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Master of Coin

Game of Thrones coins

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It's nice to see this being done by someone with a genuine passion, agonizing over tiny details, rather than some of the mass-produced junk in the HBO Store. Great work! I wonder if your pre-existing contract is why they didn't produce a coin of their own for purchase?

Regarding pre-conquest coinage, Olenna Tyrell (the Queen of Thorns) carries some from the Reach that she uses to pay people due to their gold content being half that of a dragon. Not as cool as a Faceless Man coin, but it's another potential boon for you since it becomes an important plot element in A Feast for Crows. They confirmed she'll be in season 3 after some initial doubt about whether she'd make it to the TV show. Odds are good it will at least be mentioned.

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Just ordered a bunch of these coins (Faceless Man coin, half stag of Eddard Stark, Copper Star of Robert Baratheon, and silver stags of Aegon and Aerys). Was wondering if you're going to be offering the Dothroki Puli coins again? I didn't see them listed for sale on the shire post site.

Any plans on doing other coinage from across the narraw see (Pentos, Slaver's Bay, etc)?

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I'm currently out on the Dothraki wire coins. I do need to restrike those, but it's a very "athletically challenging" operation and I've been totally preoccupied with the Faceless Man of late. Plus it uses the same press that is currently set up to punch blanks for FM. I hate to tear down a setup and then have to redo it, can never get them quite exactly the same. Current plans include Iron Islands, Dorne, and Casterly Rock. (The Lannisters DO actually pay their debts after all) But it's a big world! All things are possible, they just take time and advocacy and effort. Any budding engravers out there?

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A new coin has just been released, a stag-denominated silver piece I call the Silver Kraken of Balon Greyjoy. The story goes that shortly after the death of Robert Bratheon, Balon Greyjoy declares himself King in open defiance of the bastard-king Joffrey, and proceeds to pay his men with his own silver coins... which appear in the taverns and brothels of Pyke suspiciously quickly (leading some to wonder if maybe he had them all made up ahead of time). But in any case they are attractive coins and feature the Kraken on the reverse side. They're now listed on the Shire Post website (link below) and online store. Have fun!

kraken-both.jpg

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There's the coin found in the Dungeons of The Red Keep, the one that comes from chests of The Reach... I can't remember what the coin looks like, but that's a famous one from the books.

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I'm currently out on the Dothraki wire coins. I do need to restrike those, but it's a very "athletically challenging" operation and I've been totally preoccupied with the Faceless Man of late. Plus it uses the same press that is currently set up to punch blanks for FM. I hate to tear down a setup and then have to redo it, can never get them quite exactly the same. Current plans include Iron Islands, Dorne, and Casterly Rock. (The Lannisters DO actually pay their debts after all) But it's a big world! All things are possible, they just take time and advocacy and effort. Any budding engravers out there?

I'll be Waiting for that Lannister mint.

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There's the coin found in the Dungeons of The Red Keep, the one that comes from chests of The Reach... I can't remember what the coin looks like, but that's a famous one from the books.

It is gold. I believe it is "too small to be a dragon"... so something on the order of a half-dragon in size, with a "hand" on it. I think the name of the ruler is mentioned. But just because it's gold it's rather down on the list. It's just really awkward to make gold stuff because of the cost of the metal. So I'm concentrating on silver and copper.

If you're following this fantasy coin thing then you are probably aware that, following the lead of Greg Franck-Weiby, we tend to look for real-world coins from different periods to emulate. In the case of the Lannisters of Casterly Rock, the sigil is the Lion, and they have had mines since the earliest days... in fact... Casterly Rock was probably the location of one of the early mines. So it would make sense for the earliest coins issued in the ancient times of the settlement of Westeros to be Lannister coins. That fits well with the "Lannisters always pay their debts" slogan because for some time they might have been the ONLY ones with coins. Now in the real world, the very first true coins circa 600 BC are made of electrum from Lydia in western Anatolia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lydia and they are stamped with an image of a lion!! So it is a serendipitous coincidence that suggests the earliest coin types for Westeros. Engraver Dave Peters is a specialist in these early types (he makes coins for the SCA kingdom of An Tir) and we are discussing this project. Again the electrum (alloy of 50% gold and silver) is a problem because of the cost, but we can substitute "billon" which is a similarly constituted alloy of silver with copper. And of course there would be later, more medieval or Renaissance coin types from Casterly Rock as well. I already have Lannister buttons... as in sew-on ring-shanked clothing buttons for costuming... two sizes with the lion rampant. 3/4" and 7/8"... ideal for vest or coat.

Next up after Balon... I hope to create a large silver "moon" from Dorne. The major hub elements of the sun and spear and moon have been finished and now comes the tricky bit of hobbing them into the die blank.

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I ordered three coins from you recently and I have to compliment you for your work, especially on the 2 FM Coins. I ordered the FM coins as token presents for a friend and I will probably order more soon.

The postage was also a plus.

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I've been trying to order Lannister stuff for a while, but the overly popular Starks seem to get most of the memmorabilia.

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Okay.. Dothraki "coins" are now back on the online store. I've edited the "story" a little... suggesting that these were made FOR the Dothraki rather than BY them. I imagine a tinker by trade who happens to be good at fixing leather and metal horse tack. The Dothraki don't kill him because he's useful to them. But he gets tired of being raided all the time... so he adopts the "Dothraki Way" of giving gifts with an eye to currying favour, and devises these armbands of 12 impressions that he has his apprentices banging out, and gives them in bulk to Khal Drogo. The khal is flattered of course and gives them to his followers, and everybody likes them... what with the fierce horse warrior &cet. The Dothraki themselves value them as adornment as full armbands. The fact that they may be cut apart does not appeal to them. But eventually, through gifting, lost fights, or crude barter, some will end up in the hands of outsiders, where they would be routinely cut apart and used as coins. So they may represent a first attempt by outsiders to lure the Dothraki into a rough monetary system, by paying a tribute of sorts. Did it work? Not sure! Certainly any Dothraki who cut apart his armband to purchase grog would be shamed by others. But reciprocal gift-giving as an economic system may blend almost imperceptably into a true exchange/barter system with more-or-less fixed values of things.

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I would like to see some Reach or Westerlands currency as well. The golden Hand is of course of most interest, but I realize it is difficult to justify such an expensive coin.

However, the same logic that makes the half-stag from Eddard Stark possible applies to the Reach and Westerlands currency as well. If anything, those coins must be easier to find in Westeros (or at least King's Landing) than the Northron ones, seeing as how its mints are almost certainly there in the first place.

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That would be wonderful! The key to each new coin project is the dies. Dies are steel cylindrical blocks 2.0 inches in diameter by 1.5" tall with the design engraved on the upper side. They are always made in pairs.

The first step in design is coming up with the appropriate imagery and inscription. I have a small team of individuals close to George who can pass or tweak these ideas. Then it needs to be refined in layout and style so as to emulate an appropriate cultural/technological feel. Then finally the design is reversed and transferred to steel. I have relied almost exclusively on hand-engraving for this, because modern machine-engraving can often spoil the antique effect. Each new coin represents an investment of somewhere between $500 to $5000 in the dies and it can take anywhere from a month to two years from a nascent idea to a coin-in-hand. (the Faceless Man was over two years)

So if there are people who would like to see a new coin there are ways in which you can potentially see that desire to fruition. One would be to refine those ideas and send them to me. So for instance, coins for The Reach.... aside from the gold hand... some copper pennies/stars or silver stags... what would they look like? Who would be on them? How would the inscriptions read? What cultural "feel" are we looking for (think different areas of Europe for instance). If you have a book on medieval coins you will get a feel for the breadth of real-world designs. Coins have their own extremely concise "language" of imagery and you need to understand it. So for instance, the Eddard Stark coin shows Eddard bareheaded. This is crucial, because if he were wearing a crown the coin would in effect be a declaration of rebellion, but bareheaded he is declaring a bent knee. The significance may not be obvious if you are not versed in the language of coin imagery.

There are three levels of participation possible.

1. Simply offer some ideas. The more detail the better. Sketches are good but finely detailed drawings are not necessary since line-work does not translate directly to 3d rendering. If somebody offers a good design that eventually makes it to a real coin, then they will receive a pair of the coins and a note of appreciation.

2. Sponsor a coin. In this case the sponsor would not only submit the design work but also enough cash to get the dies made. In this case the sponsor would receive a significant (to be negotiated) share of the production whose wholesale value is at least the cost of the dies... and would have the satisfaction of having their design put into production quickly.

3. Do the actual die-engraving yourself. Obviously this option is only for those who have already gained some skills in metalwork and engraving (or perhaps you know someone). But for instance the new Balon Greyjoy silver stag was done by engraver Joe Paonessa, who I met when I posted on an engraving forum looking for people who would like to create some GOT dies for me. Engravers get paid for their efforts AND receive a share of the coins created from the dies that they cut. Typically I will prepare and provide the polished and annealed tool-steel die blanx. After engraving I do the heat-treating of the steel to prepare for the striking. The SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism) has a moneyer's guild and branch groups (baronies and shires) all over the place, and there are opportunities there for beginners to learn to cut coining dies. Most of the engravers I have used have come out of the SCA guilds.

I have created an excel spreadsheet for Game of Thrones with coin denominations across the top as columns, and realms/rulers listed down the side as rows. Each box then represents a possible coin. The goal is to create a matrix that would define the "universe" of all possible coins. Some would be impossible or inappropriate, some would simply be uninteresting, but it would be a method of narrowing down the field to the ones that looked like fun to do. I have filled out the sheet with all the Targaryen kings, but of course there are all the myriad possible kings and wardens for all the seven kingdoms and beyond. I have not taken the time to look them all up and enter them. If there is someone who would be willing to undertake the task of completing this matrix I would be happy to forward a copy of the spreadsheet.

Just remember that it's just me here. I don't have these things made in China (as some people have suggested on the Reddit forums!) I do some of the die engraving myself... but I'm really a beginner and generally prefer to engage more talented people for that aspect. My specialty is the press set-ups and such, plus I do all the making of blanks and striking the coins, packaging, shipping, updating the website, doing shows and appearances, and posting on forums like this. It was all quite small-time before GOT became popular, but it's simply exploded in recent weeks and months. So any assistance that can be offered is gratefully accepted, and substantial efforts are compensated in product.

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Those would be possibilities. They can be added to the spreadsheet of the coin-universe. It's a big world... it can be difficult to pick something to go ahead and make.

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Hey, do you know what could be real wild? Citadel coins.

They are explicitly able and willing to smith "every known metal" to build their chains. But there are not so many Maesters and Maester chains to fully use their capacity, so their smiths ought to be both skilled and very willing to lend their services for random Oldtown people.

I can easily picture the richer Oldtowners filling orders for genuine Citadel metal tokens used for games and other purposes - sort of the equivalent of deluxe poker chips.

The Faith of the Seven would more than likely bargain with them for a few specialized coins if they felt any need for their own currency, as well - doubtlessly with a seven-pointed star on one of the verses and various representations (faces?) of the specialized avatars on the other.

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A "faith" coin done as a spinner would be fairly simple, and could be used as a divination tool.

But closer to hand... I've just released the Iron Islands copper penny. There were 100 made at George and Parris' request, 10 went to the engraver and 90 went with George and Parris to ComicCon and Spain. Those hundred were all left bright and uncirculated. If you were lucky enough to meet George in San Diego you might have gotten hold of one of those. Then I made 360 more and circulated them all. By that I mean that they were tumbled for a day in a sequence of abrasive media and chemical treatments to emulate the look of coins that have been in circulation for some significant period of time. The circulated ones are now on my online store. They're pretty cool looking!

Tom Maringer

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Geez, Tom, these new coins sound, well, pretty exciting!

You might remember that the end of last November I bought a large collection of your terrific Ice and Fire coins, including some one-offs and test strikes you kindly offered me (and some Ice and Fire coin bags, too).

It looks like I need to place another (smaller) order for the new ones recently produced. I also need to double-check that very collection to see what other designs or variants (that were OP back then) that you may have put back into print, beside the already noted Dothaki wire Puli.

I'll be contacting you directly about those after I have a chance to check-over my inventory; I don't quite remember what I'm missing after nearly eight months.

BTW, I still don't have them adequately displayed and wonder if you could make some display suggestions to those of us here that have both large and small Ice and Fire coin collections (i.e., coin display books, small display cases, etc.).

--Ken

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Hi Ken:

Ah... the question of display! Fortunately coin collecting in general is very popular, so that there are numerous display options and dealers selling coin display products. I have been purchasing from Collectons

http://www.collectons.com/shop/cat/173/index/0/Coin-Collecting-Supplies-Coin-Display-Exhibition

mostly just because I have an account with them and they are fairly nearby and ship very quickly, but there are other dealers all over, including Europe, and their products and prices are comparable.

The holders or "flips" (as they are called) that I ship coins in are the 2x2 size. Display trays for 2x2s come in several sizes, colors, and arrangements. Note that there are several other popular holder sizes, so be sure you get the 2x2 ones! And you can get the trays alone, or in clear-topped cases to protect your display from sticky fingers (if you're displaying in public). I'll be bringing some of these trays with me to ChiCon next month, and there may be a chance at some gathering or in a hotel room to lay out some coins in a display. I especially like the trays that are laid out in a 4 x 5 array with 20 spaces because the coins can be laid out in various sorts of groups, and labels can be placed in the vacant spots describing associated groupings.Smaller trays and boxes are also available for smaller collections. Numerous presentation boxes are also available for one or two coins.

As to varieties... note that on the first page of this thread there is a listing of varieties and mintages. I do update that listing so it should be reasonably accurate. Note that sometimes the only difference between two types is the registration. If you "flip" up the front half of the flip to reveal the printed insert, you also reveal the reverse side. If it appears right-side up then the piece is in "coin" registration. If it appears upside down then it is in "medal" registry. I do not include errors and trial strikes on the list. Those either get remelted (if silver) or just go in "the bucket" under the press if base-metal. (btw... visitors to the mint get to pick something from the bucket!) The most common errors are brockages, where a coin sticks to the upper die and I fail to pluck it off before inserting another blank. The struck coin and the new blank are then struck together, forming a squished out and highly distorted pair. They don't stick together, but brockages are almost always kept and displayed as pairs. I don't do intentional errors... got that out of my system years ago! Random errors are quite enough thank you!

I have always felt that coins need to be touched, which places me at odds with most coin collectors. Since real-world (RW) coins tend to be available to collectors in many states... varying from pristine bright-uncirculated (BU) to very worn and tarnished... I have endeavored to emulate that RW situation by "circulating" some fraction of each issue of fantasy coins so as to make them realistically appear to have been extensively used. I do this by a combined process of tumbling and chemical toning. Coin collectors tend to prefer the bright fresh coins, while thematic collectors often prefer the used worn look, as it more realistically approximates what the coin would actually look like in the universe being fantasized. Since the latter preference more closely describes my own, I have done extensive trials in the processes of "circulation".

Have fun! Tom

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Wow... I put those brockage and strike double errors on the online store in a new category "Errors and Oddities". They were gone within the hour. If you're interested in such things, next time you're in my online store you might go ahead and check the "notifications" box while in the George R.R. Martin section so that you'll get an email notification when new things are posted.

I've added the Grade 1 rainbow toned silver Eddard Stark coins. They are each unique and individually photographed and the one you receive will be the one in the picture. I'm not putting them on ebay.

I don't know if anybody's noticed the embossed Raven Post stamps that are on the envelope that you receive the coins in. You might be interested to know that there are stamp collectors who are ordering the coins just so they can get the stamps! (I don't sell the stamps separately)

Have fun! Tom

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I've just finished striking the 70 of the new Casterly Rock silver Moon coin, from the pre-conquest reign of Tommen III Lannister. It's a large silver coin, silver dollar size, weighing 7/10 of a troy ounce (22 grams) of fine silver. I've edited the mintage list on the first page of this thread to add it. It features a crowned lion rampant on obverse, with a view of Casterly Rock and the sea with a large crescent moon on reverse. Within the next couple of weeks there should be another new coin... a copper star from Iron Islands. I don't have either on the online store yet, but will get them up there soon!

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