The Romance of Double-Entry Bookkeeping
Feature Column Archive
7. A Pirate Attack
The story begins back on March 20, when Ser Venturin de la Vecchia sells Alvise 160 colored zambelotti (textiles produced especially in Turkey from the wool of a particular breed of goat; probably what we call today ``camel hair'') , worth d.4 g.1 each, a total of d.646 g.16. Alvise will pay him d.200 immediately, and the balance ``when the galeons arrive from Flanders.''
Alvise sells the zambellotti on April 6 to Ser Zuan Francesco Galuppo for d.4 g.2 each which would be d.653 g.8, with a discount of 1% corresponding to half of the sales tax leaving d.646 g.19 p.7. Galuppo will pay him d.300 in cash, and the rest at the end of July. Ser Francesco Colonna, the middleman, gets a 1% commission on the sale. Alvise has lost money on this deal, and balances out the Zambelotti account by debiting the loss to Profit & Loss.
The next installment is in August. On August 9 Alvise accepts from his debtor Ser Zuan Francesco Galuppo a note for 600 ducati signed by Ser Antonio de la Camera, for which Alvise credits him 587 ducati and 21 grossi.
He debits the whole value of this note to the account of Ser Antonio.
On August 16, Alvise gives the 600 ducati note to Ser Venturin de la Vecchia, to whom he owed d.446 g.16. To make up the balance, Ser Venturin transfers to him ownership of 32 carisee (``kerseys,'' light woolen textiles that were one of Venice's main exports to the Orient), in 3 bales, on their way to Salonica, valued at 150 ducati. Ser Venturin guarantees that the merchandise will arrive safely. Alvise credits Ser Venturin 153 ducati, 8 grossi for the transfer and the guarantee.
The Merchandise is on the ship Michiela captained by Ser Piero da Liesena. It was loaded and left port on August 1. Alvise sets up a Trip to Salonica account, and debits the merchandise there.
On January 1 1541 comes the news that the Michiela has been captured by pirates at a spot called Cavo Malio (Cape Evil?). Since Ser Venturin guaranteed safe arrival, Alvise debits him the entire amount.
And he pays.
Here is Ser Venturin's account in the Ledger.
SER VENTURIN DE LA VECCHIA 37. from Cash l.20 s.- g.- p.- | 36. to Zambelotti l.64 s.13 g.4 p.- 167. from Ser Antonio de la Camera | 168. to Trip to Salonica l.15 s.6 g.8 p.- l.60 s.- g.- p.- | 241. from Trip to Salonica, for merchandise | 245. to Cash l.15 s.6 g.8 p.- captured by pirates l.15 s.6 g.8 p.- |
We leave Alvise for now. He has had many business adventures, only some of which could fit here. Most of his business dealings have been quite successful. His personal life we do not know too much about. He married and lost Lucretia in the space of a few weeks. He still has Lucia and Antonio to look after him. Maybe there's some hope for him and Marietta.