How Precious this Gold?

a detail from the book Jardin de ensayadores Queen Ensena a aquilatar, y dar el valor a la plata conforms a las leyes reales (Lima, 1639) by Miguel de Rojas Ruiz

Although the cumulative cost of the Library’s wish list of rare materials always outpaces available funds, Library staff carefully weighs opportunities to buy items of value to our researchers. The criteria considers their condition, rarity, and fit within the collection's scope. One item that passed this high bar explores the subject of precious metals, a commodity of great value in the Spanish empire. Jardin de ensayadores que ensena a aquilatar, y dar el valor a la plata conforme a las leyes reales (Lima, 1639) was written by Miguel de Rojas Ruiz, who was chief assayer of the Peruvian mint when the book was published. This extremely rare volume discusses how to value precious metal and the Spanish laws governing this process.

Much of the growth of the JCB collections is due to the generosity of our donors, including members of the Association of Friends and Fellows. If you are a member, thank you for helping us provide new resources like Jardin de ensayadores in our Reading Room and online.