This is an Irish 18th Century coin scales. It is the two pan balance type which was the normal type for the period.
The coin to be weighed is placed in one pan and an appropriate coin weight is placed in the other pan. The merchant then holds the balance by the suspension hook or hangs it on a hook near the counter for the purpose.
Typically, if there is no doubt about the autenticity of the coin being weighed it will be quite close to the balance point - but usually on the light side (because locally coin was in short supply and saw much curculation because there were no local minting facilities).
The merchant would then add tiny incremental weights to the coin side of the pan to bring it up to full weight and would decrement the value of the coin by as set amount for each tiny weight added -typically a penny of two would be the amont of each increment.
Given the high value of the coin involved this would only amount to a few percent and the actual value of the coin becomes part of the overall sales negotiation.
The weight below is a typical one of the type used - it was produced specifically to check the weight of a Spanish double pistole. These coins were amongst the more frequently encountered gold coins in circulation in Ireland in the early eighteenth century.
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