September 10, 2011

France, 1809

Jeannetty mentions the various clients and industries using his Platinum (similar to Wollaston's, but with dentists before chemists) and names several agents in Lyon.  

The Paris manufacturer's Lyon offer would necessarily include all transportation costs and depot markup, at a price significantly higher than Platinum in Paris. The price differential between Jeannety's Scrap Bid in Lyon (Fr. 15) and to chemists (Gehlen: Fr. 13) may reveal the minimum regional markup, typically known as "franc de port," or Fr. 2/Once, ~ 15.4% over the Paris retail price; the Lyon agent's trade discount would be additional, for a total markup conservatively estimated to be ~20%. 

1809: 1 Troy Ozt. Platinum (Paris: Scrap, Bid) = Fr 13.22 ($ 2.48)
1809: 1 Troy Ozt. Platinum (Paris: Semi-Mfg, Whols.) ~ Fr 22.36 ($ 4.19)
1809: 1 Troy Ozt. Platinum (Paris: Mfg, Whols.) ~ Fr 30.50 ($ 5.72)
1809: 1 Troy Ozt. Platinum (Paris: Scrap, Bid) = Fr 13.22 ($ 2.48)
1809: 1 Troy Ozt. Platinum (Paris: Semi-Mfg, Trade) = Fr 25.41 ($ 4.77)
1809: 1 Troy Ozt. Platinum (Paris: Mfg, Retail) = Fr 34.56 ($ 6.48)
1809: 1 Troy Ounce Platinum (Lyon: Scrap, Bid) = Fr 15.25 ($ 2.86)
1809: 1 Troy Ozt. Platinum (Lyon: Semi-Mfg, Trade) = Fr 27.45 ($ 5.15)
1809: 1 Troy Ozt. Platinum (Lyon: Mfg, Retail) = Fr 36.60 ($ 6.86)
... made this precious metal suitable for use in firearms, whether for breech-bush or for reinforcing pan-screws, and preferably replaces gold for these different uses; it is more substantial and less vulnerable to all reagents.  Messrs. Boutet, of the arms factory at Versailles, Lepage, Arlaut and all the musketeers in Paris are well served {by Platinum}, as well as dentists and chemists.  The price is Fr. 27  per Once, and Fr. 36 for chemists, entirely ready, and I take back scraps, filings and pieces deriving therefrom, free of all foreign matter, for Fr. 15 per Once.  Refer me to the width of breech-bush and size of the pan-screws that you desire; I will deliver them with the greatest accuracy the depot that is at M. Laurent-Micallef, Goldsmith, Place de l'Herberie No.111, in Lyon. I have a depot for musketeers at Messrs. Buisson, Goldsmiths, Rue Froide, Saint-Etienne.

Janety, Member of the Société des inventions et découvertes, Rue du Colombier in Paris.

Citation: Bulletin de Lyon Ballanche père et fils ( No. 55 : 7/12/1809) p.217

Retail jeweler (marchand orfèvre) Jean-Baptiste Laurent-Micalef (1798-c.1814) at Place de l'Herberie, n. 111, Lyon.

(Petrus?) Buisson, Rue Froide, St-Etienne (major gun manufactory.) 

1809: Franc de port = Fr. 2.

Jean Le Page (1746-1834) luxury arms manufacturer; Arlaut: gun manufacturers.

Where 1 Livre, poid du Marc = 1.31268 English Troy Pounds @ Fr 130., 1 English Troy Pound of platina would cost Fr 99.03 or  

1809: 1 Troy Oz. platina (bulk?) = Fr 8.253 (S$ 1.6506)
1809: 1 Troy Oz. platina (intrinsic, 75% ore) = Fr 11. (S$ 2.20)
1809: 1 Troy Oz. Pt (labor) = Fr 4.24 (S$ 0.8472)

1809: 1 Troy Oz. Platinum (scrap, Buyer's Price) = Fr 15.24 (USD$ 2.88)
1809: 1 Troy Oz. platina (retail) = Fr 27.43 (USD$ 5.18)

1809: 1 Troy Oz. Platinum (pure, producer) = Fr 36.57 (USD$ 6.90)
1809: 1 Troy Oz. Pt (Producer's Recycling Cost) = Fr 19.48 (USD$ 3.68)
1809: 1 Troy Oz. Pt (Producer's Profit, Sponge) = Fr 17.09 (USD$ 3.22)

1809: 1 Troy Oz. Platinum (Producer's Sheet) = Fr 39.17 (USD$ 7.39)
1809: 1 Troy Oz. Platinum (Producer's Mfg) = Fr 48.61 (USD$ 9.17)
Curious phrasing of von Humboldt suggests a recent Paris price change.  The 'common price' would be wholesale, but he doesn't indicate a "current price."

Gehlen (1809?) complained of Janetty's manufactured price, and Paris scrap price (in trade) was nearly as high as retail ore.  The apparent price of ore was nearly twice as expensive, perhaps because of the English trade embargo and disrupted Atlantic trade.

All this suggests price volatility and/or platina supply issues on the Paris market (which explains a persistently high retail price.)  

See more on Commodity Prices of 1809.


Citation: Political essay on the kingdom of New Spain; Alexander von Humboldt (1811) p.383

February 28, 1810: reference to Winter 1809/10: the price of Platinum was falling, but remained ~1: 3 or 1:4 yet. 

Platinum Vase, 18 Ozt: 18.9 cm diam, 13.5 cm deep. (7.44 in. by 5.315 in.)
Platinum Retort, 27.65 Ozt: 1 Litre
Citation: Bulletin, Vol. 5; Société d'encouragement pour l'industrie nationale, p. 56

Reported 10 February 1810, for the Year 1809:

Citation: Archives des découvertes et des inventions nouvelles, Vol. 3 (1810)


Platina which comes to be found in Spain and Santo Domingo becoming less rare every day in trade must necessarily diminish value, and can, after this, thinking forward some years, its price will be that of Gold in the ratio of lower than 1-to-4.

Curious reference in 1835 German textbook: Platinum was first worked systematically in France in 1808.

Citation: Geologie: oder Naturgeschichte der Erde, Vol. 1 Karl Cäsar von Leonhard (1836)

c. 1809: If ~70% of Wollaston's refining business was for 'touch-hole quality' Platinum, Continental production for gun-manufacturers was probably equally important at this time.  The retail mark-up may also reveal the retail price of Platinum.

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