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Elling Polden




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PostPosted: Fri 07 Jul, 2006 7:10 am    Post subject: Pricing of arms and armour in the 16th century.         Reply with quote

Hi

I'm doing a bit of research on 16th century soldiery, and in this context I'm intereseted in sources on the prices of arms and armour in the period.
So far I've found out that a mass produced "almain" cursais would cost about 1,5 florins, a high quality 3/4 armour 8-10.
During the ECW, breast+back plates and helmet for the New model army would cost 20 shilling. (1,6 pund)
What is more interesting, a Buff Coat would cost 30 shilling (An be a very cheap one at that. Prices exeeding 10 pounds(!) are reported for a high quality one)
Pistols are also roughly 1,5 florin/pund, carabines sligtly more expensive.
Swords are about half a florin/pound...

"this [fight] looks curious, almost like a game. See, they are looking around them before they fall, to find a dry spot to fall on, or they are falling on their shields. Can you see blood on their cloths and weapons? No. This must be trickery."
-Reidar Sendeman, from King Sverre's Saga, 1201
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Chris Last




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PostPosted: Fri 07 Jul, 2006 7:19 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Elling-

A bit late in the period but:

Quote:
...Ruscelli, in his 1595 manual Precepts for a Modern Army, included an exacting discussion of the costs of artillery (the figures below are rounded to the nearest ducat).

To put thes costs in context, a single ducat would supply the daily wage for a common Venetian infantryman for about three months (about the same as an unskilled Labourer). Experienced soldeirs would receive a bit more. Helmet, breastplate and pke cost about three and a quarter ducats; an arquebus a little over one ducat.

Type------------------------------Cost of naked gun----------------Cost with carriage
120-pound cannon----------------1,269 ducats---------------------1,310 ducats
100-pound culverin---------------1,227 ducats---------------------1,069 ducats
80-pound cannon------------------781 ducats-----------------------814 ducats
50-pound culverin-----------------781 ducats-----------------------812 ducats
50-pound cannon------------------472 ducats-----------------------501 ducats
20-pound culverin-----------------314 ducats-----------------------334 ducats
20-pound cannon------------------177 ducats-----------------------294 ducats
12-pound saker--------------------175 ducats-----------------------190 ducats
6-pound falcon---------------------151 ducats-----------------------160 ducats
3-pound falconet--------------------90 ducats------------------------97 ducats


I also have a compilation of different soldiers goods from some Trayn'd Bandes of London publications as well as some other sources for continental armies I'll dig up for you. They're at home, while I'm at work. Happy

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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Fri 07 Jul, 2006 7:24 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Although this, too, is later than your interest (1622,) it's the best information I've found about the relative expense of arms and armour. That is, it shows us the cost in relation to more utilitarian items.

http://www.learner.org/channel/workshops/prim...plies.html

-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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Wolfgang Armbruster





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PostPosted: Fri 07 Jul, 2006 7:36 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Any idea how much this would be nowadays? How many Dollars / Euros is a Florin?
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Elling Polden




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PostPosted: Fri 07 Jul, 2006 8:29 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm theoizing about 1000.
A landsknecht was paid about 4 florins a month. If we asume that this was a very good vage, 1000$ or could be a appropriate comparison.

This would (with the prices in Sean's example) place a sword at slightly above 400 $, a light suit of armour at about 1500$...
Interestingly, this about the same as today. :P

"this [fight] looks curious, almost like a game. See, they are looking around them before they fall, to find a dry spot to fall on, or they are falling on their shields. Can you see blood on their cloths and weapons? No. This must be trickery."
-Reidar Sendeman, from King Sverre's Saga, 1201
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Chris Last




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PostPosted: Fri 07 Jul, 2006 11:07 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Here's some more info I have:

Quote:
Sample costs for an Elizabethan Soldier:
Pike- 2-4s (3s 8d in London during the Armada)
Caliver- 20-30s
Musket- 22-30s (26s in London during the Armada)
Corselet- 33-47s
Broadsword- 4s
Powder- 7d/lb.7


Taken from various sources, primarily
Jeffery Morgan and Jeffrey L. Singman, The Elizabethan Trained Bands, vol. 2 (Toronto: Trayn'd Bandes of London Publications, 1995) 10. 3 Morgan and Singman, 12.

Quote:
Foreign Coins and their Value:9
Spanish:
Dollar-2s 7d (gold)
Real-3s 3/4d (gold)
Portague- 3 5s to 4 10s (gold)
Maravedis- 5 or 6 to a pence (62.5 to a shilling)

French:
Crown- 6s (gold)
EcuD'Or-5s6d(gold)
Franc- 2s (silver)

German & Italian States:
Ducat- 6s (gold) (Goldgulden or Florin)

Scottish:
The Scottish coins are the same denominations as English coins. The Scottish
value is a lot lower due to severe debasement. The values start at about 1/3
to 1/5 face during the early reign of Elizabeth and fall to 1/12 by the end of her reign


This list was compiled from:

Mark L. Shanks, The Elizabethan 3R's "Money Maketh the World go Around ..."

William Harrison, The Description of England (New York: Dover, 1994)


Hope that helps some, I'll keep digging through some more of my resources after the weekend.

" Hang fires are all fun and games untill someone gets their eye poked out... by charging calvary." - J.Shoemaker

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Craig Johnson
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PostPosted: Fri 07 Jul, 2006 12:40 pm    Post subject: $$$$$$         Reply with quote

Here is a page on our website that has some info.

Exchange rates

Best
Craig
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Gordon Frye




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PostPosted: Fri 07 Jul, 2006 9:12 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Elling;

There are some figures given in "Ironsides: English Cavalry 1588-1688" by Osprey on the costs of outifitting an English Light Cavalryman in 1595, for service in Ireland, which may be of interest.

"For a pair of Curasses blacke with a Headpeece - xxvj [shillings], viij [pennies]
"Item for a long french pistoll with a firelock - xxvj [shillings] viij [pennies]
"Item for a Light horseman's staffe -ij [shillings] vi [pennies]
"Item for a Sword Dagger & Girdle - x [shillings]
"Item for a pair of Sleeves of Mayle - viij [shillings]"

There are some other items listed, such as saddle, doublet, breeches, boots, etc. that may be of interest, and I can post the complete list if you wish.

Allons!
Gordon

"After God, we owe our victory to our Horses"
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Elling Polden




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PostPosted: Sun 09 Jul, 2006 7:11 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks people. Happy
I find this stuff highly interesting, as it casts some light on several classic assumptions about the cost of arms and armour. Happy

Gordon; the complete list would in deed be interesting, som one could compare the costs of armour and other items.

"this [fight] looks curious, almost like a game. See, they are looking around them before they fall, to find a dry spot to fall on, or they are falling on their shields. Can you see blood on their cloths and weapons? No. This must be trickery."
-Reidar Sendeman, from King Sverre's Saga, 1201
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Gordon Frye




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PostPosted: Sun 09 Jul, 2006 8:23 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Elling;

Okay, here you go. This is the entire quote (ppg 13-14):

"Sir wee have delivered to My Bryan Lee to furnish his brother Laurence whom wee have chosen to be the Horseman for ye Lath of Aylesford [pounds] viij xiij [shillings].

"For a pair of Curasses blacke with a Headpeece - xxvj [shillings], viij [pennies]

"Item for a long french pistoll with a firelock - xxvj [shillings] viij [pennies]

"Item for a Light horseman's staffe -ij [shillings] vi [pennies]

"Item for a Sword Dagger & Girdle - x [shillings]

"Item for a pair of Sleeves of Mayle - viij [shillings]

"Item for a Saddle of Morocco Fashion of counterfeit Buff with girts, Stirrops headstall Bridle croper and a pillaine for ye pistol - xxvi [shillings] viij [pennies]

"Item for a millian fustian Dublet - xx {shillings]

"Item for a paire of Shamweys [Chamios] Venitian - xx [shillings]

"Item for two paire of Stockings - xviij [shillings]

"Item for two Shirts with falling bands - xij [shillings]

"Item for Bootes & Spurs -viij [shillings]

"Item for a paire of shoes - ij [shillings]

"Item for a Hat or Cap - ij [shillings] vj [penies]

One thing that strikes the reader is the high cost of clothing, which is comparable to armour, saddlery and weapons. The other is how cheap by comparison the boots and shoes are.

Allons!

Gordon

"After God, we owe our victory to our Horses"
Gonsalo Jimenez de Quesada
http://www.renaissancesoldier.com/
http://historypundit.blogspot.com/
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Elling Polden




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PostPosted: Sun 09 Jul, 2006 8:44 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Could be that the boots and shoes are the only things that are mass produced, and not imported. I would have guessed the boots to be more expensive, though, as they are a large leather item.
Possibly they are quite low, rather than thigh length riding boots.

"this [fight] looks curious, almost like a game. See, they are looking around them before they fall, to find a dry spot to fall on, or they are falling on their shields. Can you see blood on their cloths and weapons? No. This must be trickery."
-Reidar Sendeman, from King Sverre's Saga, 1201
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Gordon Frye




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PostPosted: Sun 09 Jul, 2006 9:27 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Elling;

The boots and shoes were produced locally, but the costs of tanning hides was fairly low, certainly as compared to weaving fabrics. Thus the similar cost between a shirt and a pair of boots. And since such things as shoes and boots were so thin and flimsy to equate more to modern moccasins, I would imagine that they were about as expendable as shirts were, too.

Woolens were certainly manufactured in England in large quantities, but the costs of clothing then as compared to the costs of clothing now is just so different as to stagger the imagination. It would be akin to us having to wear Versacci suits with fine linen shirts from Italy, rather than blue jeans and T-shirts made in China. Big Grin

Another thing of interest is the absolutely outrageous inflation that went on during the 16th Century, leading to the debasement of currency and the misery of the populace. A carpenter of 1600 was making roughly half (IIRC) of what his Great-Grandfather had made a century before.

Allons!

Gordon

"After God, we owe our victory to our Horses"
Gonsalo Jimenez de Quesada
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http://historypundit.blogspot.com/
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Thomas McDonald
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PostPosted: Sun 09 Jul, 2006 11:53 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

From James Drummond's "Ancient Scottish Weapons", 1881.

Mac

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Jared Smith




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PostPosted: Sun 09 Jul, 2006 12:53 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This might be getting a little off topic, but the download at the link has a pretty rigourous effort to establish some conversion rates for around 1632, and comments on currencies that were volatile.

http://www.1632.org/1632Slush/1632money.rtf

At least this one estimates that a 1600's skilled laborer earned around 15 pounds per year, and equates that to about 30 florins (wages similar 2 to 3 florins per month.) At least earlier than this period, military pay actually was considerably above average, even for some cases of militia compensation. You might try to correlate that 4 florins with something like 6 weeks pay for a typical construction worker, weaver, etc.

Also, there was a tricky inflation surge during the 1400's. It could be a problem if you try to use costs or incomes from early 1400 as a basis for comparison.

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