alpharaposa: (micahicon)
[personal profile] alpharaposa
Answering another weekend world-building question, this time about money. What currencies, if any, exist?

The elves don't use a common currency, per se. No coins, and no paper money. What we consider to be precious metals are in common use as the base of many alloys. (Iron is, in fact, rare, and also avoided. This is a realm in Faerie, after all.) Instead, most people use gemstones for trade. Gems are graded by clarity and size for easy reckoning.

Dunny elves provide most of the gems used for trade, but some wift elf families have trees that can be coaxed to grow them. Sunlish elves get theirs through business.

When bargaining, somebody might set a price by number, by size, or by weight. “Five cloudy grains” (small, occluded gemstones the size of a wheat grain), or “A palmful of clear color” (any size of gemstones, so long as they fill the elf’s palm and have no faults) are both easily understood terms.

Date: 2016-09-25 12:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Medieval and Early Modern Europe ran on the silver standard. There were few denominations of coins, and they were entirely of silver.

In fact, for several hundred years, the only English coin regularly minted was the silver penny. It had a cross on the back, which made it easier to cut it in pieces. This is the origin of the half penny (ha'penny) and the farthing.

The Spanish dollar was divisible into eighths, colloquially called "bits." This is why "two bits" is a quarter-dollar, even today.

Without an agreed-upon base ten number system, money could be divided up in various ways. That said, two things need to be borne in mind: money of account was a matter of calculation, while all real exchange dealt with money as pieces of metal; the most common number systems involved twelves or eights.

The Spanish system used eight bits to make a dollar. A two-dollar coin was later minted: the doubloon, of course. Meanwhile, the English counted twelve pence to the shilling. Twenty shillings made a pound (a unit of account, equal to the value of a troy pound of pure silver). In the 19th and early 20th Century, the shilling was the most common large unit actually used in exchange; it was called a "bob." Ten bob was thus a half a pound in sterling.

As the need for a more flexible medium of exchange grew, more kinds of coins were minted, in both silver and gold. The florin came from Florence; a ducat was issued by an Italian duke (the Doge of Venice, I think). A groat was a small coin, named for a kernel of wheat or barley. There was no rhyme or reason to what was issued. The guinea was a 21-shilling coin (also a unit of account), originally minted for African trade (hence the name).

The Vikings also used marten skins as a standard of value. Coins, rings, and various cut bits of metal were weighed, rather than counted, to establish how much was being paid over, which accounts for the merchant's weights and scale.

Date: 2016-09-26 03:44 pm (UTC)
ext_76029: red dragon (imagination)
From: [identity profile]
Type of mineral doesn't matter? Spinel, beryl, quartz, corundum, diamond, all the same so long as they're of the same size and clarity?


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