andrewgodsell

Tales from an author

Buried treasure

Another piece of Pepys that has caught my attention

The value of money

Imagine burying £1.15 million in your dad’s back garden!

I’ve been enjoying the dramatised version of Samuel Pepys’ Diary on Radio 4. The lastest episode describes how in 1667, due to fear that the invading Dutch might steal his gold, Pepys has it buried in his father’s garden. However once the Dutch retreat, he has problems relocating the entire amount buried: 1,300 gold coins.

When I was a child I would read fairy tales where just a few gold coins would buy a huge amount of goods, and would be very highly valued. I would often think how poor people must have been in those days, as they had so few coins.

My child’s brain didn’t understand about inflation, or currency devaluation, both of which have rocketed in recent years. Samuel Pepys was a wealthy man. If his 1,300 gold coins had contained one ounce of gold, they would be…

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