Moulton’s Trade Calculations

March 30, 2013 in Snips

According  to a 1767-1770 study referenced in this essay, the average wage for an English farm worker was approximately 12 pence per day (plus a small beer allowance), which at 12 pence per shilling and 21 shillings per guinea, translates to approximately 17.38 guineas per year. (While English wages are generally considered to have been lower than colonial ones, it is difficult to find precise figures for colonial wages in British currency, likely due to less extensive record keeping and greater use of payment in goods, so we will use the English wages as a reference point while taking this caveat into account.)

So how many guineas could fit in Moulton’s oversized boots? Considering that the story written in The Heart of the Mountains says that Moulton “ransacked the village for the largest pair to be found” (emphasis added), we’ll assume that he didn’t custom make any boots and so, while large, the boots would not be unreasonably so.

massive boots

One can only imagine what Satan would have done to Moulton if he’d tried to claim these as his boots.

 A local custom riding boots shop said that the largest dimensions that they’ve ever had for boots were 20 inches high (with three inches of that being the foot and the other 17 being the calf), 15 inches long at the foot, six inches wide at the foot, and with a 20 inch calf circumference, which works out to approximately .00664 cubic meters of interior volume.

Since the King George’s reign began in 1760, the guinea was standardized at 24 mm in diameter and (we estimate) ≈2.5mm in thickness, which means that it would take approximately 5,872 of them to fill each boot described above, 11,745 total.1

This would mean that Moulton was receiving, in exchange for his soul, 678 times the average annual English farm worker’s salary every month.


1 These calculations assume that any bulge in the boots from the weight of the guineas is roughly cancelled out by the inefficient space utilization by the coins.