[NUMISMATICS]. Ordonnance et instruction pour les changeurs.

Antwerp, Hierosme Verdussen, 1633


Narrow half Folio. 126 unnumbered leaves. Roman letter. Woodcut arms of Philip IV to tp, floriated initials. Over 3,000 woodcuts of European coinage types, obverses and reverses, including ducats, pistoles, florins, francs and testons. Old shelf mark in blue crayon to half title. Slight age yellowing, occasional minor wormholes, a very good clean copy on thick uncut paper in old patterned boards, rebacked, worn.

Rare and impressive compendium of coinage used in Europe, Asia and Central America in the seventeenth century designed for a trader and converter of currency. Published in Antwerp, printed in French, with the arms of Philip IV of Spain on the title page, this work underlines the globalised and dynamic nature of the European economy in this period. These portable manuals were used as reference works for merchants, bankers, and money changers when determining the authenticity and value of coinage that passed through their hands. Many different city states, municipalities, duchies, dioceses and other governed bodies produced their own distinctive coinage which changed with new rulers, years and reforms. The present work both demonstrates the sheer amount of varied coinage circulating during this period as well as offers the reader a clear guide to the coins respective designs, sizes, names and values. The shape of the book is intended to represent the size and shape of a ledger which would have been kept on the person engaging in such economic activities.

This volume is an enormously valuable reference work for the modern numismatist, presenting coins from countries including France, Spain, the Netherlands, Italy, Hungary, Turkey, Scotland, Sicily, and even Mexico. Printed during the Thirty Years War, the work states its purpose as being to assist a money changer when handling gold and silver coins. The guide states its usefulness when coins are significantly worn or trimmed and as an authenticating aide for anyone working in the world of finance. It then lists coins in order of material, commencing with gold, and listing coins along with woodcuts of their obverses and reverses. For example, Le grand Real d’Autrice is followed by Le demy Real d’Autrice, and then Le Grand Rydre, Le Rydre de Bourgoigne, and later Les Fancqs àcheval forgèz, Le grand Crusart de Portgual, and coins of England like Le Noble d’Eduart d’Angleterre. Coins are listed from specific countries with the different varieties struck during certain reigns. As well as this book, merchants would use scales to calculate exchanges between the many different currencies. Keeping in mind the portable and practical status of this manual, its preservation and condition is exceptional.

Brunet IV 210 “Volume rare dont voici la description… Ces monnairs, de divers pays de l’Europe, sont représentées sur les petites planches gravées sur bois, de la grandeur des pièces, et placées sur les pages avec des notes en caractères d’imprimerie.” Goldsmith 654; Brunet IV 210; Not in Kress or Alden.