November 20, 2012

Russia: 1798

c.1798/9: Count de Mussin Puschkine offered to reveal his method of amalgamating platinum sponge for 150 Фунт ( =61.43 kgs., or 1,974.93 Troy Oz.) a request likely directed to the Russian or Spanish Crown rather than any contraband trader. (He disclosed an already known method using mercury in 1800.)  What was the 1798 St. Petersburg cost in Silver Roubles for 1,975 Troy Oz. Spanish platina?

In 1793, the French government paid L.T. 2,716.50 for 1,781.35 Ozt, equivalent to L.T. 3,011.71 (1798: руб 803.11) for 150 Фунт, or L.T. 20.08/Фунт.
In 1795, the French government was charged L.T. 7,700 for 14,790 Oz, equivalent to L.T. 1,028.22 (1798: руб 274.19) for 150 Фунт, or L.T. 6.85/Фунт.

In 1795, at the Market-Price S$ 8./Libra, 1,975 Ozt cost L.T. 4,086.4 (1798: руб 1,089.71), or L.T. 27.24/Фунт.  

At L.T. 1 = руб 0.267, if 150 Фунт (1,975 Ozt) cost ~ L.T. 24/Фунт, (1798: руб 6.40/Фунт)
was likely 960 руб Ag, ~ 1,315 руб Acc.   

If correct, Count de Mussin Puschkine valuation for 150 Фунт was ~1,000 руб.

1798: 1 Troy Ounce Platina (SPb: L.T. 24/Фунт) = L.T. 1.823
1798: 1 Troy Oz. Platina (SPb: руб 6.40/Фунт) = руб 0.486

1798: 1 Troy Oz. Platina (Paris: Est. 70% ore, retail) = руб 3.25
1798: 1 Troy Oz. Platinum (Paris: Producer Price, Retail Mfg) = руб 16.85 - 18.20

At purity, 1,975 Ozt of 70% ore reduces to 1,382.45 Ozt.  (This does not factor any labor, manufacture/trade fees.) 

1798: 1 Troy Oz. Pt (Colombian ore, .999 Pt) = руб 0.694
1798: 1 Troy Oz. Pt (Labor) = руб 13.55 
1798: 1 Troy Oz. Platinum (Rough Guess) = руб

Reported Wien, March 1800:

Mussin-Puschkin's offer was reported in English journals, July 1800:

In 1804, Count Mussin-Puschkin inserted himself into the Chevenix-Wollaston Palladium Controversy. Unless he was lying outright - a distinct possibility - he mentions a large platina purchase, (in 1802) by British mineral dealer for the Russian State (in St. Petersburg) and then on two subsequent occasions, bulk sales by the Count (back to?) said dealer. 

Let alone the effort of teaching someone the platinum working skills, the time required to process the platina and convey the Palladium thence to a relation in London is abit absurd. 

Mussin-Puschkin's claim of having held large amounts of Platinum c.1802 is of interest, at any rate.  There was a platina demand in St. Petersburg, and trade in the Colombian ore.

Citation: The Action of Carbon on Palladium Thomas Wood (1859) p.10

Citation: Neues Allgemeines Journal der Chemie, Vol. 4 p.450

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