Converting currency from one type to another is a common occurence as traders, pilgrims and travellers of all kinds carry coins from one kingdom to another. Coin changers can be found in most major cities.
Although neighboring kingdoms often try to establish standards of exchange, a number of things influence the exchange rate between various types of currency. It's not just the type of metal the coin is made of, but also the purity of that metal and the actual weight of the coin must be taken into consideration. Some nobles and nations debase their coins (mix the primary metal with less valuable metals) while other kingdoms strive to maintain the purity of their currency.
Beyond this, there is also something less tangible... there is the perceived "strength" of the kingdom that mints that particular coin. Some coins are more highly valued simply because of the economic and military strength of the kingdom from which the coin originates. Some coins are more valued because of the reputation of the kingdom to maintain standards in the minting of coins. Likewise, weaker or less wealthy kingdoms may have coins that are valued less.
With these caveats in mind, the table below shows a general exchange rate between all the major nations.
Drakkellian coins are the most widespread coins in the realm. They are also exceptionally well made with very little variation between coins. For these reasons, Drakkellian coins form the standard upon which all other coins are judged
Dwarven coins are highly valued because they are large, precious and intricately manufactured. The gold mourin is practically an art object. It's much larger than a typical coin and typically has one or more embedded gems. Also, the dwarves are known to be wealthy and this influences how other kingdoms value their coins.
Kalimura bases its paper bills of credits directly on the Drakkellian standard, the nation with which it does the most trade. Kalimuran bills of credit are only valued in Kalimura and some places in the Drakkellian Alliance. They quickly lose value the further one gets from those two nations.
Corvenian crystal glyphs are beautiful creations that are also magical in nature. They tend to be something of a curiosity. However, outside of Corvenia, there are many who do not trust the crystals and put more faith in metal. Because of their unusual nature, they tend to be less valued, despite their beauty.
Sybrenar and Chaddamar coins vary in size with lower denominations being physically larger and containing more metal. Hence, their greater comparative value to their gold counterparts.
The Magrakian currency system is based only on silver and copper, therefore they do not have a standard gold coin.
This table shows the overall global exchange rate. However, it should be noted that coins from very distant or unknown lands will be viewed with skeptism and valued at a reduced rate. For instance, coins from Chaddamar would be exceptionally rare in the Rukemian Empire as the two nations rarely, if ever, conduct trade. Therefore, Chaddamarian coins would be less valued in Rukemia.
The table above shows the relative value of coins of similar type. So, if you are converting silver to silver or gold to gold. Lets say you want to convert one batch of coins into another. Here's how you do it. The coins that you have in hand are the "origin" coins. The coins that you want after the transaction are the "destination" coins. Look up the value of the origin coin and divide it by the value of the destination coin. That gives you the exchange rate.
Let's say you have 90 Drakkellian gold lords and you want to convert that into Northern gold hammers. The Drakkelian value is 1.0 and the Northern value is 0.8 So, 1.0 divided by 0.8 = 1.25. So, the exchange rate is 1.25. 90 x 1.25 = 112.5 gold. Or in other words, 112 gold hammers and half a gold hammer (or 5 silver swords). You are getting 112.5 coins for your 100 coins because Northern coins are less valuable than Drakkellian coins.
Another example: You have 146 trith (Chaddamarian silver cubes) and you want to convert them to tobans (vaullian silver coins). You would take 1.33 divided by 3.0 and you get 0.44. So 146 * .44 = 64.7. So, those 146 silver trith would be exchanged for 64 silver tobans and 7 copper trens. You get fewer vaullian coins because they are considered more valuable.
The examples above is a straight conversion and do not include the moneychangers fee. The moneychanger will always charge a fee... see below.
Moneychangers set up shop at markets and near merchant establishments. Moneychangers will have scales to weigh coins and are knowledgable in the various values of the coins of neighboring kingdoms. They will have plenty of cash on hand, locked strong boxes, guards and so forth. For a fee, they will change currency from one coin type to another. They will also store coins for a customer (for a fee) and can loan money out.
A typical moneychanger in a large city will charge a 3% fee for converting currency. Coin changers in a large city may compete with each other to offer their services at a lower rate than their competitor. This is especially true if a group of mercenaries or adventurers come into the city with a large haul of coins that they want converted. Their could even be a bidding war, of sorts, between various moneychangers.
Moneychangers in smaller cities or towns are likely to charge higher fees because the customer has few alternatives. This might range anywhere from 5 to 10%. Under the right circumstances, an unscruplous moneychanger with no competition might charge as much as a 25% fee.
This website was last updated August 30, 2018. Copyright 1990-2018 David M. Roomes.