September 30, 2012

Colombia, 1854

According to an American visitor, by 1854 the Gold Yield had collapsed -75% from years prior to 1852. 

Citation: New Granada: Twenty Months in the Andes: With Maps and Illustrations;  Isaac F. Holton (1856) p.260

The issue of contraband export dogged estimates well in the 1850s.  Assuming the Franc/Piastre exchange at 5:1 and the Colombian Fine-Gold Price at S$ 17.61 per English Ounce Troy, a rather unlikely massive export of 7,949 kg of Gold occurred circa 1854.  

Likewise, the amount of Colombian platina exported (S$ 30,000 or 188.71 kgs) was barely 2.35% the Gold total but probably much closer to the true export amount.

Citation: Dictionnaire universel théorique et practique du commerce et de la navigation ;  Gilbert-Urbain Guillaumin (1859) p. 546

As reported in 1857 (somewhat dated?) Colombia was annually exporting 600 kilograms or ~ 19,290 ozt platina.


1854 Exchange

Colombian Weights:

c.1854-6? Export Cost of Gold 'Antioquia to Barranquilla'  S$ per Kg.

c.1854-6? Export Cost 'Antioquia to Barranquilla' S$ 15.80 per carga (~115.0 Kg.) or S$ 0.1374 per Kg.

c.1854-6? Import Cost 'Barranquilla to Antioquia' S$ 18.80 per carga (~115.0 Kg.) or S$ 0.1634 per Kg ; machinery to mines, S$ 22. per carga (~115.0 Kg.) or S$ 0.1912 per Kg

September 29, 2012

Colombia, 1846

Where 8,020.5 Libras = 16,041 Marcos Fine Gold, only C$ 398, 248 in Gold Coin was produced. (Too low!) However, the value of the Gold

1846: 1 Troy Ounce Gold (Colombian Ore price) = £ 3.1277

Citation: Commercial Statistics. John MacGregor (1848) p.278

(Erroneously?) assuming USD$ 20.50/Ozt.


Previous editions did not include this data.

c.1846: Assay of Colombian platina 84% - 85% Pt

Citation: Histoire naturelle des drogues simples ou cours d'histoire naturelle, Vol. 1;  Nicolas Jean Baptiste Gaston Guibourt

September 28, 2012

Colombia, 1864

Given the unknown trade-price realized by merchant cartels on credit terms, the Spot-Price at Chocó and elsewhere for precious metals is unrecorded.

In 1858, the Cartagena Spot-Price Ratio (Au/Pt) was 1: 3906.  Assuming this ratio six years later, the importer's cost and duty was ~28% higher.

1864: 1 Troy Ounce platina (Colombia: Spot-price) = £ 0.8549

1864: 1 Troy Ounce platina (Caribbean: UK tariffed) = £ 1.0923

Citation : Ure's dictionary of arts, manufactures and mines, Vol. 3 (1867) p.443

Where the libra of 100 castellanos was estimated at £ 50.,

1864: 1 Troy Oz. Gold (Colombia: Spot-price, Spot .91633 Fine) = £ 3.3396
1864: 1 Troy Oz. Gold (Colombia: Spot-price, .9999) = £ 3.4848

Citation: East India (chinchona plant). House of Commons (1864)

Voyage from Liverpool UK to Santa Martha Colombia: ~24 days
Transport of Goods to Medellin Antioquia: ~90 - 120 Days
Voyage from Santa Martha Colombia to Liverpool UK: ~25 days



Colombia, 1881

In 1881, Colombia produced ~154,774 ozt (4,814 kgs) Gold. 

1881: Cost of Flour, Cartagena

Ciotation: Commercial relations of the United States, Issues 12-14 Dept. of State. Bureau of Statistics (1881) p.376

Colombia, 1852

Visit(s) in January 1852; 1860?  Tumbaga assumed to be 70% - 80% Gold, in natural Copper/Silver alloy; the Spot premium for archaeological Gold was about 5% over Intrinsic.

Colombian Gold was 11% higher in Panama than coastal Colombia; 25% higher than the inland Spot Price.

1852: 1 Troy Ounce Gold Alloy Pre-Colombian Artifact (.800 Au) = S$ 15.15
1852: 1 Ozt Gold Pre-Colombian Artifact Alloy  (.700 Au) = S$ 12.98
1852: 1 Ozt Gold Artifact Alloy, Intrinsic (.999 Au) = S$ 18.55 - 18.93 
1852: 1 Ozt Gold Ore, Intrinsic (.999 Au) = S$ 18.06

Citation: Amérique équatoriale; Jules Henri Onffroy de Thoron(1866)

1850: Population in Quibdo: 1,500 ; ~1,000 Blacks

Merchants received Gold-dust at discounted terms by trade arbitrage; cheap goods and usurious credit.  In this way, the local Spot price appears very high whereas Gold and platina accumulated as a monetary commodity sold in bulk to dealers on the cost at much lower terms.

Citation: Rough notes on an exploration for an inter-oceanic canal route ... ; John Cresson Trautwine (1854) p.37

Platina primarily found at San Pablo, Nóvita and Lloró.

Platina from San Pablo went to Cartagena

San Pablo: Prices of foodstuffs

Quibdo: Flour

Citation: Final Report of the Royal Commission Appointed to Inquire Into the Recent Changes in the Relative Values of the Precious Metals etc. (1888) UK

Colombia, 1917

Circa 1917, Colombia reportedly produced 933 kgs annually, from the Quibdo district.

1918: 1 Troy Ounce platina (Colombian ore) = USD$ 105.

Citation: Colombia: a commercial and industrial handbook ;  Dept. of Commerce, Purl Lord Bell,  Bureau of Foreign and Domestic Commerce

Wages for washers:

1919: Coffee-picker wages very high, $1.20 day.

Cartel trade, 50% Syrian, 50% Colombian

Colombia, 1870

1871 Expedition

Citation: Ocean highways: the geographical review, Vol. 1 p.438 (January 1874)

Geological Reference: Colombia

Richest platina areas:  Rió Opogodó, "Chiqui Choqui" Platinum/Gold 1:1.7

Big Flat:

The dry season December-March (minas de verano) was more productive than the rainy season (minas de invierno), and mazamorreros frequently only worked the former.

Zambullidores were divers.

Rainfall: Rio Atrato region



September 26, 2012

Colombia, 1897

In 1897, Colombia produced 11,700 ozt (363 kgs) platina. 
In 1898, Colombia produced ~11,700 ozt (~363 kgs) platina.

In 1897, Colombia produced 107,740 ozt (3,351 kgs) Gold. 

In 1898, Colombia produced 104,425 ozt (3,248 kgs) Gold. 
In 1899, Colombia produced 87,535 ozt (2,723 kgs) Gold.

1897- 1902: Volatile exchange rate & speculation

1898: Presumably, an overall and total production since 1789 or so?

Citation: Transactions of the American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical ..., Vol. 28 ; American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers (1898)

Henry Granger's 1898 article, "Mining Districts of Colombia" is otherwise full of local insights as to yield & cost of PMs.  Exceptionally DRY years may have witnessed the greatest yields of Gold and Platinum in Chocó. 


Zambullidores made much more money.


Mazamorreros paid $2. - $4./day.


 c. 1885: 12 days journey to the Coast