Medieval chequerboards and jetons

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Allan Harley
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Medieval chequerboards and jetons

Post by Allan Harley »

Can anyone summarise how these were used and how they worked Would the chequerboard be made of wood, can it be leather (seems sensible for transporting about) and do you use different Jetons for different items?
Also do you have any illustrations

I am getting confused as to whether in Arabic or Roman numerals plus tally sticks (I talking about for the Fifteenth century)

Interesting subject but can't find any real detail
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Gandi
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Re: Medieval chequerboards and jetons

Post by Gandi »

http://homepage.mac.com/shelleywalsh/Ma ... ition.html

will give a very brief summary of how to add and subtract using one if you didn't already know.
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Re: Medieval chequerboards and jetons

Post by davetmoneyer »

Hi yes I can
first used ( in UK) around the end of the 13th centuryboards could be cloth , leather wood or even scratched into the top of a table and can be any size from 1 foot to 6 foot+ square
Counters could be pebbles or specially maded counters from initially the royal mint then the mints in france and latterly neuremburg and come in a miriad of designs.
the board was used as a flat abbacus
for use the best work is
F.P.Barnard - The Casting-Counter and the Counting Board reprinted byFox 1981 ISBN 0-907498-00-0
for furthur info about above and tally sticks
give me a call
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Jenn
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Re: Medieval chequerboards and jetons

Post by Jenn »

Are we talking playing or counting?
I did some research on counting awhile ago..
this page http://www.mernick.org.uk//jettons.htm is quite good
There's also the token society
http://www.tokensociety.org.uk/topics/jettons.shtml
which has references on their pages if you look and I suspect would be interested

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Re: Medieval chequerboards and jetons

Post by gregory23b »

this is a great site for how to use a counting board or cloth

http://homepage.mac.com/shelleywalsh/Ma ... ition.html

The basic system is easy enough to pick up.

As for boards, well, it depends on how much cash you have, some are elaborate intarsia works, some roll up and sit inside handles of larger objects, some, as Dave says are crudely scratched on pieces of scrap timber, who are you trying to portray?
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Allan Harley
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Re: Medieval chequerboards and jetons

Post by Allan Harley »

Something to portray household accounts for a medium to well off represenative of the nobility.

I have to thank all those for the sites very helpfull - one thing still an issue - have accounts that the church disliked/banned the use of arab numerals on chequerboards for most of Europe during the 15th century but became popular in England to use Arabic numerals as the century went on
True?
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Re: Medieval chequerboards and jetons

Post by Marcus Woodhouse »

They were beginning to be used in Italy during the 1440's but were by no means universal. Even when they were adopted the older Latin numerals were often still used in conjunction with them, sometimes to obscure the accounts to avoid tax and so on. Returns were normally only done on completion of buisness or when a banker chose to terminate continued loans an could be widely inaccurate.
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gregory23b
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Re: Medieval chequerboards and jetons

Post by gregory23b »

Arabic numerals start to become more popular, but the 'common' use seems to be roman for accounts.

Not sure you need a chequer board for household accounts, I was under the impression they were used for people dealing in money, not spenders, but I could see the use for people with high level accounting.

A relatively easy method and as far as we know historic to certain bankers etc was the green baize cloth, the lines demarked, with only the top line marked with an X crossing over the point where the diving line, ie a struck through X - this is the Thousand line, the next is the hundred line, the one beneath that the 10 line the last line the units line.

You will also need some form of recording the accounts, ie book and receipts, not all accounts were in minute detail, some were simply records of expenses to be reclaimed later, the Pastons has a load of them as do the Stonors. There are a few formats, but the main one seems to be the simple:
eg

Expenses for the ride to London (dated or not, named or not)
It - for hire of the horse-----------------------------------------------vijd
It - for horse meat for ij days-----------------------------------------ivd
It - for wine--------------------------------------------------------------xd
It- for hire of horse from Hampton to London at ivd per day -----vijd
It - for a russet coat -----------------------------------------------iijs -vd
Summa totalis vs --ixd

They are often as not in English or Latin, or very frequently in both, as above, eg It is abbreviated for Item, Summa total - sum total, not to mention the coin denominations.

You might get something like that on a slip of paper that may or may not be then added to more accounts, or passed to the employer, or simply kept for personal account keeping.

You can also have loan receipts, indentures of loan, indentures to secure cash against plate with a time limit for redemption, you can also have some rather large bills, the Stonor letters have a large bill from a shoemaker who seems to have been asked to provide footwear for a significant part of the household, there is also a bill from a tailor, the sums are not inconsiderable, ie pounds. All those exciting bits of paperwork await you.
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Re: Medieval chequerboards and jetons

Post by davetmoneyer »

Hi these things would be very common judging from the sheer numbers of jetons found especially in the latter medieval period
regards Dave
gregory23b wrote:Not sure you need a chequer board for household accounts, I was under the impression they were used for people dealing in money, not spenders, but I could see the use for people with high level accounting.
dave
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Re: Medieval chequerboards and jetons

Post by gregory23b »

I know jetons are common, by the cartload, I was talking about the boards, my point was there is more than one way to do the number crunching and it may not be a 'board' as such.
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Re: Medieval chequerboards and jetons

Post by Allan Harley »

All good stuff and things to think on - thank you -I like the idea of a book/sheets recording the details something to add to my christmas list

would be handy for campaigns though trying to calculate the cost of putting a force in the field and keeping it there :D
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Re: Medieval chequerboards and jetons

Post by Marcus Woodhouse »

I have an illustartion of a copy of the accounts of Sienna for a month in which they were fighting Pisa (I think) during the 13th century, its in a book I have about the Italian city states if you want to borrow it.
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Allan Harley
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Re: Medieval chequerboards and jetons

Post by Allan Harley »

Marcus - the answer is yes please - have later ones for german states and Italy but not earlier or close to outr time

I would have thought there should be some available for the late HYW
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Re: Medieval chequerboards and jetons

Post by Colin Middleton »

Pitty that you didn't ask earlier, I had a counting board and an exchequer board with me at Bosworth. I could have given you a lesson. They're quite easy to use for addition and subtraction, but multiplication gets a bit more tricky. Mine are beautiful wooden ones, which I got Gothic Green Oak to make for me.

As I understand it, there are 2 types of board. A counting board is basically a medieval calculator, while the exchequer board is a more complex accounting tool.

Best Wishes
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Re: Medieval chequerboards and jetons

Post by Marcus Woodhouse »

PM me your address Allen and I'll get it posted to you.
Should be with you by Xmas if D.R. pulls his finger out and does some work.
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Re: Medieval chequerboards and jetons

Post by Colin Middleton »

Found this in The Plantagenet Chronicles. The books about Queen Matilda to King John, but the costume looks rather 14th C to me. It's supposed to be the Irish Exchequer at work.
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Re: Medieval chequerboards and jetons

Post by Marcus Woodhouse »

You're wrong Colin it was another attempt by the cruel English to confound and bedazzle us by the introduction of "Snakes and Ladders", you'll clearly see at the bottom in gaelic the words "Aye I know the future of the Gael depends upon it but what the f*** is a snake, begorrah?"
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