Money has become at best technical at worst downright boring in the hands of economists. They mean well, but there’s not much fun in algorithms. The list of coinages that follows tells us that money used to be much more interesting and much more poetic, if fiendishly complicated to use. The list comes from a 1685 edition of Gerard de Malynes 1622, Lex Mercatoria: or the Law Merchant Divided into three parts of Traffic Necessary for all Statesmen, Judges, Magistrates, Temporal and Civil Lawyers, Mint Men, Merchants, Mariners, and all Others Negotiating in all Places of the World. The book is a fascinating primer on how to conduct trade in the 17th century and a refutation of any notion that what we now call globalization is somehow new.
This, according to de Malynes, is the list of currencies in circulation that the enterprising merchant would need to know about, and it is certainly not a complete list at that. It is best read out loud.
Pound, Mark, Philip Doller, Holland Dollar, Spanish Royal, Gueldre, Frizeland Dollar, Zeland Shilling, Golden Royal, French Crown, Golden Ryder, Albertin (or Ducat of Albertus), Angel, Imperial Royal, half Royal, Carolus Guildern, Rose Noble, Double Royal, Nobles of Holland, Utrecht and Overysel, Gold Guildern, Hungary Ducat, Bishops Ducat, Ducats of Italy, Venice, Turky and Rome, the Soveraign of Queen Elizabeth, the Old Soveraign, the half Soveraign fine, the Angel with the O, the Angel with the three Lions, the half Noble with the Lyons, the Noble of Bridges, the Andrew Guilder, the Gulielmus Guilder, the Gold guilder of the States, the Golden Fleece or Toyson d’Or, the Philips Guildern, the nobles of Gaunt and Zealand, the Half imperial Crown, the Henricus noble, the Old English Crown, the Henry Noble, the Half Henry Noble, the Floret Crown, the Charles French Crown, the Floret of France, the Old Golden Lyon, the Ducat of Castile, the Spanish Ducat, the Holland Ducat, the double Ducat of Zealand, the Dicats of Navarre and Majorca, the Spanish Pistolet, the Milreys Ducat, the Emanuel great Crusat, the Joannes great Crusat, the Ducat with the short Cross, the Ducat with the long Cross, the Ducat with the long Cross of Batenborgh, the Pistolets of Italy, the Flemish Rider, the Guilders and Vrisland Ryders of the year 1583, the Ryder of Burgundy, the English Salut, the Schuytken or Ship of Flanders, the Ryder of Guilders, the Phillip Clincart, the Ryder of Deventer, Campen and Swoll, the David Guilder of Trier, Utrecht and Of the Harp, the Peter of Louvain, the Clemmer Guilder, the Frederick of Beyeren, the Arnuldus Guilder, the Postulat of Bourbon, the Postulats of Horn, of Guilders, of Cleve, of Fran. Friar or the Dog&Cat, the nine Stivers pieces of Batenbourgh and Frize, the Guilielmus Ducat of Batenbourgh, the other Ducat of Stephanus, the Ducat of Nimeghen with Stephen, the New Ducats of St Victor Pancriatus, Vict. Batenbourgh, W. B. Margarete Toren, Petrus Rechem, George Rechem, the Ducats Victor H.B., water Ducats and the half Mary of Batenbourgh, the Ducat with the checker, the Ducat of Denmark, the Pacratius Alleb. H. the Oswald Ducat Cusa, the Ducat of Nimeghen 1565, the New Angels Coyned heretofore: of Thoron, of Horn, of Batenb., of Viana, of H.M., the Scots pistolet, the Ryder with the Loaves, the Pistolets Dilege and Legion, the Ducats Ferdinand of Batenbourgh, the Ducats Ferdinand and Carolus of Horne, the Double Ducat of Albertus of Austria, the Single Ducat of Albertus of Austria, the Unite piece, called Jacobus of England, The Ryder of the United Low Provinces, the half Jacobus and Ryders, the Ducats of the Estates of the United Provinces, the new twenty shilling pieces of England, the Scots piece of the Cross Daggers, the Scots Rider, the Carolus Gueldern, the old four Stivers piece with the Eagle, Charles and Philip, the old double Styver, the Silver Fleece of three Stivers, the Three Groot or Deniers, the Old Stiver of three ounces, the new Stiver following three ounces, the 17 duits, the Half stiver, the Quarter Stiver Oort, the Eight Part Stiver Duit, the Hollandts, the Stiver of the States United, the Stiver of Utrecht, the nine Duits Penny of Charles and Philip, the half Ruyters black, the Brass Penny and the half, the Spanish Ryals fine, the Salvator and Royal of Venice, the Italian Ryals, the course Romish Ryals, the eleven Duits of Charles Limb., the eleven Duits of Holland, the Half Ruyters blank of Holland, the five Groot of Flanders, the 5 Groot of Gaunt, the 17 Duits of Lodovick, Liege, Philip, Guelders, Charles, Limborgh, Philip of Flanders, two standing lyons, the 17 Duits of Sluce, the double Vieryfers, the Snaphanen coined for three Batts, the Creuciat of John of Cleve, the five Stiver piece of Liege, the Stiver piece of Gueldres, the Snaphane of Nimegen, Deventer and Cleave, the Shilling of M.E. and five Groots of Philip of Flanders, the other five Groot of Philip of Flanders, the five Stiver of Cambray, Liege and Horne, the Shillings of Gueldres, Utrecht, Freese and Zealand, the Shilling of Bridges, the Shillings of Gaunt, the Stivers of Groeninghen, Cambray, and Liege, the eleven Duyts of Philip and Mary, the pieces of 5 and a half Groat of 1520, the Doller of the States, the Hollandtes Doller, the Rickx Doller, the Polland Doller, the Bohemia Ne. Op., the Batenborgh Dol., the Bommel Doller, the Polish Guelder of sixty Creutzer, the Dollars of Brisgau, Tremone, the Dollars of Luneborgh, the Basell sixty Creutzer, the Doller of Riga. Teastons of: Mantua, Francis; Ferrara, Hercules and Alphonsus; Berne, Vincent; Ottomanus, Berne; Lucerne, Episcopus, Milan, Lodovicus; Milan, Galeacius; Friborg, Nicolas, Sedun, Nicol. Dan Adrian; Solod, Ursus; Savoy, Carolus; of Castile; of Portugal, Io V.L; France, Franciscus; Lorrain an. 1524 & 29; Spain, Ferdinand; Navarre, Anna; Baden, Chrisostom; Savoy, Carolus; Navarre, Henricus; Monserrat, George and Guill.; Geneva, George and Guill. Quarter Crowns of, France, Lorraine, Savoy Philip. The Rickx Dollar of late Anno 1567, the piece of Cambray on 16th of a Doller, the 38 Gustave of Liege, the Christopher Doller, the Doller Guliel. Sweden, the Angel of Scrickelborgh, the ten Creutzers of Salsborgh, Ravenborgh, Frise and Saxony, the three Carolus of Frankford, Campidona, Reynsborch, Patavia, Ernestus, Otingus, Carolus and Salsborgh, the six Creutzer of Insborgh, the Gross of Salsborgh, the Batsen of four Creutzers of Fribourgh, Colmograve, Raynsebourgh, Taunte, Cost 1530. Roy, and Schafhuysen, Baviere, Brandenbourgh, Ottinge, the ausb. Saxon gross and Conyngstein, the Curiensis gross, Kempton, Bassu and Brisac, the Quarter Crowns of Noiling, Ambass. Markegrave, George and Wormeser.