Currency & Wealth

Currency, weapons & armour etc

Currency & Wealth

Post Number:#1  Postby mark » Tue Aug 11, 2015 11:22 am

Historical Background
arm ring.png

Large parts of Western and Northern Europe, especially Scandinavia, in the ninth century still operated as bullion societies, exchanging precious metals of variable quality. Typically, goods and services are bartered, precious metals only being used for high value purchases or when a person needs to travel without weighing themselves down with trade items. A great many of the ordinary people of the time never owned any coins and had very little precious metal, they may have had a few scraps of hacksilver or a small piece of jewellery, but silver was for the most part controlled by the elite members of society. Arm rings are popular among Norse cultures, usually given by a lord in return for service they were often considered to be the mark of a good and loyal warrior, but they also have an intrinsic bullion value. Most arm rings are made of silver, some of gold, and many of both metals are decorated.

At this time people well understand the concept of exchange rates, providing a rough conversion value for most items in order to prevent runaway inflation. The value of goods is usually rated in ounces of silver or its equivalent of woven cloth or standard cloth.

The English, Franks & Frisians and other Christian cultures in Europe had been using pure silver coins since Roman times, but over the centuries their coinage was slowly being debased and reduced in weight. The common silver (alloy) coins of the era weighed about 1 gram and contained close to half a gram of pure silver. The exchange rate of silver coins had therefore become around sixty pennies to one ounce of pure silver bullion (hacksilver). Sixty ounces of pure silver bullion was worth one ounce of pure gold bullion.

treasure.jpg
Generally speaking, there are no gold or copper coins in circulation. A few tiny gold coins exist, but are rarely if ever seen, generally only being used as a special presentation gift among the most elite of society. Silver pennies are often cut into four equal pieces called fjorðungar [farthings] in the Norse tongue, two of them being called a hálf penningar [half penny]. Farthings are literally worth a quarter of a penny.

The English at this time had developed an accountancy term known in their language as a schillingas [schilling]. A schillingas is equivalent to twelve penningas, but is not an actual coin. The Romanised "d" character is used to denote pennies, it comes from the Latin word denarius, which was a common silver coin of the old empire.

As the Danes and Norwegians began to conquer and settle in parts of England they started to adopt greater usage of their silver-alloy pennies [penningar], whereas before they had been kept solely for foreign trade and otherwise melted down to be recycled as pure silver bullion. As the decades past, coins started to become more accepted in Scandinavia, but even late in the ninth century, bullion was still preferred.

An ounce [eyrir, plural aurar] was a unit of weight, approximately 30 grams, used for measuring precious metals. A logeyrir is a length of homespun cloth [vadmal] six ells long and two ells broad. Since an ell is about 50 centimetres, this translates to an area of woollen fabric three metres long and one metre wide. The reason for this comparison is that it gives a good idea of how much silver is worth, since one eyrir[ounce] is equivalent to the combing, carding, spinning and weaving of a logeyrir of cloth – perhaps a week of hard work.

For most of the Early Middle Ages one logeyrir remains about the equivalent of an eyrir of silver; which in turn is equal to one reasonable calf. Almost everything in Scandinavia is valued in terms of lengths of fabric, weight in silver or number of livestock.
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Re: Currency & Wealth

Post Number:#2  Postby mark » Thu Aug 13, 2015 3:12 pm

Coinage
silver coins.png

Silver Pieces

Only silver pieces exist in the Vikingr setting, there are no RuneQuest/Mythras gold or copper coin. Silver pieces are called pennies [penningar] or denarii in the campaign and they have are suffixed with the "d" symbol instead of the RuneQuest standard "SP" abbreviation for immersion. A single penny weighs about 1.45 grams and is around 30% pure silver. Every 1,000 pennies has an ENC value of 1. Twenty pennies has an in-game mass of 1 ounce, but an ounce of silver is worth about three times as much (60d) as an ounce of pennies!

Common Names & Symbol:-
penny = penningr = denarius = d.

fathings.png

Halfpennies & Farthings

Pennies are often cut into two or four pieces, which in Norse are called hálfpenningar and fjórðungr respectively. They can be written as 1/2d or (ob.) and 1/4d (qua) respectively. Prices listed in the RuneQuest rulebook in copper coins must be converted to the nearest value in halfpennies or farthings.

Common Names & Symbols:-
halfpenny = hálfpenningr = ob. = 1/2d
farthing = fjórðungr = qua. = 1/4d

Accountancy Terms
Pennies, halfpennies and farthings are the only coins in circulation. However, to aid accountancy there are the following terms:-
shilling = 12d
pound = 240d

The term "pound" is also used for measuring weight, this can be confusing because the silver content of coins has been debased significantly, perhaps to around 30%. Thus, a pound of coins is 240 pennies, but a pound of silver bullion is worth 720d due to the higher purity of the silver.
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Re: Currency & Wealth

Post Number:#3  Postby mark » Thu Aug 13, 2015 3:12 pm

Exchange Rates

Coin Exchange
  • 4 farthings = 2 halfpennies = 1 penny (50% silver-alloy)

Silver Bullion to Coins
  • 60d = 1 ounce of silver
  • 480d = 1 mark or 8 ounces of silver
  • 720d = 1 pound or 12 ounces of silver

Other Materials
  • 1 ounce of gold = 100 ounces of silver = 6,000d
  • 1 ell (50cm, standard length) of cloth = 1 ounce of silver = 60d
  • a reasonable quality calf = 1 ounce of silver = 60d
  • 1 pound of forged iron = 6 ounces of pure silver = 360d
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Re: Currency & Wealth

Post Number:#4  Postby mark » Sat Jul 01, 2017 12:09 pm

Mass and Encumbrance of Coins & Bullion

  • 1d ≈1g
  • 1 ounce ≈ 29g
  • 8 ounces [aurar] ≈1 mark [môrk] ≈ 0.232kg
  • 12 ounces ≈ 1 (Tower) pound [pund] ≈ 0.35kg
  • 400d [denarii] ≈ 0.6kg = 1 ENC [Loose coins have a packing efficiency of 60%, well stacked coins 78%]
  • 75 ounces [aurar] ≈ 1.5kg = 3 ENC
  • 12.5 marks [merkur] ≈ 1.5kg = 3 ENC
  • 1.5 marks [merkur] ≈ 1 (Tower) pound [pund] ≈ 350g[/i]
  • 12 ounces [aurar] = 1 (Tower) pound [pund] = 350g
  • ~4.3 (Tower) pounds [pund] ≈ 1.45kg ≈ 1 ENC
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