This paper represents a summary of broad research undertaken in the Archivo General de Indias of Seville. Gold and silver were shipped from America, received in the Treasury Room, minted, and sold in public auctions to merchants. Because single-entry was the usual accounting method applied by the Casa de la Contratación de las Indias, it was surprising to find several books which provide evidence of the application of the double-entry accounting method to account for those transactions related to the minting process. The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate that the documents related to the accounting procedures of the Casa treasury represent the earliest evidence found of the utilization of the double-entry method by a public institution.

The study concludes that the treasury utilized the double-entry bookkeeping procedure as early as 1555 to account for the transactions involved in the minting process of gold and silver. Although the focus of this research is on the period 1555–1600, this method was utilized until the middle of the 17th century. This paper examines the accounting procedures used to account for the sale of gold and silver during 1560.

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