October 30, 2011

UK, 1826

Around March, 1826, one of the last ingots of Wollaston platinum was taken by the Glass Committee (authorized by the British government and under the aegis of the Royal Institution.)  Usselmann (PMR, 1983: Vol. 27, No. 4, p.179) cites Michael Faraday complaint on the high cost of Wollaston's Platinum, double the price of Wollaston's Platinum sold to Wm Cary.  However, it is not likely Wollaston overcharged the Royal Society (to which he was soon after granted membership) nor is it clear whether this cost included all labor. 

Therefore, the Platinum cost of the flint glass may be considered 'semi-manufactured' and nearly market-rate for the period.

March, 1826: 1 Troy Ounce Platinum (semi-mfg)  ~£ 1.80  (USD$ 8.86)
1826:  1 Troy Oz. Platinum (Paris producer retail) ~Fr 53.5 (USD$ 10.10)
1826:  1 Troy Oz. Platinum (est. semi-mfg) ~Fr 48. (USD$ 9.)

References to "Brazilian Platina" :

The US director of the Mint had previously noted Palladium in Brazilian Gold ingots in 1807, and "Brazilian platina" was mentioned by 1816 in US sources (Niles' Register.)  Platina was not so expensive then, however, and the quality of Brazilian ore was much lower. 


Professor Kemmerer's study dated from the Fall 1825 and was orginally published in January 1826This note was therefore added after publication, included with an issue or excerpt forwarded to the Paris Bulletin.    

Speaking in the past tense, the 'best quality ore from Brazil' (actually Antioquia, COLOMBIA) was sold in London at £ 1.05 (troy ounce?) :
Although the date is not certain,  given 
a) the December 1825 Paris Peak, and platina had sold at ~£ 0.3876 at Choco (September)
b)  the discovery, reporting and exploitation of the Antioquia mine by Fall 1826
c) time-lag for news between London-St. Petersburg

Kemmerer's Note probably refers to a London Price around Late Summer 1826, if the ore was indeed from the Antioquia mine.  If conflatingdifferent facts, this might be the dated 1825 Price High for London platina.  

In any case, Choco platina sold in London at 1/3rd the price by Early 1827.

Citation: Bulletin des sciences naturelles et de géologie (1827)

1826: 1 Troy Oz platina (ore @ Choco)  = S$ 0.68 

1827: 1 Troy Oz. platina (Lond.:Choco, 85%, whols.)  = £ 0.3101 (USD$ 1.53)
c.1827: 1 Troy Oz. platina (Lond.: Ural, 75%, whols.)  = £ 0.2281 (USD$ 1.13)
Citation: Die metallischen rohstoffe, ihre lagerungsverhältniss und ihre wirtschaftliche bedeutung..., Vol. 16 (1962)
Heinrich Quiring?

"In London kostete ein kg columbianisches Rohplatin 1826 bis 1827 200 Schilling. Es wurde höher bewertet als das ..."
"Denn 1826/27 notierte in London russisches Rohplatin 146,65 s; columbianisches Rohplatin 199,4 s, Reinplatin 429,7 s je kg.  Paris nahm eine Zwischenstellung ein (Rohplatin 200 Frcs, Reinplatin 690 Frcs je kg)..."

1825 Great Britain Pattern Farthing Mule: obverse die belongs to the 1812 Pattern 9 Pence Bank Token (S3773A), and the reverse is from an 1825 Farthing.

October 24, 2011

UK, 1811: Wollaston's Platinum Boiler for Samuel Parkes

1811: 1 Troy Oz. Palladium (Trade, Bingley) = £ 4.8227 (USD$ )
1811: 1 Troy Oz. Palladium (.999) = £ 5.3975 (USD$ ) 
1811: 1 Troy Oz. Platinum (manufactured, still)  = £ 0.8355 (USD$

1811: The price is consistent with Wollaston's charges for 1812.  Samuel Parkes' platinum still weighed 377 Troy ounces.  At 3.79 litres per gallon, the approximate amount of refined Platinum in the 1813 platinum still manufactured for Parkes by Wollaston had a weight per Litre was 2.3747 Troy Ounces; the amount of Litres contained per Troy Ounce was 0.4211 Litres. 

Erroneous record of Parkes' still, underestimated price and overestimated capacity!


October 19, 2011

UK, 1825: Import Commodity Price Bubble

In 1825, Dr. Wollaston recorded Rhodium receipts of £ 80.

English "White Metal" workers' salaries:

February 1823:

April 1823:

May, 1824:

December 1824:
Citation: The New monthly magazine and literary journal, Part 3 (1825) p.34

January 1825:
Citation: The New monthly magazine and literary journal, Part 3 (1825) p.82 

Citation: The New monthly magazine and literary journal, Part 3 (1825)

April, 1825:

May 25, 1825

July, 1825:

August, 1825:

September, 1825:

October, 1825:

November, 1825:

June, 1826:

July, 1826:

August, 1826:

October 16, 2011

Adam Smith's Inquiry into the Wealth of Nations (Editor's Note)

A Note (XLI) by Marquis Garnier in the Second French Edition (after 1802) correctly translates von Humboldt's 1801 Colombian price "Fr 40 per libra" (castellano) as Fr 80 per kilogramme. The kilogramme was based on the poid of 2 marc (the marc divided into 8 ounces); the Castellano was analoguous to the marc.

By direct implication and logic, von Humboldt's cited Paris platina price was for the approximate 500 gram 'poids de marc' and not per kilogram. Otherwise, the estimation would nonsensically, double the weight, or halve the price of all precious metals.
Footnotes in the Second Edition manuscript date to 1821, when von Humboldt was still resident in Paris.  From 1815-20, the Paris price for the best platina (Fr 4.06 -5.08) was  approximately and consistently ~4x more expensive than the Colombian source ; cheap grades of ore were likely sold at lower rates.  It's interesting to note that Paris platina had often been only ~3x more expensive than the source earlier on (1800 - 1810) but rising global demand for Platinum intensified European speculation in the raw commodity around 1820 (more explicitly than Garnier revealed.)

Vulgar speculation in refined Platinum, in Paris & London, likely appeared two years later, in 1822/3, as rumors of the Colombian government's interest in coinage circulated.

The amount of platinum that comes annually to the European market is perhaps not a thousandth of the amount of money coming into the same market, yet a mark of platinum is not worth the two cinqu1èmes of a mark of money. According to Humboldt, platinum is worth only 80 francs per kilogram instead of the extraction, although the trade sell-often three to four times more expensive, because in an article also scarce, dealers are almost always the key to the law to those who seek to fill it.

Citation: Recherches sur la nature et les causes de la richesse des nations; Adam Smith Vol. 5 (1822) p.663

From von Humboldt's original (ms. of 1809):

October 15, 2011

UK, 1816

Wm. Cary sold Dr. Young 32.225 ozt Platinum  for £ 28.20. Cary was retailing Wollaston's (Manufactured?) Platinum for 17.5s/Ozt.
1816: 1 Troy Ounce Platinum (Cary: Semi-Mfg, Bulk)  = £ 0.8751 (Fr 21.70)
1816: 1 Troy Oz. Platinum (Ask?: Scrap, Fletcher)  = £ 0.5641 (Fr 14., S$ 3.90)

1820?: 1 Troy Oz. Platinum (Ask?: Scrap, Johnson)  = £ 0.6441 (S$ 4.45)
Wollaston's bulk platina purchases are both consistent with these price variations and ~75% - 80% of the wholesale price quoted to chemists.

Wollaston sold ~3,100 Ozt (~96.4 kgs) Platinum in 1816.

Usselman (1978: PMR Vol. 22, No.3) noted that Wollaston's orders typically took 200 days (or nearly 7 months) to deliver, sometimes much longer.   This suggests at least 3.5 months trans-Atlantic delay of news to/from Cartagena (if London<>Kingston was 4 months' round trip) and five months to Choco.  
Between the Spanish source and the London market, the forex variation between the Spanish piastre and Pound Sterling (Paper currency) explains how merchant banks came to dominate this trade.  Beyond mere commodity, platina may also have had a role as collateral in Jamaican merchant debt and against all forms of paper (monetary substitute.)

1815: 1 Troy Oz. Platinum (retail)  = £ 1.25 - 1.75 (USD$ 5.89 - 8.25)

Bollman's Presentation to Great Britain:

Dec. 1816:  

London: $S 1. (Paper) = £0.1458 ; $S 6.857 = £ 1.
Jamaica: $S 1. (Spanish Coin & English Paper) = £0.33 ; $S 3. = £ 1.
London: $S 1. (English & Spanish Coin) = £0.2156; $S 4.6377 = £ 1.

Citation: A complete system of theoretical and mercantile arithmetic; George G. Carey (1817) p.357


October 14, 2011

France, 1817

Assuming the Kilogram 32.68387 Paris Onces
Pd.M. Rate is Fr.64.- 80. ; Kg Rate is Fr. 130.-165.

c.1817: 1 Troy Oz. platina (Common Ore, Paris Spot) = Fr 5. (£ )

Citation: Nouveau dictionnaire d'histoire naturelle..., Vol. 26 (1818) p.583

Possibly Late 1816 news, reported by C.L. Cadet.

c. February, 1817:
Citation: Journal de pharmacie et des sciences accessoires, No.3, March 1817 p.242

c. March, 1817: 
March, 1817: 1 Troy Ounce Platinum (refined) = Fr 13.76 (£ 0.554)
March, 1817: 1 Troy Oz. Platinum (semi-mfg) = Fr 14.74 (£ 0.593) 
March, 1817: 1 Troy Oz. Platinum (assembly) ~ Fr 2.54 (£ 0.102)
March, 1817: 1 Troy Oz. Platinum (fully mfg still) = Fr 18.29 (£ 0.7360)

1817: 20 Kilograms Platinum Ingot > 15.5 Kilogram Platinum Still of 162 Litres

Citation: Bulletin de la Societe D'Encourgement Pour L'Industrie Nationale (1817) p.68

March 1817: reporting, with errors!

April, 1817: 1 Troy Oz. Platinum (Refined) = Fr 13.76 (£ 0.5651)
April, 1817: 1 Troy Oz. Platinum (Semi-Mfg) = Fr 14.74 (£ 0.6053)
April, 1817: 1 Troy Oz. Platinum (Assembly) ~ Fr 2.54 (£ 0.102)
April, 1817: 1 Troy Oz. Platinum (Fully Mfg Still) = Fr 17.28 (£ 0.7097)

(Apparently written with great detail & expansive knowledge, after 1815 and the Mint's acquisition of the famous 1816 Jeanetty boiler.)

Platina grains were sold by the lot, sorted and sight-graded by size and apparent purity; no reference to specific gravity.  This Paris Price was 33% - 54% higher than Wollaston's cost, suggesting a trade rate.

c.1818?: 1 Troy Ounce platina (Paris, trade) = Fr 4.06 - 5.08 (USD$ 0.93)

Citation: Nouveau dictionnaire d'histoire naturelle, appliquée aux arts..., Vol. 26; Charles S. Sonnini (1818)


The key was to simplify the processing and it is this simplification, it is above all the company made ​​more than had great yet been done, which determined a reduction by half in the price of platinum, for the ore has increased rather. 

One can hardly boast of a further decline before a very great abundance of ore and considerable demands require to deal with at once larger quantities, and your Committee believes that the price of Fr. 15 - 18. an ounce, which is now reduced, making it accessible to many manufacturers. In this respect, MM. Cuoq and Couturier have done a great service to the arts, they would make even more if they could lower their prices.

You, gentlemen, on many occasions, encouraged Mr. Jannety, you constantly applauded his success, and you are always willing to assist his efforts and perseverance in working platinum.

July 16, 1817: Albert Gallatin recommends a Platinum metre manufactured by Fortin for the cost of £ 105.  The Platinum metre received was 125 cm3 (5 mm * 25 mm * 1,000 mm)
at a presumed density of 20.5487 (c.1873: noting the arsenical alloy) a total weight of ~ 2.57 Kgs or 82.58 Ozt. for the French Unit.

July, 1817: 1 Troy Oz. Platinum (Paris: Mfg) ~ £ 1.2715 (Fr. 30.963) 

March, 1818: 1 Troy Oz. Platinum-Clad Copper (Semi-Mfg) = Fr 2.86 

1817: Bréant of Paris produced a Platinum still of 162-litres weighing 15.5 kg for Cuoq & Couturier's 1816/7, the weight per Litre was 3.076 Troy Ounces; the amount of Litres contained per Troy Ounce was 0.3251 Litres.