Pierre’s Schaffhausen Record


Pierre Chastain from Vesc, France received 2 fl. and 42 kr. on February 20, 1687. Pierre’s record is the second from the bottom (above another Pierre). Photo Courtesy of the State Archives in Schaffhausen (Staatsarchiv Schaffhausen, Exulanten 26, 12, 03, 20).

The generous folks at the State Archives in Schaffhausen, Switzerland have been kind enough to provide a photograph of Pierre’s records. This one is from the Expenditure Book for French Refugees for February 15, 1687 through September 6, 1687. Pierre’s entry is from February 20, 1687. This was his last stop before reaching Germany. (I love seeing that town of origin in writing—Vesc, France.)

Guilder minted in Lubeck in 1341.

Guilder minted in Lübeck in 1341. (Photo credit: Saharadesertfox.)

Curious about the amount of money given to Pierre, listed as 2 42, I’ve been doing a little digging. I believe this refers to florins (fl.) and kreutzers (kr.). If so, Pierre was given 2 fl. and 42 kr. OK. But what are florins and kreutzers? Great question.

Although I’ve found a neat old book titled The History of Currency 1252 – 1894 by William Arthur Shaw, I haven’t had the chance to read it. Until I do, we’ll have to content ourselves with Wikipedia. According to that venerable old standby, the florin, originally minted in the Republic of Florence in 1252, was the first consistently used gold coin in Europe since the 7th century. The florin was also know in some parts of Europe, especially in the Holy Roman Empire, as a guilder or gulden.

Kreutzer from 1690

Kreutzer from 1690. (Photo credit: WAJWAJ.)

The kreutzer, a silver coin used by the southern Germanic states, was worth 1/60 of a florin. According to the above article on the florin, 1 had the same value as 140 modern day US dollars. Since Pierre was given 2 fl. 42 kr., the 2 florins would have been worth $140 each for a total of $280. The 42 kreutzers were 42/60 or 70% of a florin. 70% of $140 is $98. $280 + $98 is $378. To help him on his way—presumably Frankfurt, Germany was his next stop—Pierre was given $378 by those charitable Swiss.

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