September 6, 2012

Colombia, 1790 - 1805: Gold Production, Price & Export

D'Eluyar(1789) estimated the previous 9 years annual Gold production of the Kingdom of New Grenada at 3,557 kgs and S$ 1,778,185, so:

1789: 1 Troy Ounce Gold (pure) = S$ 15.55
1789: 1 Troy Ounce platina (legal Choc√≥ rate) ~ S$ 0.27

Where 2 marcas (100 castellanos) = 1 libra (14.792 English Troy Ounces) and 1 castellano = 71 English Troy Grains, 

c.1801: 1 Troy Ounce Silver (@ mines, in Mx) = S$ 0.9789
c.1801: 1 Troy Ounce Gold (standard value) = S$ 18.39

1804-09: 1 Troy Oz. platina (Cartagena, illicit export) ~ S$ 0.406

Choc√≥ Gold was from 20-22 carats fine. 

In Political Essay on the Kingdom of New Spain, the total annual Gold yield of New Grenada is estimated at 4,716 kgs. and an exceedingly high value, ~S$ 21.44/oz. Troy.

For New Grenada, Melo (1978) calculates the value of Gold @ S$ 2.72 per castellano, or
S$ 18.39 per Troy Ounce.  (This estimation is not the market-rate at Cartagena, nor the Spot-price paid to miners.)

c.1800/1: For Gold, the Mint price paid in Popoyan was considerably lower, and since English merchants paid more, a contraband trade thrived with Jamaica.  From von Humboldt's estimation of the legal yield (S$ 2,100,000 Gold coined Gold, S$ 400,000 Gold in legal ingot (114,287 and 21,769 English Troy Ounces, respectively) the value of legal English Troy Ounce was S$ 18.374.  Contraband Gold was estimated at '2,500 marcs' (18,505 English Troy Ounces) so Gold-dust would have been 12% of the total production but nearly 46% of uncoined export Gold.

Where 56% of uncoined Colombian Gold sold at S$ 18.374 and 46% smuggled at $ 15.31 or less, total export price averaged less than $$ 16.97 but fluctuated to the contraband volume.

Although the market-price at Cartagena would the best record, the Mint-price paid to local Gold producers (over costs and against the contraband price at Cartagena) might otherwise help establish a similar metric for average platina price paid to producers.

A libra of Silver was worth 17 piastres in Mexico and the libra of Gold 272 piastres, whereas the libra of platina was only 8-6 piastres in Cartagena.

The calculations of Restrepo (1884) are riven with errors; an Ounce of Silver valued at
S$ 7.37, conflicting and inflated Gold prices, etc. in 345 years his total Gold yield would average annually to 2,541.374 kg. (a wild exaggeration.)

Circa 1800: If Resrepo (1851) estimation that  New Grenada exported 50 - 60 quintales (2,300 - 2,761 kgs.) of Gold annually, platina @ 7% the Gold-Yield would average 161 - 191 kgs per annum.  

 Liberty and Equality in Caribbean Colombia, 1770-1835;  Aline Helg (2004) p.72
Although royal smelters bought the gold dust at higher prices than smugglers, the former generally involved several days of trekking and canoeing away from the placer mines. As a result, most mazamorreros preferred to deal with illegal intermediaries — and to avoid registering with the royal authorities. Despite laws imposing harsh punishments on unregistered miners and smugglers, few were ever caught, especially if they belonged to networks headed by high officials. In fact, as shown by William Sharp for the Choco, the few who did fall in the hands of authorities were likely to have been framed or informed on by rivals. 129

Labor, c. 1730:

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