University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Financial History Seminar > Bullion or specie? The role of Spanish American silver coins in Europe and Asia throughout the 18th century

Bullion or specie? The role of Spanish American silver coins in Europe and Asia throughout the 18th century

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Economic historians often use grains of silver as a common denominator for wages and prices in making international comparisons and measuring market integration in the early modern period. However it is unclear that silver performed as a commodity or as money throughout that time casting some doubts on the comparability of the numeraire. As Spanish America was the overwhelming source for silver to the world up to the 1830s at least, and silver was the main item of commerce between Asia and Europe and one of the two main metals to base European monetary systems, this paper discusses the use and circulation of Spanish American silver coins in the international economy of the time. Looking at transactions carried by Britain with Asia and other European economies during the Restriction Period, the findings indicate significant monetary effects from the working of particular financial institutions and policies.

This talk is part of the Financial History Seminar series.

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