The Dutch East India Company, or VOC (Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie), was a global trading powerhouse during the 17th and 18th centuries. Among the tools of their trade were weights known as "bonks." These bonks, derived from the Dutch term for "lump" or "chunk," were integral to the company's trading operations across its vast network.
VOC bonks were typically made of durable materials like bronze or brass, with the copper used in their manufacture often sourced from mines in Japan and other parts of Asia. The VOC had established extensive trade routes and relationships, enabling them to access and transport these valuable materials across great distances.
These weights were used in various trading posts of the VOC, which spanned from the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa to the Spice Islands of Indonesia, and even as far as the trading posts in Japan. They played a crucial role in measuring commodities for trade, including spices, textiles, and other valuable goods. The accuracy they provided helped ensure fairness in transactions, contributing to the VOC's reputation for reliable trade.
Adding to their practicality, these bonks often bore stamps indicating their denomination and the year of their creation. For instance, a bonk might be marked with "2S," signifying a value of 2 stuivers, a Dutch coin used during that period. This stamping practice provided an easy reference for traders and helped standardize measurements across the VOC's vast trading network.
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