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Value of debentures

A precondition for the steep increase in Petr Doudlebsky of Doudleby’s interest revenue was a fundamental rise in the amount invested in the loans. Petr’s capital in debentures rose from 6,810 threescore of Meissen groschen as of St George in 1546 to 11,710 threescore of Meissen groschen as of St Gall in 1549; the increase amounted to 4,900 threescore, or 71.95% of the initial amount. The knight’s lending business thus reached an astonishing volume, with debentures becoming clearly the most important part of his property. The repayment of the principal by some of the debtors did not reduce the value of the debentures for long, as Petr strove to quickly reinvest the money. If he momentarily lacked ready money when concluding new credit deals, Petr did not hesitate to borrow the needed sum himself for a short time (SOA Trebon, pobocka C. Krumlov, VS C. Krumlov, sign. I 5AE 7a; SOA Trebon, CR - registratura, Doudlebstf z Doudleb, no. 13, 16).

Petr’s strategy concerning the profitability of the particular receivables deserves attention. The regulations concerning credit operations in the lands of the Bohemian Crown underwent an important change in 1543, as the legal annual interest rate was reduced from 10% to 6% (Gindely & Dvorsky 1877, pp. 565-6, 569, no. 309, 310; Ledvinka 1985, pp. 28-35). While receivables based on his earlier credit investments continued bearing Doudlebsky the contractually fixed ‘higher interest’, with new loans in the Bohemian lands, he was already bound by the lower, 6% interest. Towards the end of his life, however, Petr found a way of circumventing the interest rate reduction in the form of new high loans to Austrian noblemen. On the holiday of St George in 1549, he lent 1,300 threescore of Meissen groschen to Jerome and Paul James of Starhemberg and doubled an earlier loan of 1,000 threescore to Christopher of Hohenfeld - all with 10% interest (SOA Trebon, pobocka C. Krumlov, VS C. Krumlov, sign. I 5AE 7a; SOA Trebon, CR - registratura, Doudlebstf z Doudleb, no. 18, 20).

Table 11.2 Value of interest-bearing receivables of Petr Doudlebskÿ of Doudleby in 1546-1550

Year

1546

/547

1548

/549

Inheritance to divide 30/6/1550

Date

St

George

St

Gall

St

George

St

Gall

St

George

St

Gall

St

George

St

Gall

Amount lent out (in threescore of Meissen groschen)

6,810

8,410

8,410

8,410

9,010

9,610

9,410

1 1,710

1 1,330

Change against previous date

+ 1,600

0

0

+600

+600

-200

+2,300

-380

The comparison of the value of Petr Doudlebsky’s credit investments in 1546-1549 with his income at that time shows that the newly lent amount could not by far have been covered by his regular incomes, especially as he financed his mining business as well. The same is undoubtedly true also of his earlier credit operations before 1546. We have said already that Petr relied on other, extraordinary sources of money. Without them, his lending business would have not grown into its gigantic dimensions, even with repeated reinvestment of the interest profits. Apart from means gained from inheritance and the money received in connection with his employment in Rosenberg services (besides the regular remuneration), the knight’s extraordinary incomes probably included also yields from precious metal mining. One more source needs to be added to those mentioned above, however: a continuous rearrangement of Petr’s property from immovable to movable.

Immovable property

The core of Petr Doudlebskÿ of Doudleby’s land possessions was his portion of the inheritance of his father’s estates. To this Land-Table property, Petr added - we do not know when - a part of a nearby village. The knight’s subsequent activity concerning land property, however, already had the form of a reduction in favour of the accumulation of financial means. Apart from the aforementioned sale of family possessions near Ceské Budëjovice acquired after the death of brother Jink, Petr gradually divested himself also of properties east of Sobëslav and north of Jindfichuv Hradec. We have written documents of that until 1539 (SOA Tfebon, CS - listiny, Budislav

11-70—1, kart. 17, no. 114; SOA Tfebon, CS - registratura, II-30A-1, kart. 101, no. 24; NA Praha, Desky zemske, DZV 8, f. A 3; Sedlacek 1885, p. 92).

Further reduction of Petr’s land possessions can only be followed indirectly, through sources testifying to the decline in its valuation and to the reduction of land rents he received from his estates (Sterneck 2004, pp. 278-82). Even so, it is evident that rather than building his own domain, Doudlebsky preferred capital investments, not hesitating to partially cover them by the sale of real property.

Petr Doudlebsky made valuations or lists of his assets for his own needs. In some of these records, he quantified the market value of some of his Land-Table estates using the method common at that time, that is the multiplication of their annual revenue by a corresponding capitalization coefficient (Kostlan 1986). Based on these sources, we can state that the market value of the knight’s Land-Table property in 1543-1546 amounted at least to 2,679 threescore and 30 Meissen groschen. Between 1546 and 1547, it dropped to approximately 2,285 threescore and 35 groschen and on the accounting date of St Gall in 1547, it only amounted to 2,000 threescore.

In a private property valuation from the last months of his life, Doudlebsky divided his assets into two categories and quantified the value of each of them separately. He counted ready money and invested capital worth 11,515 threescore of Meissen groschen, while his Land-Table property and the equipment of his household were worth 3,350 threescore according to his valuation (SOA Tfebon, pobocka C. Krumlov, VS C. Krumlov, sign. I 5AE 7a). Preserved inventories of Petr’s inheritance show that it included various articles of daily use as well as of luxury character - clothing, bed linen, cook- and tableware, tools, weapons, hunting, bird trapping and fishing equipment, furs as well as jewellery (Sterneck 2004, pp. 296-308, 316-23, 329-32). The value of the knight’s real property evidently did not increase since the end of 1547. The total estimate of 14,865 threescore of Meissen groschen can be regarded as a reliable quantification of the value of Petr Doudlebsky of Doudleby’s fortune near the end of his life.

 
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