Even with the widespread acceptance of the Euro, these days there are still about thirty currencies in use among the fifty countries of Europe. In the 17th century, things were much more complicated for travelers. This Dutch book offered a catalog of woodcuts of 1,685 coins (many scaled to actual size). European cities, principalities, kingdoms, dioceses, and other localized governing bodies issued their own unique sets of coinage.
This handy pocket-sized book was printed in 1633 by Hieronymus Verdussen of the Verdussen publishing dynasty in Antwerp. At this time, the Netherlands dominated international trade. During the “Dutch Golden Age,” the Netherlands was enriched by the establishment of the Dutch East Trading Company in 1602 and the Dutch West Trading Company in 1621. A pocket book such as would have been popular with Dutch merchants needing a handy reference work to distinguish the hundreds of different coins in circulation and travelers, as well.
This volume would have been a “pocket” book . The unusual dimensions of this volume (31 x 10.5 cm) fit very well in the pockets of the early 17th century (abt. 40 x 30 cm).
Images from: Ordonnancie ende instructie naer de welcke voort-aen hen moeten reguleren die ghesworen wisselaers ofte collecteurs vande goude ende silver penningen. Antwerp: Hieronymous Verdussen, 1633.
What a wonderfully useful book for the committed Time Traveller!