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seppo

Il doblone di zecca papale (nel 1740)?

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seppo

(mi dispiace per la traduzione automatica, il testo in inglese è alla fine)

Ciao a tutti,

Qualcuno può dirmi i dettagli sul "doblone" nel sistema monetario dello Stato Pontificio a metà degli anni 1700? E 'citato da Giacomo Casanova nelle sue memorie. Nella primavera del 1744, era a Rimini e ha dovuto pagare ad un ufficiale spagnolo "50 doblones" per un cavallo.

La nota del redattore nelle memorie afferma che "questo è probabilmente il doblon spagnola (pistola), che fu coniata fino al 1858, del valore di quattro piastre." Ma sembra strano che le monete coniate in Spagna sarebbero stati utilizzati come moneta in Italia. D'altra parte, le forze militari spagnole erano presenti a Rimini, e possibilmente "50 doblones" è stato utilizzato solo come misura del valore del cavallo, da pagare in valuta locale.

Ma forse parla Casanova sul doblone della zecca papale? Qual era il suo valore, ed è stato in uso come moneta nel 1740?

(A proposito, è "piastra" solo un altro nome per "scudo d'oro" dello Stato Pontificio nel 1740?)

-----

Hello all,

Can anyone tell me details about the "doblone" in the monetary system of the Papal states in the mid-1700's? It is mentioned by Giacomo Casanova in his memoirs. In spring 1744, he was in Rimini and had to pay to a Spanish officer 50 "doblones" for a horse.

The editor's footnote in the memoirs says that "this is probably the Spanish doblon (pistola) which was minted until 1858, worth four piastres." But it seems strange that coins minted in Spain would be used as currency in Italy. On the other hand, the Spanish military forces were present in Rimini, and possibly "50 doblones" was only used as a measure of the value of the horse, to be payed in local currency.

But maybe Casanova talks about the doblone of the Papal mint? What was its value, and was it in use as currency in the 1740's?

(By the way, is "piastra" just another name for "scudo d'oro" of the Papal states in the 1740's?)

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Paleologo

Hi Seppo, there was no coin named doblone in the Papal monetary system. However, since a doblone usually means a gold coin valued 2 doppie, the corresponding coin in the Papal system should be the quadrupla i.e. 2 doppie (doppi scudi d'oro) i.e. 4 scudi d'oro. 50 quadruple for a horse seems to me way off the price (over 500 gms. gold!). Pistola however usually means the doppia, which would cut the sum by half making it more sound. Piastra is the name of a large silver coin (over 30 gms.) the was minted in the Papal States from the end of the XVI to the beginning of the XVIII c. In the 1740's it wasn't minted anymore, and was replaced by the scudo d'argento. Since the scudo was the accounting currency worth 100 baiocchi, its value should be the same no matter whether it was minted in gold or silver. However, I never heard of the word piastra with respect to the scudo d'oro. Hope this helps, and doesn't just make more confusion :(

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seppo

Hi Seppo, there was no coin named doblone in the Papal monetary system. However, since a doblone usually means a gold coin valued 2 doppie, the corresponding coin in the Papal system should be the quadrupla i.e. 2 doppie (doppi scudi d'oro) i.e. 4 scudi d'oro.

Thanks for clearing this confusion. I was browsing the net for "doblone" and "papal", and got a few hits - e.g. the Catholic Ensyclopedia at http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/10334a.htm , which led me to misunderstand that several coins of different value were "officially" called doblones.

50 quadruple for a horse seems to me way off the price (over 500 gms. gold!). Pistola however usually means the doppia, which would cut the sum by half making it more sound.

Even 250 grams of gold sounds pretty steep for a horse :) On the other hand, Casanova took the horse without permission (he just tried mounting it for fun, and never having done that before he made the horse bolt and it took him straight across the front lines from the Spanish army to the Austrians.) As the Spanish had his trunk and passport, he had to pay for the horse in order to get them back. Maybe there was some compensation in the price of the horse for the trouble and grief caused to the owner.

Casanova writes in French, and does not use the french word "doublons", but writes "doblones" instead. So, if "doblone" would normally refer to a quadrupla, it might be that he actually means the doppia, and is playfully using the Spanish plural "doblones" as he is dealing with a commissioner of the Spanish army (he has a tendency to play with languages when dealing with other nationalities, e.g. at one point he refers to king Carlo Borbone as "Don Carlos").

Piastra is the name of a large silver coin (over 30 gms.) the was minted in the Papal States from the end of the XVI to the beginning of the XVIII c. In the 1740's it wasn't minted anymore, and was replaced by the scudo d'argento. Since the scudo was the accounting currency worth 100 baiocchi, its value should be the same no matter whether it was minted in gold or silver. However, I never heard of the word piastra with respect to the scudo d'oro.

Again, it's something I found on the internet, so it must be true :) - see http://roma.andreapollett.com/S7/monpapi.htm . So, the piastra is more like an "old version of the scudo". Thanks for clearing that confusion too. I wonder why the editor of the memoirs makes a specific mention of the pistola being worth four piasters, if the piastra wasn't even minted any more - and is that even correct, if the piastra was the old equivalent of the scudo: shouldn't the pistola then be worth two scudi, not four?

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niko

We can also consider that the amount was expressed in "doblones", but the payment occured in currency circulating in the Italian territory. in my opinion is the most simple and accurate.

was only used as a measure of the value of the horse, to be payed in local currency.

Nicholas

ps. sorry for my bad English.

Modificato da niko

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Paleologo

Again, it's something I found on the internet, so it must be true :) - see http://roma.andreapo.../S7/monpapi.htm .

I know the site. It's generally accurate, so it must be like this.

So, the piastra is more like an "old version of the scudo". Thanks for clearing that confusion too. I wonder why the editor of the memoirs makes a specific mention of the pistola being worth four piasters, if the piastra wasn't even minted any more - and is that even correct, if the piastra was the old equivalent of the scudo: shouldn't the pistola then be worth two scudi, not four?

Yes, I agree. But I wouldn't be surprised if usage changed with time, as there was no papal coin named pistola as well. I guess more informed advice is required. Rcamil, ci sei???

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seppo

Again, it's something I found on the internet, so it must be true :) - see http://roma.andreapo.../S7/monpapi.htm .

It also says there that the doppia d'oro was first introduced in the 1770' s, and was worth 3 scudi (not four and not two). Maybe we should concentrate on the situation in the 1740's in trying to figure out what "doblones" refers to.

But I wouldn't be surprised if usage changed with time, as there was no papal coin named pistola as well.

Could the scudo d'oro, being close or equal in value, have inherited the name "piastra" from the old silver piastra after it wasn't minted any more? And when the scudo d'argento was introduced, "piastra" remained the nickname of the gold coin?

As Niko agrees, it is plausible that the price of the Spanish officer's horse was quoted in Spanish doblónes (pistolas), which were worth two papal scudi (approximately?), and the price would have been paid, of course, in local currency. In my opinion, that's the most likely explanation so far.

It would help if we knew what a trained military riding horse with saddle and other extras was worth in gold in the 1740's :)

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rcamil
I guess more informed advice is required. Rcamil, ci sei???

Here I am !! ;)

if the piastra was the old equivalent of the scudo: shouldn't the pistola then be worth two scudi, not four?

The piastra (minted until 1740, Sede Vacante) wasn't the exact equivalent of the scudo, a piastra worth 10 and half giuli (or 105 baiocchi) the silver scudo (minted since 1753, Benedetto XIV) only 100 baiocchi (10 giuli).

Pistola, in the second half of 16th century, is another name fore the papal gold scudo (look at the picture, a french weight for 4 pistole = 4 gold scudo = 13,172 grams):

post-35-1281091090,29_thumb.jpg

In the 18th century, pistola was another name for the doppia (2 gold scudo), and also in the beginning of 19th century it was used in France for the doppia romana, a new coin (minted since 1776) that worth 30 paoli (or 3 silver scudo).

Look at the picture below, from a french book printed in 1806:

post-35-1281091114,69_thumb.jpg

RCAMIL.

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Paleologo

It also says there that the doppia d'oro was first introduced in the 1770' s, and was worth 3 scudi (not four and not two).

This is certainly correct for the 1770s, as it was also known as doppia da 30 paoli (1 scudo = 10 paoli; gulio and paolo are two names for the same coin) but could easily be different when the name was first introduced in the late XVI c. In fact, I would consider the XVIII c. doppia as a brand new coin, introduced as a replacement to the zecchino.

Could the scudo d'oro, being close or equal in value, have inherited the name "piastra" from the old silver piastra after it wasn't minted any more? And when the scudo d'argento was introduced, "piastra" remained the nickname of the gold coin?

It certainly could, but I know no evidence for this.

By the way, I've recently seen a (probably French) monetary weight with 4 PISTOLE D'ITALIE written on it. The weight, at least as declared by the seller, was equal to 4 scudi d'oro. There is great confusion under the sky...

Edit: Cross-posting. I refer to exactly the same weight shown by Rcamil above

Modificato da Paleologo

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seppo

There is great confusion under the sky...

There certainly is :) This is not really very important, but I like digging into details like this sometimes. Maybe we should ignore all interpretations by the editor and just look at the first-hand evidence given by Casanova himself:

1) The year is 1744

2) The place is the Papal states (Rimini and Pesaro)

3) Casanova reports being obliged to pay 50 doblones (his exact word) for a riding horse with saddle and all other gear.

4) The price is dictated by the owner of the horse, a commissioner of the Spanish army by the name of Don Marcello Birac (Casanova's own spelling), and this price is conveyed to Casanova in a letter from a French officer serving in the same army.

The Spanish doblón would make sense if it was used as the currency of account by the Spanish army when paying wages - then it would be a common yardstick of currency for all in Spanish service, who would be used to quoting prices of things in doblónes.

On the other hand, the word doblone exists also in the Italian language. If this word was in use in the Papal states in the 1740's and referred to a coin worth four papal scudi, we need to figure out which of these two Casanova means by doblones.

As was pointed out earlier, the latter interpretation of 50 doblones would mean more than 500 grams of gold for a horse and riding gear. That does sound really expensive, even if it contains compensation for the distress caused to the owner of the horse when Casanova "accidentally stole" it. Ignoring what the editor says, does anyone know how many 1740's papal scudi the Spanish doblón was worth approximately?

It would certainly help to know how much a trained riding horse with gear was worth in gold in the 1740's... :)

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Paleologo
DOBLÓN.- Nombre de monedas de oro de diferentes épocas que equivalían al doble de la unidad monetaria. Normalmente nos referimos con este nombre a la moneda de oro de dos escudos y de 6,8 g. de peso, también se llama doblón de a cuatro a la media onza con valor de 4 escudos de oro y doblón de a ocho a la onza con valor de 8 escudos de oro.

Source: tesorillo.com

Therefore:

doblón (6,77 gr. gold) = 2 scudi d'oro papali (2x3,293=6,586 gr. gold, possibly with slightly higher finesse?)

doblón de a cuatro = 4 scudi d'oro

doblón de a ocho = 8 scudi d'oro

So if Casanova meant the standard doblón he would have paid the horse 338,5 gr. gold, or the approximate equivalent of 100 scudi d'oro. This doesn't certainly sound like a bargain but maybe it still is a sensible price for a luxury item + compensation. Unfortunately up to now I haven't found any price reference for the period.

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seppo

I know Wikipedia isn't the first source to trust, but at http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monetazione_pontificia it says:

Altre monete usate negli Stati pontifici

(...)

il doblone = 2 scudi vecchi = 3,3 scudi del XIX secolo;

If this is true and "doblone" referred simply to 2 scudi in the Papal states in the 1740's, it would neatly explain what Casanova is referring to, and the price of the horse would have been 100 scudi. Is this Wikipedia information correct? Was there a 2-scudi coin called "doblone" after all, or at least the notion of calling the sum of 2 scudi a "doblone"?

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Paleologo

I know Wikipedia isn't the first source to trust

Unfortunately it seems this Wikipedia page is below even Wiki standards ;)

Altre monete usate negli Stati pontifici

Altre monete che erano state usate in vari periodi negli Stati pontifici furono la baiocchella, cioè una moneta da un baiocco di rame ricoperta d'argento e di dimensioni minori.

Silver-covered copper? No sorry, the baiocchella was a billon coin: silver-copper alloy with less than 50% silver

Ci furono diverse monete nei due metalli dal valore di 2, 4, 6, 8, 12 e 16 baiocchi a cui vennero dati diversi soprannomi:

la madonnina di Bologna era una moneta di rame dal valore di 5 baiocchi, fatta coniare da Pio VI nel 1797-98; Il Papa ne fece coniare diverse varianti a nome di molte città ma furono tutte battute a Bologna. La maggior parte dei coni erano di Tommaso Mercandetti.[1]

il sampietrino (Pio VI) = 2½ baiocchi, cioè la metà della madonnina; era stato coniato nello stesso periodo, ma fu ritirato già nel 1801.[1]

Unfortunately, Bologna was the only Papal mint of the time were the madonnina and sampietrino were NOT minted. This sentence, wherever it comes from, is complete bullshit and I seriously doubt it can be quoted from Martinori as in note. The bilon pieces mentioned above were collectively known as muraiole.

la paludella era un soldo di rame-argento, coniato da Pio VI per pagare il lavoratori delle Paludi pontine;[2]

Definitely not an official name, it could be the same as the baiocchella mentioned above; however, not mentioned in any reference book.

And so on... curiously, the bibliography does not even mention the work by Muntoni, i.e. the current standard for Papal coin history and classification.

Anyway, the line about the doblone is in agreement with what we said earlier: 1 doblone = 2 scudi d'oro. Certainly there was no papal 2-scudi coin minted at the time, at least as a standard issue, so the word dobloni should only refer to the total value and not to the physical coins, or the payment was not supposed to be done in papal currency (actually, it was reasonable for the Spanish officer to calculate amounts in his own standard currency)

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seppo

Anyway, the line about the doblone is in agreement with what we said earlier: 1 doblone = 2 scudi d'oro. Certainly there was no papal 2-scudi coin minted at the time, at least as a standard issue, so the word dobloni should only refer to the total value and not to the physical coins, or the payment was not supposed to be done in papal currency (actually, it was reasonable for the Spanish officer to calculate amounts in his own standard currency)

I'm convinced :) Just to clear the doblone = quadrupla idea: is it correct to assume that "doblone" was adopted as the name of the quadrupla (or 4 scudi) only some time after such a coin was really minted in the 1770's? And before this, the term "doblone" would have referred to the sum of 2 scudi also in Italian language?

Casanova was actually back in Venice and the Papal states in the late 1770's, so he would have known about the new quadrupla coin when writing his memoirs. But he probably wouldn't have used the word doblone in this meaning when writing down his adventures of the 1740's, and anyway the price of the horse would have been astronomical. :)

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rcamil

Anyway, the line about the doblone is in agreement with what we said earlier: 1 doblone = 2 scudi d'oro.

Per esserne certi occorrerebbe avere per le mani qualche documento di pagamento con tanto di conversione in altre monete (es. scudi e baiocchi), era uso all'epoca tenere le contabilità con la parte descrittiva che riportava i nomi "popolari" delle valute e la parte numerica convertita nelle monete reali (o di conto).

Uscirne vivi senza questi dati certi mi sa difficile ;)

Va detto che l'uso popolare dei nomi delle monete è difficile da cambiare per cui suppongo che DOBLONE sia sempre rimasto in uso per indicare i 4 scudi, comprese le monete assimilabili coniate da stati esteri e circolanti in Italia.

Just to clear the doblone = quadrupla idea: is it correct to assume that "doblone" was adopted as the name of the quadrupla (or 4 scudi) only some time after such a coin was really minted in the 1770's? And before this, the term "doblone" would have referred to the sum of 2 scudi also in Italian language?

I read the spanish use of DOBLÓN instead of DOPPIA (from tesorillo.com), but in the Papal States DOBLONE was the name of the papal QUADRUPLA (or spanish 4 escudos or similar coins) since XVII century; DOBLA (doppia) was the name for 2 scudi.

It's improbable that the popular use (spoken language) of these terms has changed during time.

Please look at the following picture, papal monetary weights (pope Clemente XI, 1700-1721) for gold coins, from SCUDO to DOBLONE DOPPIO:

scalapesimonetaliclemen.jpg

Casanova was in the Papal States, he thought (and wrote) as an Italian or as a Spanish ? ;)

RCAMIL.

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seppo

I read the spanish use of DOBLÓN instead of DOPPIA (from tesorillo.com), but in the Papal States DOBLONE was the name of the papal QUADRUPLA (or spanish 4 escudos or similar coins) since XVII century; DOBLA (doppia) was the name for 2 scudi.

It's improbable that the popular use (spoken language) of these terms has changed during time.

Yes, it just occurred to me that it would be very disorienting to have old coins in circulation with a factor of 2 difference in value but with the same name as a new coin :)

From the word doblones used by Casanova we can narrow the alternatives down to either Spanish doblón or the papal quadrupla, and using common sense it is much more likely that he was referring to the doblón because a horse simply cannot be worth 600+ grams of gold.

Please look at the following picture, papal monetary weights (pope Clemente XI, 1700-1721) for gold coins, from SCUDO to DOBLONE DOPPIO:

Very enlightening! Is this picture on some web page? The last coin, I presume, is of the same value as the Spanish doblón de a ocho which is mentioned by Casanova earlier in another context. Can you tell me what "Spagna" and "Italia" refer to on these papal coins - is it just to clarify that the coin conforms to the weight and value system of Spain or Italy?

Casanova was in the Papal States, he thought (and wrote) as an Italian or as a Spanish ? ;)

He wrote in French because that was the international language of high society at the time, but he certainly thought in Italian - the text has many charming italianisms. He also plays with languages when dealing with different nationalities, for instance calling Carlo di Borbone "Don Carlos" at one point.

In case you haven't read his memoirs, I can highly recommend them (the real ones, not the distorted and partially faked translations-of-translations that were spread around until his original manuscript was rediscovered in the 20th century after being lost for some 140 years). His reputation as simply a womanizer is to a high degree based on these abridged fakes, and is not fair to him. He certainly was very popular and active with the ladies, but I'd estimate that only about 1-2% of his real memoirs describe that part of his life (in detail, I might add :blush: ) - there's maybe one amorous adventure per 30 pages or so.

All the rest is a wonderful headlong dive into history, society and life (and currencies ;) ) in the 18th century, all over Europe, and he's a talented and learned writer who looks back at his life with an old man's endearing honesty, warmth and a witty sense of humor. Research of the correspondence of his acquaintances and lovers and of official records has shown that he is for the most part very truthful, and not making things up.

His original unedited manuscript was published in 1960 under the title "Histoire de ma vie" (the present reference edition is the 1993 Bouquins edition, which is very thoroughly commented to make contemporary details easier to follow), and there are, surprisingly for a 3600-page magnum opus, two Italian translations:

1) Piero Chiara (a cura di), traduzione Giancarlo Buzzi - Giacomo Casanova, Storia della mia vita, ed. Mondadori 1965. VII voll. di cui uno di note, documenti e apparato critico.

Piero Chiara e Federico Roncoroni (a cura di) - Giacomo Casanova, Storia della mia vita, ed. Mondadori "I meridiani" 1983. III voll. Ultima edizione Mondadori "I meridiani" 2001.

2) Bartalini Bigi P.; Grasso M. (traduzione) - Giacomo Casanova, Storia della mia vita, Newton Compton (collana Grandi tascabili economici. I mammut).

The second one is a bright red, very inexpensive, tightly printed paperback edition in two volumes, but it has much less commentary. I have it for cross-checking purposes, and it seems to be very faithful to the original French text. Both translations seem to be available at least here: http://www.ibs.it/code/9788804212928/casanova-giacomo/storia-della-mia.html . Don't go for the fakes :)

Modificato da seppo

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rcamil

Please look at the following picture, papal monetary weights (pope Clemente XI, 1700-1721) for gold coins, from SCUDO to DOBLONE DOPPIO:

Very enlightening! Is this picture on some web page? The last coin, I presume, is of the same value as the Spanish doblón de a ocho which is mentioned by Casanova earlier in another context. Can you tell me what "Spagna" and "Italia" refer to on these papal coins - is it just to clarify that the coin conforms to the weight and value system of Spain or Italy?

I made this picture composing images of some of my monetary weights, now is on Lamoneta.it ;)

As you wrote, "Spagna" and "Italia" on the weights was a way to clarify that these weights are for italian (papal or other states) coins or spanish coins. There was a little difference between the two monetary systems, for example the weights for the spanish scudo (SCUDO STAMPE E SPAGNA; 3.35 grams) was slightly heavier than the one for the italian scudo (SCUDO D'ITALIA; 3.29 grams)

These weights are "official weights", coined (or casted) in the papal mint by the same engravers of the papal coins (like family Hamerani). The little arms on the obverse is the approval punch of the president of the papal mints.

RCAMIL.

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