# 'Observations concerning the Mint'.

Observations concerning the Mint

Of the Assays

The Assaymasters weights are 1, 2, 3, 6, 11, 12 & represent so many ounces. The weight 12 is about \16 or/ 20 ^{grains} more or less as he pleases to have his weights made. With this he weighs the silver into the fire & recconning a wast answering to two penny weight he weighs it out of the fire by the weight 11 to see if it be standard, & if it be heavier or lighter he adds in the lighter scale penny weights & if need be an half penny weight & grains to see how much it is better or wors. His scales turn w^{th} y^{e} 128^{th} part of a grain, that is w^{th} y^{e} 2560^{th} part of y^{e} weight 12 w^{ch} answers to less then y^{e} 10^{th} part of a penny weight. They are fenced about w^{th} glass windows to keep them from y^{e} motion of y^{e} air & have in them little thin brass platters to take away the weights by w^{th}out handling the scales.

He cuts off from every Ingot a piece of ab\o/ut a drachm for two assays beats it out into a thin plate, scrapes it clean & cutts it into the ballance &c. In assaying the money he clips a little off from severall pieces of money & assays them together. The Assaydrops of the money & of the pott-assays (but not of the Ingots) are his fee. He makes two assays of every ingot, puts 13 Coppels at once into the furnace uses \the poorest/ lead separated from the ☾\{allay} assayd {or}/ of this & silver {or}{are} {aqua quantity}\& run into bullets. A bullet is/\twice the weight of y^{e} silver. He foliates a bullet w^{th} y^{e} hammer; tears it in two, wrap{s}/ /up the silver in one half, & adds a whole bullet to it, so that the lead is 3 to one\
He lets the fire cool gradually till y^{e} silver set least by cooling too quickly the silver spring & the assay thereby make the silver seem wors then it is. When y^{e} lead is blown off the silver looks very bright. The Assay Furnace is of copper plates luted half an inch thick within. It is about 18 inches squar{e} 10 inches high to y^{e} grate (w^{ch} is of iron barrs) & about 15 inches above y^{e} grate. The muffle stands upon y^{e} grate & y^{e} coppels are set in w^{th} a pair of tongues upon the floor of y^{e} grate through a round hole in y^{e} side of y^{e} Furnace w^{ch} is afterwards filled w^{th} live charcoal. In a quarter of an hour the lead fume{s} away & the operation is done. The King pays for the muffles coppells & furnaces. Pottern ore is the poorest of silver & \steel ore & other/the poorest sorts {sic} ores are y^{e} richest in silvers. commends y^{e} Lead of Villach as best for Assays because poorest in silver.

## Of the Melting

The Melter runns from 600 \or 700/ to 800^{℔} \& of late 1000^{℔}/ weight of silver in a pot & melts 3 potts a day in each furnace within the space of about 12 or 14 hours. The first pot is about 5 hours on y^{e} fire y^{e} two next about 4 hours a piece. When y^{e} silver is molten he puts in the allay. For each melting he is allo (including fire, pots, \Hoops/ tongues shovels ladles ingot molds \sand/ & wages of melters & mould makers) he is allowed three farthings per pound weight & for wast five farthings & as much for melting the scissel & for its wast, that is in all 4^{d} per lbwt\(vizt 2^{d} for {bullion} Ingots & 2^{d} for y^{e} scissel Formerly he had only 3$\frac{1}{2}$ per lwt for ☾ & 1^{s} 1^{d} per lwt for ☉/. The sweep he has into y^{e} bargain & makes it up for himself at his own charges. A pot \for 8{{illeg}|00|}/ weighs about 500^{℔wt} & cost 20^{d} per ℔, and lasts about a month or six weeks {illeg}|or| {seven times} two months {illeg} above, that is if they be very good more or less that is about 120 meltings so that pots cost about $\frac{1}{8}$^{d} per lbwt of silver melted in them & if hoops \ingots molds/ & other utensils \{illeg}& {a} {saved}/ be added they cost less then $\frac{1}{6}$^{d} per ℔wt. A pot in three meltings each day spends spends about 25 {stacks}\bushalls/ of coales per diem, & imploys about 10 men \at 20^{d}. per diem each/ in making molds. {feeding}\looking to/ the fire & \filling &/ ladling out the potts. \The mens wages & coals at 6^{d} per Bushel to $\frac{1}{6}$ ℔wt or something less./ The sweep amounts to & & the charge of making it up to per lwt. And the coales at 6^{d} per Bushel to about $\frac{1}{16}$ of a penny {illeg}|per| lwt. The Pots shrink in the fire by long use so that a Pott w^{ch} when new holds 800^{lwt}, when it has been used a month or six weeks will hold but 700 or 650^{lwt}, or perhaps less.

**The Scissel if the Pot** is crouded full & well charged a 2^{d} & 3^{d} time wasts as little (or w^{th}out a sensible difference) as if it be filled w^{th} Ingots, & the three meltings (if the pot be not quite so full) are done in y^{e} same time or within a little.

**The** hammered money was melted last year \at y^{e} Exchequer with a blast in small/ in potts of 50^{℔} weight a piece, 75^{℔{w}} weight of money in a pott, about 162 pot fulls each day. The potts cost 8 pence a pound & last about 30 \or 35/ meltings a pieceor potfulls a piece. So that y^{e} potts cost $\frac{1}{6}$ of a penny per lwt of silver melted in them. But y^{e} blast makes quicker dispatch this way with perhaps less then half y^{e} expence of fire then in y^{e} other way w^{th} great pots. The little pots are best for coarse silver to be refined, the great ones for standard silver because they alter the fineness least & make least wast for the melter. M^{r} Floyer & M^{r} Shales were payd $\frac{3}{4}$^{d} per lwt for melting \at y^{e} Excheq^{r} this Winter/ besides potts (w^{ch} {came} to weighed about 50^{℔} per pott, cost 8^{d} per ℔ of iron {illeg}{&}\or/ $\frac{1}{7}$^{d} per lbwt of money melted in them) & Refitting of Ingots Mittens for workmen, earthen potts, sandover, baskets cartage of potts &c (w^{ch} cost about w^{ch} cost about $\frac{1}{70}$ of a penny \per lwt/ or $\frac{1}{10}$^{th} of y^{e} potts) but the potts &c should{illeg} be included in y^{e} $\frac{3}{4}$^{d} for melting. Every pot each
day takes up a bushel of coals \or above/ in the first melting \{at} each mor{ning}/ & half a bushel or less in y^{e} rest, that is about $\frac{7}{12}$ o{f}\a bushel/ {ea}{at ea}ch melting at a mean rate, that {illeg}is if coale \be 6d a/ {bush}el, about $\frac{1}{20}$^{th} of a penny per lwt. The wast {at}\the first/ melting of hammered money w^{th} the blast in these little potts is recconn{ed} at 2^{d} (or $\frac{2}{3}$ ^{dwt}) per lwt, the sweep being allowed for in this recconning & estimated at a farthing per lwt. The Plate taken in at Chester last May proved generally about **5**^{dwt} or **6**^{dwt} \(per lwt)/ worse then standard (by reason of the soader) with a wast of about 5 ounces per ^{wt} or 1^{dwt} per lwt

Of the making the Moneys

Sixteen ounces Troy of sixpenny Blanks were blancht in 6 minutes & lost of their weight in blanching the first experim^{t} 8^{gr} the next 10^{gr} y^{e} next 7^{gr} the next 9^{gr} \& at a second blanching for 7 minutes of time one grain more/ at a middle recconning \they lost at one blanching/ 8$\frac{1}{2}$ gr. Whence a pound Troy loses about 6$\frac{1}{3}$ gr. & a pound Troy of crown blancks 3^{gr} of $\frac{1}{2}$ crown blancks 4^{gr} & of shilling blancks 5^{gr}. By experim^{t} I found that a pound Troy of $\frac{1}{2}$ crown blancks lost 3$\frac{1}{2}$ gr.

A sixpenny barr weighing 16 ounces Troy lost in Nealing three times, got 3 grains in weight y^{e} first time, lost $\frac{1}{2}$ a grain y^{e} second time & got 1$\frac{1}{2}$ grain the third time, that is in all the three nealings it grew heavier by 4 grains. A shilling barr of 15 ounces Troy in one nealing grew heavier by 1$\frac{1}{2}$ grain. So that Nealing increases y^{e} weight of a \shilling/ barr of a pound weight Troy by about 1^{gr} or 1$\frac{1}{4}$^{gr} & of a sixpenny barr by about 1$\frac{1}{2}$ or 2^{gr}. And Nealing & blanching together decrease the weight of a pound weight of sixpenny blancks by about 5^{gr}, of shilling blancks by 4^{gr}, of $\frac{1}{2}$ crown blancks 3^{gr} of crown blancks 2$\frac{1}{3}$ gr. And if the sixpenny, twelvepenny, half crown & crown blancks be taken in common in y^{e} proportion of 1, 4, 3, 2 the nealing & blanching together decrease the weight of a lwt by
$\frac{\mathrm{5\; +\; 16\; +\; 9\; +\; 4}\frac{2}{3}}{10}$
$\frac{34\frac{2}{3}}{10}$ or 3$\frac{1}{2}$^{gr}. If the blancks be not well nealed they will not blanch well.

The Moneyers melt their limel per se without any mixture to make it run & in melting it grows better 2^{dwt} 3^{dwt} or 4^{dwt} & loses 1, 2 or 3 lwt of its weight The limel is not above the $\frac{1}{100}$^{th} part of y^{e} money. And if the loss in the limel be $\frac{1}{80}$^{th} part thereof by scattering & $\frac{1}{80}$^{th} by melting, the wast by the limel will be $\frac{1}{4000}$^{th} of the money that is $\frac{3}{16}$ of a penny per lwt

There is also a wast in the milling by the dripping off of sand \with some particles/ which of silver & in the nealing by some blanks falling out of \the pan upon/ the hearth & lying there till they be half consumed by {the} \fire and in shreds/ {illeg} of silver scattered up & down the rooms & lost in y^{e} {dus}t or by sticking to the workmens shoes: all w^{ch} cannot amount to $\frac{1}{4}$ of a penny per lwt. So that the whole wast in the making of the moneys by the Moneyers comes not to 1^{d} per lwt.

Two Mills with 4 Millers, 12 horses \two Horskeepers/, 3 c|C|utters, 2 Flatters, {illeg}|8| sizers One Nealer, o{n} thre {sic} Blanchers, two Markers, two Presses with two feeders & fourteen labourers the {illeg} to pull at them & some Moneyers to weigh the silver & inspect the several parts of the work can coyn after the rate of 3000^{℔} a thousand weight or 3000^{℔} of money per diem And if for the horses & men\labourers/ one with another be allowed after y^{e} rates of 22^{d} per diem it comes to {illeg}about 6^{℔} per diem & to Moneyers after the rate {of} 10^{s} per diem it comes to about 10^{℔} per diem it comes to about 3^{℔} per diem, that is {illeg} three farthings per diem lwt.

So that the whole charge of coynage besides the allowance to the moneyers for their hazzard & pains comes only to about 1^{d}$\frac{1}{2}$$\frac{1}{8}$.