Prices (Posthumus)

About the Price (Posthumus) Data Set

This data base contains prices taken from the tables of absolute prices contained in volume 1 of N. W. Posthumus's Nederlandsche Prijsgeschiedenis (Leiden, 1943). For a detailed explanation of the sources of this data, see his Introduction, pp. XVIII-LXXIX. Posthumus took most of the quotations from published listings of the Amsterdam commodity exchange. The listings appeared irregularly from 1585 to 1609, weekly from 1609 to 1796, and twice a week from 1796 to 1813. Of the approximately 12,000 price currents that were issued between 1585 and 1813, Posthumus was able to find 3,033, or about one-fourth. There are, moreover, large gaps among these. Only 138 years are represented, so that numerous years are lacking, particularly before 1624, and between the years 1654-64, 1694-1701,1710-18, and 1722-28.

Posthumus also supplemented the information drawn from the price currents with data contained in other, more specialized price lists, from various printed periodicals and newspapers, from miscellaneous documents published by other historians, and from archival sources. All quotations before 1585 come from such sources. If Posthumus gave the specific source of the price, the information has been included in the on-screen note of MEMDB ("BLARO" refers to Brokers' Lists from the Amsterdam Record Office; for other abbreviations, see Posthumus).

Posthumus listed only monthly quotations, chosen from the list that appeared on the 15th day of each month, or as close as possible to this date. The quotations are given with the relevant weight or measure, and Posthumus indicated when the unit of measure changed, in some cases switching to a new series when one unit of measure replaced another. The prices were actually quoted in guilders, stuivers, and penningen(1 gulden = 20 stuivers = 320 penningen); or sometimes in Flemish pounds, shillings and pennies (1 pond = 20 schellingen = 240 groten); or, for grain prices, in "goudguldens" of 28 stuivers. Quotations in bank money ('banco'; currency of the Amsterdam Wisselbank) begin as early as 1634 and enter general use in 1683.