Source: Abu'l-Fazl 'Allami, A'IN-I AKBARI (3 vols.). Vol. 1 trans. H. Blochmann, 1927. Vol. 1, pp. 38-39. Ed. *ZDJ*


Book 1, Chapter 12: The Profit of the Dealers in Gold and Silver

One round muhr of 11 mashas buys one tola of gold of 10 ban; or one tola, 2 surkhs of 9.75 ban; or 1 tola, 4 s. of 8.5 ban; or 1 tola 6 s. of 9.25 ban; or 1 tola, 1 masha of 9 ban; and similarly, according to the same proportion, the decrease of one ban increases the quantity of gold which a muhr can buy by one masha.

The merchant buys for 100 La'l-i Jalali muhrs 130 t. 2 m. 5/8 s. of Hun gold of 8.25 bans. Of this quantity 22 t. 9 m. 7.5 s. burn away in melting, and mix with the khak-i khalas, so that 107 t. 4 m. 1 1/8 s. of pure gold remain, which are coined into 105 muhrs, leaving a remainder of nearly half a tola of gold, the value of which is 4 rupees. From the khak-i khalas are recovered 2 t. 11 m. 4 s. of gold, and 11 t. 11 m. 4.5 s. of silver, the value of both of which is 35 rupees, 12.5 tangas, so that altogether the above-mentioned quantity of Hun, gold yields 105 muhrs 39 Rs. and 25 dams.

This sum is accounted for as follows. First, 2 Rs., 18 d. 12.5 j., due to the workmen according to the rates which have been explained above; secondly, 5 Rs. 8 d. 8 j. for ingredients; which sum is made up of 1 R. 4 d. 1.5 j. on account, of articles used in refining the metal, viz. 26 d. 16.5 j. dung; 4 d. 20 j. saloni; 1 d. 10 j. water ; 11 d. 5 j. quicksilver, and 4 Rs. 4 d. 6.25 j. on account of the khak-i khalas (viz. 21 d. 7.25 j. charcoal, and 3 Rs. 22 d. 24 j lead); thirdly, 6 Rs. 37.5 d., which the owners of the gold take from the merchant, as a consideration for lending him the gold; this item goes to the Diwan if the gold belongs to the exchequer; fourthly, 100 La'l-i Jalali muhrs, which the merchant gets in exchange for the gold which he brought; fifthly, 12 Rs. 37 d. 3.5 j. which the merchant takes as his profit; sixthly, 5 muhrs 12 Rs. 3.5 d., which go to the exchequer. According to this proportion, merchants make their profits.

Although gold is imported into Hindustan, it is to be found in abundance in the northern mountains of the country, as also in Tibet. Gold may also be obtained by the Saloni-process from the sands of the Ganges and Indus, and several other rivers, as most of the waters of this country are mixed with gold; however, the labour and expense greatly exceed the profit.

One Rupee buys 1 t. 0 m. 2 s. of pure silver; hence for 950 Rs. the merchant gets 969 t. 9 m. 4 s. of silver. Out of this quantity, 5 t. 0 m. 4.75 s. burn away in casting ingots. The remainder yields 1006 rupees, and a surplus of silver worth 27.5 dams. The several items areó first, 2 Rs. 22 d 12 j., as wages for the workmen (viz. The Weighman 5 d. 7.75 j., the Chashnigir 3 d. 4 j.; the Melter 6 d.. 12.5 j.; the Zarrab 2 Rs. 1 d. 0 j.: the Sikkachi 6 d. 12.5 j.) ; secondly, 10 d. 15 j., on account of requisites (viz. 10 d. charcoal, and 15 j. water); thirdly, 50 Rs. 13 d. 0 j., payable to the Diwan; fourthly, 950 Rs., which the merchant gets in exchange for the silver he brought; and fifthly, 3 Rs. 21 d. 10.5 j., being the profit of the merchant. If he refines the base silver at his own house, his profit will be much greater; but when he brings it to be coined, his profit cannot be so great.

Of the silver called lari and shahi, and the other above-mentioned baser coins, one rupee buys 1 t. 0 m. 4 s., so that 950 rupees will buy 989 t. 7 m. In the Sabbaki process, 14 t. 10 m. 1 s. burn away, being at the rate of 1.5 t. per cent.; and in making the ingots, 4 t . 11m. 3 s. are lost in the fire. The remainder yields 1012 rupees; and from the khak-i kharal 3.5 Rs. are recoverable. The several items areó first. 4 Rs. 27 d. 24.75 j. on account of the wages of the workmen (viz. the Weighman 5 d. 7.75 j.; the Sabbak 2 Rs. 0 d. 19 j.; the Qurskob 4 d. 19 j.; the Chashnigir 3 d. 4 j.; the Melter 6 d. 12.5 j.; the Zarrab 2 Rs. 1 d.; the Sikkachi 6 d. 12.5 j.); secondly, 5 Rs. 24 d. 15 j. for necessaries (viz. 5 Rs. 14 d. lead; 10 d. charcoal, and 15 j. water);  thirdly, 50 Rs. 24 d., payable to the State; fourthly, 950 Rs. which the merchant receives for his silver ; fifthly, 4  Rs. 29 d. his profit.  Sometimes the merchant gets the silver cheap, when his profit is much larger.

1044 dams buy one man of copper, i.e. at the rate of 26 d. 2.5 j. per ser. Out of this quantity, one ser is burnt away in melting; and as each ser yields 30 dams, there, are coined altogether 1170 dams, from which the merchant takes his capital, and 18 d. 19.5 j. as profit, 33 d. 10 j. go to the workmen; and 15 d. 8 j. for necessaries (viz. 13 d. 8 j. for charcoal; 1 d. for water; and 1 d. for clay); 58.5 d. go to the state.


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