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Offline MoonHunter

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Coinage
« on: August 30, 2005, 11:34:29 PM »
Someone asked for historic exchange rates for copper...I thought about
using coin exchanges instead of metal, since that was the basis of the
question.  So, here are some basic exchange rates:

Most of this taken from Wikipedia, with notes added by myself.

Note that in many cases there were many denominations of a coin minted
- that is, like North American cents or European centimes, there could be a
1-reales piece in Spain as well as a 4-reales and 8-reales piece (the infamous 'peso' or 'piece of eight').  Greece is another example, ranging from the Dekadrachma (10 drachmas = 60 obols) to the hemitartemorion (1/8 obol, so one dekadrachma = 480 hemitartemorions!).  You can usually tell who did it most by looking at the list length.  I'm only listing coins of a different name, not a different denomination.

France (9C-18C):
1 livre (--) = 20 sou (gold) = 240 deniers (silver)

England (11C-17C):
1 pound (--) = 20 shillings (gold) = 240 pence (silver) = 960 farthings (silver)

India (15C-18C):
1 Rupee (silver) = 16 Annas (silver) = 64 Pice (copper) = 192 Pies (copper)

Japan (17C-19C):
1 Ryô (gold) = 4 Bu (gold) = 16 Shu (gold) = 50 Momme (silver) = 500 Fun (silver) = 5,000 Rin (silver) = 4 Kan (copper and yes, a Kan equals a
Bu) = 4,000 Mon (copper).

Rome (3C BC - 4C)
1 Aureus (gold) = 2 Quinarii (gold) = 25 Denarii (silver) = 50 Quinarii
(silver and yes, same name as gold Quinarii) = 100 Sestertii (bronze?) = 200 Dupondi (bronze) = 400 Asses (copper) = 800 Semisses (copper) = 1600 Quadrans (copper)

Spain
1 Escudo (gold) = 2 Pesos (aka Pieces of Eight, aka 8-Reales piece)= 16
Reales (silver) = 1024 maravedis (vellon, a low-silver alloy)

Siam (medieval Thailand)
1 Tical (silver, 15.244g) = 4 Salung (silver, 3.8g) = 8 Fuang (silver,
1.9g) = 16 Song phai (copper, 18.9g) = 32 Phai (copper, 11.3g) = 64 Att
(copper, 5.6g) = 128 Solot (copper, 2.8g)

Ancient Greece
1 Drachma (silver) = 6 Obols (silver)

Byzantium
1 Solidus (gold) = 2 Semissis (gold) = 3 Tremissis (gold) = 12 Milarense
(silver) = 24 Siliqua (silver) = 180 Follis (copper) = 7,200 Nummus (copper)
MoonHunter
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Offline Dragon Lord

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« Reply #1 on: August 31, 2005, 08:24:35 AM »
All very interesting but immediately begs the question of exchange rates where this is appropriate of course (it wouldn't, for example, be meaningful (or even logical) to quote an exchange rate between the Japanese Shu and the Roman Denarii since these two cultures never met, and therefore never traded at least not directly)

It would however be interesting to know, for example, how many English shillings you could get for a French livre during the reign of Henry VIII, or how many Indian rupees an English pound was worth in the British Raj

Anyone got any figures

-----

On a similar note, most of medieval Europe used a unit known as the mark or account? (or simply a mark), although no such coin was ever minted by any nation. The mark was use primarily for accounting large sums (such as the taxable value of a large estate) or for international transactions (such as the ransom of a captured nobleman).

Again, of course, an exchange rate with the local currency is required to make this at all meaningful. In England this was (I believe) 12s 8d (or 2/3 of a pound), but what was the rate elsewhere.
« Last Edit: December 14, 2006, 05:23:48 PM by Strolen »
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Offline MoonHunter

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« Reply #2 on: August 31, 2005, 10:05:55 AM »
Quote from: "Dragon Lord"
exchange rates – where this is appropriate of course (it wouldn’t, for example, be meaningful (or even logical) to quote an exchange rate between the Japanese Shu and the Roman Denarii since these two cultures never met, and therefore never traded


Until modern and our current post modern times, exchange was actually based of metal and weight. So if we had 200 gold coins (weight 5 lbs), the exchange rate is by weight. So these 5lbs of gold would be converted into the 5 lbs of the local coinage (130 coins weight 5 lbs), perhaps minus a small banking fee. Silver would be converted to silver (if the purities were equal), copper to copper, and so on.

Once you get of the Gold/ Silver standard, then the value of money becomes based on faith in the issuing organization.
 
Quote from: "Dragon Lord"
On a similar note, most of medieval Europe used a unit known as the “mark or account� (or simply a mark), although no such coin was ever minted by any nation. The mark was use primarily for accounting large sums (such as the taxable value of a large estate) or for international transactions (such as the ransom of a captured nobleman).


This was a unit worth 1000 lbs sterling, but the number can very depending on the banking institution. It was used by the Templars (the first international bankers) and The Islamic Foltawa (badly mispelled, but they were merchant bankers whos network of friends allowed for merchant banking in The Islamic world). The Mark was one of the elements that predates modern banking.
MoonHunter
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Offline Dragon Lord

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« Reply #3 on: September 01, 2005, 07:58:25 AM »
Thanks for the clarification Moon
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