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The E-Sylum: Volume 13, Number 9, February 28, 2010, Article 14

ON 18TH CENTURY MONETARY UNITS

Bruce Smith writes:

The October-December 2009 issue of The Asylum arrived yesterday (23 February 2010) and once again is filled with fascinating and obscure information. For me the highlight was the front cover, which reproduced a small portion of one page of a table of 18th century monetary systems and exchange rates.

That one small section contained five monetary units not found in Frey's Dictionary of Numismatic Names -- which lists between 4,000 and 5,000 world monetary units and terms. The previously unlisted terms, all from Italy, are: BAYOC (6 Quatrini = 1 Bayoc; 10 Bayocs = 1 Julio); JULE (18 Soldi = 1 Jule; 3 Jules = 1 Testoon); JULIO (10 Bayocs = 1 Julio; 3 Julios = 1 Testoon); PAULO (40 Quatrini = 1 Paulo); and PICHILI (6 Pichili = 1 Grain; 8 Pichili = 1 Ponti).

The Julio and Jule are apparently different names for the same term. Whether there are coins corresponding to those denominations, I do not know. The Pichili is certainly the same as or a version of Frey's Picciolo (6 Picciolo = 1 Grano). The Paulo may be related to Frey's Paolo, but the exchange rates don't seem to match.

As for the origins of the terms, Julio, Jule and Paulo are probably named after some ruler or pope. Pichili, no doubt is a form of Piccolo, which according to Adrian Room's book on the origins of coin denominations, comes from "denaro piccolo" (lesser denaro or coin). I was not familiar with the term Ponti. It is listed in Frey though he does not give the origin or the term.

Bayoc was a mystery to me at first. I checked my card file of coin denominations, and believe this is a form of Baiocco (a well known Italian denomination), which also appears as Baio, Bajocco, Bioc, Byok and Baiock. One source says the origin of this word is Italian "bajo" meaning brown -- referring to the color of the coin (originally billon, later copper).

Another source says the term comes from Baiocas, the Latin name of the city of Bayeux as it appears in inscriptions of Merovingian coins. Bayeux, of course, is in Normandy in northern France, but Italy (at least the northern part) was once part of the empire of Charlemagne.

So where can I see the rest of that 18th century table of exchange rates? Has it been posted on the internet?

David Yoon, Editor of The Asylum located the images on the web, and he provides the links as follows. -Editor

The American edition that Eric Newman wrote about and David Fanning identified can be seen here:
www.archive.org/stream/newsystemofmoder02guth#page/n744/mode/1up

However, for layout reasons, I used a sample page from a different edition of the same book, which can be seen here:
books.google.com/books?id=ZlsBAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA1023 .

Wayne Homren, Editor

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To submit items for publication in The E-Sylum, write to the Editor at this address: whomren@gmail.com

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