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Re: VMs: Mad Kircher, was (lots)

Jacques Guy wrote:

> Apparently first minted in Venice in the 13th century.

Things are even more complicated, it seems, as
the original ducat of Venice was only a unit
of account (much like the British guinea) and
only in 1561 and 1608 they actually minted 
both silver and gold coins of the same value.

It was equivalent to 6 lire di piccoli, 4 soldi,
ie. 124 soldi (or, alternatively, 24 grossi).
A daily wage of a master builder in venice circa
1600 was about 50 soldi, so by this count he earned 
a ducat in 2,5 days. Assuming 25 work days per month,
he earned 10 ducats a month.

The above data from this interesting PDF book sample:


It would be important to know what ducats 
Dee is referring to, as the name was used 
for various gold coins, too. Polish "zloty" 
actually is the adjective "gold" still today,
it the name was used as synonym for ducat and
florin in the period of interest to us. Polish
ducats of the late 16th c. weighed 3,5-3,59 grams
of 95,8% gold. But unlike the Ventian ducat, it
was equivalent to 30 grossi. Polish silver grossi
(grosz, grosch) weighed 2,06 grams with 37,5% of
pure silver.

So one Polish ducat was equivalent to 
circa 23 grams of pure silver or
circa 3,5 grams of gold.

I am not sure how to count today's price of
those amounts pf precious metals - but I am
quite sure that the ratio differs from that
in the 16th c., so we shall arrive at different
values when counting ducats by their silver

And - once again - the sum calculated in this way
does not tell us much about the purchasing power
circa 1600, as the structure of prices and wages
was very different, and the value of gold/silver 
is not absolute. 

Best regards,

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