With institutions such as the Wizard’s Cache, personal lending guilds, and advanced metalworking, currency is not such a simple thing in Falhath. in many places barter is still a readily accepted form of payment, though gold and silver coins, talents of salt and iron, bushels of wheat and increasingly common paper script can be found from one end of the Kingdom to another.
The Gold Standard
The gold standard is epitomized by the common Gold Piece. The coin has a number of different names, and faces across the length and breadth of the Kingdom of Trinistine. Ankaran gold pieces often depict the celestial ox Geidiboros reversed with the bust of Ankar, the first king. In Suisadh the coins bear half naked women, and in Lusankya a dragon glows on the coin.
The standard Gold Piece, henceforth referred to as the GP, has a weight of 1 ounce and is hefty for a coin. There are 16 to a pound, and 80 GP to a 5 pound bar or ingot. Beneath the GP is the Gold Pence, which is a 1/4 ounce gold coin. most ledger record the pence as Gp or gp compared to the standard GP of the larger Gold Piece.
The Silver Standard
More common in Ankara than gold, silver is the predominant metal used in coins. The Ankaran Silver Piece, also called a kraal has a listed value of 1/10 the cost of a good cow. Before the introduction of Falhathian Gold into the Ankaran market silver had a similar value, pound for pound. Now the value of silver has signifigantly degraded reducing the value of many Ankaran coffers. Some economists estimate that the introduction of large amounts of gold coin into Ankaran markets decreased the value of the kraal by as much as 90%.
In most of Falhath silver commands a rate 1/10th that of gold, giving the basic rate of 10 silver pieces to 1 GP. In Ankara, a kraal is estimated to be worth a bit more, generally 35% to 40% the value of a GP, and GPs are less likely to be accepted at face value in Ankaran markets. In such markets foreign minted GP can expect a decreased value of 75% to 80% their normal value.
Most wise merchants consider Suisaidh to be the smartest place to convert Ankaran silver into Falhathian Gold and Sangreal the best place to convert gold into silver. Dealing with money exchangers can make trade a bit easier but doing so ther merchant runs the chance of being robbed blind by unscrupulous exchangers.
The Salt Rate
While Gold and Silver fluctuate, observation has noted that the salt rate is the most steady basis of currency. demand for salt is high across the Kingdom of Trinistine and some lords make fortunes mining salt from their lands. Those closest to the blighted lands of the heart of the old Empire often have the thickest and most valuable salt beds. Unlike gold and silver, salt is sold in measurements called Salt Talents. These measures are roughly 100 pounds of salt each, but are rarely produced as a single block of pure salt.
The Wizard’s Cache has the controlling share of the Salt market, controlling the Salt Merchant’s guild to keep the price of the valuable mineral steady. This is weighed against loans and investments the cache makes to insure them against excessive losses. A talent of salt commands a price of 10 Gold Pieces, or its silver equivalent.
The Wheat Standard
Wheat is the staple grain of Falhath, being grown in vast fields from the flatlands of Ozea to the red soil of Ankara down to the muddy banks of the Bosque river. Compared to the Salt rate, the Wheat Standard is a wild bronco. The rate is based on the cost of a bushel of harvest wheat, which most years runs a humble 1/4 piece of Silver a bushel. While this is a meager price, many thousands upon thousands of bushels are gathered and sold a year on markets across the Kingdom. A drought in one area can raise the value of extra wheat, which is generally what makes buying wheat look promising. The trade generally can increase the value to around 1/2 piece of silver or more per bushel.
In recent years, the Wheat Standard has taken a severe beating. Back when towns were being chartered across the region, wheat had gone up to a staggering 1 and 1/4 pieces of silver a bushel due to excessive demand. This fueled a population boom and increased the amount of land being farmed to reduce the cost of wheat. The surplus of wheat generated did indeed lower the Wheat standard as hoped for, but it coincided with the highly unpopular 2nd Diet of Sangreal that split the Kingdom of Trinistine into the Progressive Eastern Branch and the Conservative Orthodox Branch in the west.
With surplusses of grain, and reduced demand, the price slumped. Wheat could be had for 10 bushels on the silver piece, in some places 20 on the SP. With many of the chartered wheat communities being abandoned or changing to other goods and services, the wheat standard has come up to 1/5 piece of silver per bushel and is still considered to be an unhealthy investment.
The Iron Standard
In Falhath only gold is considered to be truly more valuable than iron. Much like the Salt Rate, the Iron rate is steady, running 1 Gp (not GP) per pound of smelted metal. Most blacksmithing guilds are able to purchase talents of iron for 20 Gold Pieces from iron mongers, though most who would buy at non guild rates would pay as high as 30 GP for 100 pounds of iron ingots.
Ingots smelted by the Ironmonger’s Guild are stamped with their symbol, the lowly and humble Iron Spike. (Warning to all Strolenites, The Iron Spike guild is in the works)