Page 197 - Dutch Asiatic Shipping Volume 1
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 company sending out ships with precious metals to return with Asiatic products, as is true of smaller Asiatic companies. For the trading of European goods in Asia and for the upkeep of its own business large sums were continually required. The author in Batavia of the specification of c. 1753 was able to calculate that for the period 1700-1750100,660,000 guilders' worth of trade goods and Company requirements had been received, next to 228,265,000guilders'worthinpreciousmetals,i.e. nearlyonethirdofthetotal amount.12
c. Currency
On most of the outward bound ships currency was the most valuable part of the cargo, silver being the most important. In the sixteenth century the Spanish and Spanish-Ame- rican real had become generally accepted in Asia. This silver coin was therefore carried by the ships of the voorcompagnie├źn, in particular the large real-of-eight. In 1601 the voorcompagnie├źn of Amsterdam and Zeeland had to mint reals themselves, on the orders of the Holland and Zeeland authorities, because the Spanish ones were temporarily una- vailable.1 3
In the early years the VOC was able to buy sufficient Spanish reals, but when these coins became scarcer and therefore more expensive, silver coinage from the Republic and the Southern Netherlands supplemented the shortage. Reals, though, remained part of the silver consignment until the end of the eighteenth century. The Company had a pre- ference for Mexicanen (Mexican reals). Alongside sound, weighty Spanish coins rough and worn specimens were included: these were accounted for by weight.
The great variety of coins from the Netherlands is demonstrated in Appendix IV.1 4 As early as 1615 the first Leeuwendaalders (crowns) were sent over, coins of a fairly low silver content; this lasted until 1687. In the mid-seventeenth century large quantities of rijksdaalders (rix-dollars) and large silver from the Southern Netherlands were among the currency, but around 1680 they were superseded by the Northern Netherlandish ducaton (ducatoon). In 1617 the VOC had already started the dispatch of small silver coins, the payement; more and more stuivers, dubbele stuivers and schellingen went to Asia from then on. Silver bars were sent along for the first time in 1620, by way of experiment. Not until in 1644 the States-General cancelled the prohibition on the export of unminted silver did silver bars become a regular part of the currency. In Asia these bars tended largely to disappear into the melting pots of Bengal mints. Therefore from around 1685 care was taken that silver bars were of equal alloy to the Bengal rupee. Less fine silver was destined for conversion into coinage in Siam.1 5
Gold was shipped very little in the first half of the seventeenth century. From 1662 however modest amounts were sent along. Between 1739 and 1753 it was lacking once more among the currency, but thereafter the amount rose steadily and until 1780 it occu- pied about 20% of the total value of currency dispatched. Gold existed of ducaten (ducats) - in the eighteenth century particularly Dutch ones - and bars. The bars were largely converted in South India into the pagoda and the fanum current there.16
The directors considered small copper coins part of the currency. The first small consign-
12 See note 5.
13 Scholten, Munten, 31-32.
14 For the VOC's export of precious metals see Glamann, Dutch-Asiatictrade, 50-72, 287-293;
Gaastra, 'The exports of precious metal', and also Attman, Dutch enterprise.
15 For content and value of the coins and silver and gold ingots see Appendix IV.
16 These coins were also minted by the V O C itself, e.g. at Negapatnam, Tuticorin and Colombo
(Scholten, Munten, 133-148).

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