Re: Glorantha Digest V1 #294

From: Ian or Katts (
Date: Mon 29 May 1995 - 10:33:20 EEST


> =============
> >"fiduciary currency" territory with that sort of markup (a fiduciary
> >currency is a currency that whose agreed value is higher than it's
> >intrinsic value - ie a modern US dollar)
> >[deleted evidence of 5 to 15% profit.]
> Were they making a profit calculated on the basic value of the metal or
> calculated on the coins produced?

This isnt stated in Braudel, but it doesnt make too much difference (15% of 15% ie about 3%.). Most of the time raw metal (and in fact coins) were valued in your favorite "money of account", because so many different sorts of coins were in circulation - kind of like how a modern buisiness will list "stock at value" in dollars, rather than list "3 tractors, 4 combine harvesters" etc. The pound sterling, livre, mark etc usually did not exist - they were just accountants tools to describe so much in value of other currencies (eg Charlemagne in 781 defined a livre as being one pound of pure silver, out of which were cut 240 deniers. But you could never actually hold a livre in your hand - ref Braudel,The Identity of France,V2,p604. Over time the denier got smaller or watered down so you needed more of them to make up a livre - 400 by 1301).

> >If people really want, I will dig up more extensive references but just
> >trust me when I say a 100% markup is pure fantasy for a pre-modern
> >currency vis a vis price in metal.
> Hmm, there may be a slight confusion. I understood the coining into
> the doubling of value to refer to the basic value of the metal. From
> the markup (the 100% in dispute) the coiner recieves, he has to fund
> his workers and equipment (and probably pay of the government for the
> right to coin money!). The amount left over (5 to 15%) would be
> the profit which the coiner would recieve to fund a lifestyle to which
> he is accustomed. It's not mentioned in the rulebook but RQ was written
> for the adventurer in mind, not the preindustrial economicist.

Minting just isnt that difficult - a crucible, some dies and a good hammer will do it, if you dont mind fairly simple designs. 15% is plenty as a markup. Yes, if it is a political office allowing a substantial rake-off, maybe the Coiner Royale could charge 100% markup (hmmm, a veritable licence to mint money ...) But if I was the Exchequer, I'd contract to someone cheaper.

> Admitedly the Lokarnos Merchant can cast 'Coin Metal' eliminating Hoi
> Polloi artisans but then he has to pray to the Celestail Wagon for so
> many days before he can get the spell back, time which could be
> profitably spent on trading and so forth.
True. But a cold 15% is a good profit for 2 weeks work ...

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