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Giant Ice Spider

The Clinking of Coins

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The three main denominations of currency in Westeros are the Golden Dragon, the Silver Stag, and the Copper Star. This makes no sense (to me, anyway).

I will admit, 300 years ago, it DID make sense. When the unified Westerosi coinage was first devised, the Targaryens were kings and a Baratheon was Hand, hence the Golden Dragon and Silver Stag. This would seem to establish a precedent: the Kings get gold, and the Hands get silver.

Except the Stag never changes. To the best of our knowledge, no Hand ever succeeded in getting the coin changed. And it's not like they wouldn't to: having their heraldic charge on an official coin is a great symbol of prestige. If Orys Baratheon got that honour, why not them? And that's only half the problem.

The second half is Robert. Robert never changed the Golden Dragon. This strikes me as odd - wouldn't he want to legitimise his rule by changing the coinage, a demonstration of his authority? Surely Jon Arryn at least suggested it? At present, his own heraldic charge (the stag) is the silver coin, the second-best coin. Does Robert want to be considered second-best to the dragons/Targaryens?

Maybe I'm just overthinking this. What do you all think?

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My thoughts are it would just be more convenient to keep it the same.  Would kinda be like changing our currency with each new president.

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30 minutes ago, Wight_wolf said:

My thoughts are it would just be more convenient to keep it the same.  Would kinda be like changing our currency with each new president.

I guess that makes sense. But I can imagine someone like Otto Hightower or Tywin Lannister wanting to get it changed. The question is, why didn't they try?

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On ‎7‎/‎11‎/‎2018 at 1:02 PM, Giant Ice Spider said:

The three main denominations of currency in Westeros are the Golden Dragon, the Silver Stag, and the Copper Star. This makes no sense (to me, anyway).

I will admit, 300 years ago, it DID make sense. When the unified Westerosi coinage was first devised, the Targaryens were kings and a Baratheon was Hand, hence the Golden Dragon and Silver Stag. This would seem to establish a precedent: the Kings get gold, and the Hands get silver.

Except the Stag never changes. To the best of our knowledge, no Hand ever succeeded in getting the coin changed. And it's not like they wouldn't to: having their heraldic charge on an official coin is a great symbol of prestige. If Orys Baratheon got that honour, why not them? And that's only half the problem.

The second half is Robert. Robert never changed the Golden Dragon. This strikes me as odd - wouldn't he want to legitimise his rule by changing the coinage, a demonstration of his authority? Surely Jon Arryn at least suggested it? At present, his own heraldic charge (the stag) is the silver coin, the second-best coin. Does Robert want to be considered second-best to the dragons/Targaryens?

Maybe I'm just overthinking this. What do you all think?

Even gold and silver coins can have a perceived value in addition to their actual value by weight. The dragons and stags represent the perceived stability, economic and otherwise, that the Targs maintained for 300 years. The Baratheon dynasty is still in its infancy, so people would not be likely to trust its currency as much. As I recall, there is a scene in the D&E series when someone tries to pass a Blackfyre coin but is refused because it is now an illegal currency. If King Robert tried to implement his own currency at the beginning of his reign, it might lead to an economic crisis because people would be less willing to accept it for fear of running afoul of the counter-rebellion that everyone was sure was coming.

Why he didn't implement his own coinage 5, 10, even 15 years into his reign is a little puzzling, but he never bothered with "counting coppers" so it probably never occurred to him, and his Master of Coin probably saw an advantage to himself by keeping the dragons and stags.

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11 hours ago, John Suburbs said:

Even gold and silver coins can have a perceived value in addition to their actual value by weight. The dragons and stags represent the perceived stability, economic and otherwise, that the Targs maintained for 300 years. The Baratheon dynasty is still in its infancy, so people would not be likely to trust its currency as much. As I recall, there is a scene in the D&E series when someone tries to pass a Blackfyre coin but is refused because it is now an illegal currency. If King Robert tried to implement his own currency at the beginning of his reign, it might lead to an economic crisis because people would be less willing to accept it for fear of running afoul of the counter-rebellion that everyone was sure was coming.

Why he didn't implement his own coinage 5, 10, even 15 years into his reign is a little puzzling, but he never bothered with "counting coppers" so it probably never occurred to him, and his Master of Coin probably saw an advantage to himself by keeping the dragons and stags.

Yeah, I hadn't considered the economic consequences. Silly me.

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On 7/11/2018 at 10:02 AM, Giant Ice Spider said:

The three main denominations of currency in Westeros are the Golden Dragon, the Silver Stag, and the Copper Star. This makes no sense (to me, anyway).

I will admit, 300 years ago, it DID make sense. When the unified Westerosi coinage was first devised, the Targaryens were kings and a Baratheon was Hand, hence the Golden Dragon and Silver Stag. This would seem to establish a precedent: the Kings get gold, and the Hands get silver.

Except the Stag never changes. To the best of our knowledge, no Hand ever succeeded in getting the coin changed. And it's not like they wouldn't to: having their heraldic charge on an official coin is a great symbol of prestige. If Orys Baratheon got that honour, why not them? And that's only half the problem.

The second half is Robert. Robert never changed the Golden Dragon. This strikes me as odd - wouldn't he want to legitimise his rule by changing the coinage, a demonstration of his authority? Surely Jon Arryn at least suggested it? At present, his own heraldic charge (the stag) is the silver coin, the second-best coin. Does Robert want to be considered second-best to the dragons/Targaryens?

Maybe I'm just overthinking this. What do you all think?

 

Its pretty unhistorical that the coinage would never change much.  Most medieval kingdoms changed their coins signficantly from minting to minting.   Perhaps one of the Targeryns established a minting guild which maintains control over the denominations and no one has gotten around to changing it.  Although I would have expected several of the recorded kings to happily have watered down their coinage to fix their finanical difficulties.  Does anyone recall mention of people weighing coins to verify value?

 

As to Robert not changing the golden dragon, as I recall, Robert is descended from Targeryns, it was part of his claim to the throne.  Most recently his grandmother was a princess, and Robert's great-grandfather was King Aegon the V.

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On ‎8‎/‎10‎/‎2018 at 12:51 AM, argonak said:

 

Its pretty unhistorical that the coinage would never change much.  Most medieval kingdoms changed their coins signficantly from minting to minting.   Perhaps one of the Targeryns established a minting guild which maintains control over the denominations and no one has gotten around to changing it.  Although I would have expected several of the recorded kings to happily have watered down their coinage to fix their finanical difficulties.  Does anyone recall mention of people weighing coins to verify value?

 

As to Robert not changing the golden dragon, as I recall, Robert is descended from Targeryns, it was part of his claim to the throne.  Most recently his grandmother was a princess, and Robert's great-grandfather was King Aegon the V.

Robert's claim was only relevant from a ceremonial point of view. I suspect it wouldn't be enough of a reason to keep the dragon

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I think in Robert's case he simply didn't give a shit what picture was on the coin as long as he could spend it on wine and tourney.

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