, 1760
« Reply #6 on: January 23, 2016, 02:19:25 PM »
Thanks very much for this clarifying piece, Figleaf! And thanks for the kazoo, although I think the interlaced L's look more like a mouth harp, also a child's musical instrument.
You are quite right in pointing out that the gold coins and the amounts mentioned can be interesting only for rich people. The extensive charts probably were meant for rich people who weren't able to do mental calculation.

Henry (Henricus) Landtmeter was active as a printer in Maestricht for a very long time, 1740-1779, and his heirs until 1792. He was working as an official printer, nothing secret or controversial. French was a lingua franca among the better situated until  1900.

And here's an overview of French coinage under Louis XV, in which some of the coin names are being clarified.
-- Paul

Offline Figleaf

  • Administrator
  • Honorary Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 28 237
Re: Currency exchange in Limburg, 1760
« Reply #7 on: January 23, 2016, 03:22:00 PM »
I wasn't thinking of the printer himself, but rather his ancestors. Mine came from the Ardennes also, but they ended up in Leiden, because they were weavers and protestants.

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.