Budju vs. Kurus

Started by KennyisaG, July 23, 2014, 10:39:30 AM

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What was the value of the Algerian budju relative to the Ottoman kurus? Budju had a weight of 10g with 85% purity, while the kurus stood at 2.6g with 22% purity.
Numista Team Member: SmartOneKg


The Ottoman empire should not be seen as a monobloc state. The central part, with the Constantinople and Cairo mints, was ruled directly by the Porte, but outlying areas had a large degree of independence. Therefore, it should not surprise that there was no fixed conversion rate between the coins of Constantinople and those of Algiers. The only exception I know of are early gold issues. Algiers was a prime source of gold, coming from what Europeans later would call the Gold Coast in caravans across the desert. The Algiers mint was the main source of large gold coins for the whole Ottoman empire. These coins were accepted in European countries.

From: Dictionnaire Historique des Monnoies by M de Salzade (Brussels, 1767): Monnoie d'or qui avoit cours sous Louis VII & sous Philippe Auguste entre l'an 1187 & 1201 , il pesoit environ un double Ducat , c'est-à-dire 5 deniers dix grains au titre de 22 Karats ; sous Philippe le Hardy le Bezant d'or fut taxé par Arrèt du Parlement de la Pentecôte en 1282 , à huit sols Tournois , le marc d'argent alors ne valoit que 54 s. à la cérémonie de Sacré de nos Rois , on portait à l'offrande , un pain , un baril d'argent plein de vin , & treize Bezants d'or , le Bezant d'or vaut plus de dix livres dix sols à 27 l. le marc.

From: A Diatribe of Mony or coin by E. Leigh (London 1671): Bizantines or Bezants, as coined at Constantinople, sometimes called Bizantium, and not Besanson in Burgundy, plates of gold are called Bezantes ; and in the Court of England where a great piece of Gold valued at fifteen pound, which the King offereth upon high Festivall days is yet called a Bizantine, (...)

As you can see, confusion reigns on valuation and even time period of circulation. The Bezant was Anglified as the gold noble.

In general, "foreign" silver coins were exchanged by money traders, like the shroffs in India. These people would first check if the coin was allowed in circulation and if it was genuine. For this, they had tariff books. The money exchangers would modify the tariff by factors such as tradition (for well known coins), trust (or rather, the lack of it) and a hefty fee for themselves (20% was the minimum). If a coin was not in the tariff books it would be weighed and its silver content estimated very conservatively. In this particular case, the budju would have been cautiously welcomed in some Mediterranean ports (Barcelona, Monaco, Genoa, Syracuse, Bari, Venice), but would be discounted heavily more inland. Ottoman coins were widely distrusted, as the sultans continuously diminished their silver content, due to the cost of almost constant warfare. In addition, there was a bewildering variety of moneys of account, mostly based on non-existent coins, varying from one town to the next.

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