Desanka Kovačević Kojić

Serbian Academy of Sciences and ArtsBelgrade

Serbian Silver at the Venetian Mint in the First Half of the Fifteenth Century

Abstract: This paper is an attempt to learn more about the inflow of Serbian silver into the Venetian mint based on three account statements sent from Venice to the Kabužić (Caboga) brothers in Ragusa (Dubrovnik) and on the sets of contemporary data published and discussed by Alan M. Stahl. A reference to the Venetian mint occurs in 1431 in a letter of Christophore Alberto, a citizen of Ragusa, but it is only the fourth page of an extensive account statement drawn by the Venetian Nicolo Grioni in 1435 that refers almost entirely to the mint’s mode of operation. It contains the name of ser Aluvisse, whose responsibility was to add an alloy to silver bullion, and of ser Rafael Barisson maser ala zecha, a mint master. An account statement presented by Marco di Stai to the Kabužić brothers in 1435 mentions the name of the same mint master and refers to some steps in the operation of the mint but without specifying their sequence. Relying on the data contained in the accounting books of Guglielmo Condulmer, a Venetian merchant, Alan M. Stahl has singled out some fifteen or so names of the persons whose supplies of silver to the mint exceeded 70 kg each, notably Marin di Gradi (165 kg), a member of a well-known noble family of Ragusa. Apart from him, eight more Ragusans may be identified, four from the ranks of nobility and four from the citizen class, who supplied a total of 891 kg of silver to the mint. Serbian silver made its way to the Venetian mint through Ragusan middlemen, which may explain why the silver that largely came from Serbian mines tends to be classified as Ragusan silver in European historiography.

Keywords: mint, Serbian silver, Venice, Ragusa (Dubrovnik), Kabužić (Caboga) brothers, account statements from Venice, Christophore Alberto, Nicolo Grioni, Marco di Stai, Guiglielmo Condulmer’s accounting books, Alan M. Stahl