Boards to discuss Hârn, HârnWorld, HârnMaster, and RPGs in general.
Links - Home - Kelestia Productions - Columbia Games Inc
It is currently Tue Jul 29, 2014 10:43 pm

All times are UTC + 10 hours




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 14 posts ] 
Author Message
PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2006 11:48 pm 
Offline
Knight
Knight
User avatar

Joined: Sat Apr 06, 2002 5:46 am
Posts: 1394
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Hi all,

I was thinking about coins today. I use Canadian dimes to represent Harnic silver pennies. They make a nice visual representation for players. One of the things that suprised me is how light and compact dimes in bulk actually are. It got me thinking about the weight of "real" Harnic coins.

According to Harnplayer (Harnview page 19), the average Harnic silver penny is about 1 dram. This got me doing a little research into weights and measures.

According to Wikipedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pound_%28mass%29

Quote:
The troy pound is now used only for measurements of precious metals such as gold, silver, and platinum, and sometimes gems such as opals. Most weight measurements of precious metals using pounds and ounces use troy pounds and ounces, even though it is not always explicitly stated that this is the case. Some notable exceptions are Encyclopædia Britannica (a U.S. encyclopedia for about a century now) which uses either avoirdupois pounds or troy ounces, likely never both in the same article (which would make an awkward system with 14 7/12 ounces to a pound).

1 troy pound = 12 troy ounces = 240 pennyweight = 5760 grains.

A pennyweight was literally the weight of a penny, as adopted by King Henry II (1154–1189). This was a sterling silver penny weighing 1/240 of a troy pound (1.55517384 g).


Note that silver, as a precious metal, uses the Troy pound (with 12 oz) rather that the Avoirdupois or international pound with 16 oz.

So, to make things simpler for me, I will use metric grams and then convert back at the end.

4 farthings = 1 silver penny (1d)
12 pennies = 1 shilling (12d)
20 shillings = 1 pound (£1 = 240d)

As a GM, I think the most useful amount of coins to know the weight of would be £1 (240d).

240d x 1.55517384 g = 373.2417216 grams = 0.37kg

1 Avoidupois Pound = 453.59237 grams = 0.45kg

So, £1 (240d) weighs about 0.82 "regular" pounds, or exactly 1.00 troy pounds.

Therefore, a substantial haul of "loot", £10 (2400d), would only weigh about 8.2 "regular" pounds and would easily fit in a small sack. At least £500 (120,000d) of the Earl of Vemion's annual feudal payment must be made in silver. That totals about 410 "regular" pounds of weight and would probably fit in a couple of chests or barrels.

I don't know if anyone else cares about this, but it does challenge my assumption that £1 (240d) was bulky to carry around. In fact my prop bag has over £2 and easily fits into the palm of my hand.

Just a few random thoughts.

TTYL

Kerry Mould

_________________
Well, my days of taking you seriously are certainly coming to a middle. - Mal, Firefly.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2006 12:03 am 
Offline
Baron
Baron
User avatar

Joined: Tue Jun 01, 2004 8:09 am
Posts: 4759
Location: Saint-Denys, Gallia Major, Europa, Terra
It gets even better with gold coins, those £500 would weight less than 25lbs (a small sturdy sack would be enough).

_________________
«Impossible n'est pas Français»


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2006 12:52 am 
Offline
Constable
Constable
User avatar

Joined: Thu Feb 27, 2003 8:47 am
Posts: 2212
Location: Teesside, England
Hi, Kerry,

More accurately, the Troy weights represent the amount of silver in the pennies. Almost all coins had a bit of some other metal (tin, commonly) added to give some strength. Hence the coin weights in HarnWorld - by which several pounds in coin are still quite surprisingly portable...

_________________
Balesir
___________________
- Eschew Obfuscation!


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2006 1:11 am 
Offline
Baron
Baron
User avatar

Joined: Tue Jun 01, 2004 8:09 am
Posts: 4759
Location: Saint-Denys, Gallia Major, Europa, Terra
Balesir wrote:
More accurately, the Troy weights represent the amount of silver in the pennies. Almost all coins had a bit of some other metal (tin, commonly) added to give some strength. Hence the coin weights in HarnWorld - by which several pounds in coin are still quite surprisingly portable...


Andy, is this a way to reconcile the 1 dr (avoirdupoids) penny and its 1 pennyweight (Troy) silver content, with the difference being the non-precious metal content?

_________________
«Impossible n'est pas Français»


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2006 2:04 am 
Offline
Yeoman
Yeoman
User avatar

Joined: Sun Apr 06, 2003 11:24 am
Posts: 639
Location: Victoria, BC CANADA
Rather than having a slide rule, abacus, or calculator always on hand, I use the £1 = 1-lb rule, this rule proves very convenient for me as GM and players alike. For example when a PC picks up a sack of coins and asks how much it weighs, opposed to how many coins, I can tell him that the sack of coins weighs about 2-lb. The PC then has the decision, either pour out the coins on the ground and count them, or estimate that there is approximately 500 coins in the sack.

This method still allows for the carrying about in a purse with quite a fair amount of coins in it, giving those sticky finger thieves some incentive to snatch a few purses while wandering about in the market square. It also serves as a benchmark for adventurers when they find a horde of a 1,000,000 pennies hole in some dragon hoard, as it take at least 19 pack mules to haul out this loot alone.

_________________
For what it's worth, that's the way I see it


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2006 2:15 am 
Offline
Knight
Knight
User avatar

Joined: Sat Apr 06, 2002 5:46 am
Posts: 1394
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Hi Andy,

Balesir wrote:
More accurately, the Troy weights represent the amount of silver in the pennies. Almost all coins had a bit of some other metal (tin, commonly) added to give some strength. Hence the coin weights in HarnWorld - by which several pounds in coin are still quite surprisingly portable...


Yep, I have no problem with this. I am a realist, so a few grains +/- don't worry me much. My understanding is that in the Middle Ages, people rarely paid large amounts with NUMBERS of coins (i.e. 240d), but rather with a specific WEIGHT of silver. This neatly avoided the problem of coin clipping, but also explains the aversion to Rethemi coins which are often heavily debased with lesser metals.

One of the interesting suggestions I came across while researching this issue was Gresham's Law

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gresham's_Law

Quote:
Circulating unmilled British sterling silver coins were known to be shaved to almost half of their minted weight. This form of debasement in Tudor England led to the formulation of Gresham's Law. The monarch would have to periodically recall, paying only bullion value of the silver, and re-mint circulating coins.


Now, this "recall" was much later than Harnic times, but it does reflect that debasement and shaving were cronic problems that would not go away.

I wonder if King Miginath has his feudal payments melted down, purified, a fixed amount of "hardening metals" re-introduced and then new coins struck before spending them, as a way of keeping the purity (and thus the value) of Kaldoric coins high. It would certainly keep his Royal Mint busy.

Just another little thought that was generated by the loving detail that keeps me enamoured of Harn.

:D

TTYL

Kerry Mould

_________________
Well, my days of taking you seriously are certainly coming to a middle. - Mal, Firefly.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2006 6:35 am 
Offline
Knight
Knight
User avatar

Joined: Sun Oct 17, 2004 4:40 pm
Posts: 1540
Location: California
Sageryne wrote:
One of the interesting suggestions I came across while researching this issue was Gresham's Law

Gresham's Law is an economic principle which states "bad money drives out good." In essence, debased coinage will cause good coinage to be horded and not spent. That's only in the presence of legal tender laws, where people are required to accept the bad coinage at face value.

I can't think of any Harnic kingdom that has two coinage standards. Rethemi coinage isn't legal tender in Tharda, or it would have driven out the native Thardic coinage. On the other hand, I can easily see Thardic and Kandayan coinage pushing out Rethemi currency, a reverse of Gresham's Law.

p.s. The exception to two coinages is Azadmere, but they're not the type of folks who would debase their coinage.

_________________
Cyril laugh at puny human!


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2006 6:59 am 
Offline
Constable
Constable
User avatar

Joined: Tue Nov 25, 2003 9:19 am
Posts: 2045
Location: USA, MA, Plymouth
I don't think you can cound on the mass of a "hardening metal" to sugnificantly increase the weight of a silver penny.The other metal would have to be denser than silver, which is pretty dense. For example, silver at 10.5 g/cc is almost half again denser than tin (at 7.3 g/cc).
And I don't think you would use lead as a hardening metal, nor would gold be a good choice!

_________________
Heroes should be uncommon. They just happen to be the PCs.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2006 7:44 am 
Offline
Baron
Baron
User avatar

Joined: Tue Jun 01, 2004 8:09 am
Posts: 4759
Location: Saint-Denys, Gallia Major, Europa, Terra
Brandybuck wrote:
I can't think of any Harnic kingdom that has two coinage standards. Rethemi coinage isn't legal tender in Tharda, or it would have driven out the native Thardic coinage.

IMG I differentiate between Shostimi and Golothan pence quality-wise. Coins struck in Golotha and at Shostim are respectively termed black and white pennies, and ordinary people rarely see or handle something else than the black ones (or golothan bronze farthings, but that is another matter entirely)

Quote:
On the other hand, I can easily see Thardic and Kandayan coinage pushing out Rethemi currency, a reverse of Gresham's Law.


Mmh, on the contrary, mercantylers/usurers in Rethem tend to hoard foreign coinage, I think that's even canon. This would imply that they might use it as legal tender, perhaps within the confines of the Mangai.

Quote:
The exception to two coinages is Azadmere, but they're not the type of folks who would debase their coinage


A good reason why adventurers often happen upon heaps of Khuzan silver pennies. People have to hoard them there first.

_________________
«Impossible n'est pas Français»


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2006 8:06 am 
Offline
Baron
Baron
User avatar

Joined: Sun Sep 07, 2003 2:32 pm
Posts: 3232
Location: China
Brandybuck wrote:
Sageryne wrote:
One of the interesting suggestions I came across while researching this issue was Gresham's Law

Gresham's Law is an economic principle which states "bad money drives out good." In essence, debased coinage will cause good coinage to be horded and not spent. That's only in the presence of legal tender laws, where people are required to accept the bad coinage at face value.

I can't think of any Harnic kingdom that has two coinage standards. Rethemi coinage isn't legal tender in Tharda, or it would have driven out the native Thardic coinage. On the other hand, I can easily see Thardic and Kandayan coinage pushing out Rethemi currency, a reverse of Gresham's Law.

p.s. The exception to two coinages is Azadmere, but they're not the type of folks who would debase their coinage.


If you have a kingdom like medieval England that has a strong central government has controls in place to offset the trend. It is true that bullion in the form of coins or ingots flowed in the direction based on prices. However, the English would gather up these debased coins and restrike them at the prescribed standards of the Royal mints. This is one reason English coinage remained so strong throughout the medieval period while other regions kept debasing their coinage.

_________________
Roy Denton - the title says Baron, but Queen for a year. (Cheselyne I)

"Nathamh na hoibre an t-eolas"
(Knowledge comes through practice)


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2006 9:39 am 
Offline
Reeve
Reeve
User avatar

Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2002 8:36 am
Posts: 409
Location: Burnaby, BC, Canada
This is a little off topic ... but I wonder if anyone has thought about asking these guys to do some Harnic coins ... http://www.shirepost.com/

Their Middle-earth coins look very nice, but sadly I don't have the resources right now to buy any.

Cheers,
Brian

_________________
Brian McNeilly
Burnaby BC Canada
bmcneilly@shaw.ca
http://members.shaw.ca/harngm/


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2006 2:12 pm 
Offline
Knight
Knight
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jul 03, 2002 4:12 am
Posts: 1472
As far as I can see in HW, there is no troy pound, and even the standard pound is supposed to be 0.5kg, or 500g, so that 1 dram = 1.95g, or 240p=468g, or a little less than one pound. Allow 32g for a small purse, I allow my PCs to carry a purse weighing one pound, containing 240p.

_________________
Laboro diem, carpe noctem.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2006 3:08 pm 
Offline
Baron
Baron
User avatar

Joined: Sat Jun 22, 2002 1:09 am
Posts: 4572
Location: Boston, MA
I have two medieval silver pennies. One is from the reign of Edward III and the other is from the reign of Henry V. Alas, I lack the means to weigh them properly, but I can say that each of them is relatively light. By no means do they weigh the same as a modern dime either Canadian or US. Indeed, I would say that at most they weigh half of said weight, but I have no present means of proving that beyond comparing the medieval with the modern coins.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2006 9:51 pm 
Offline
Knight
Knight
User avatar

Joined: Sat Apr 06, 2002 5:46 am
Posts: 1394
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Hi,

I don't worry about the exact weight of a Harnic penny. I use dimes as roleplaying props, nothing more.

Personally, I like George's solution:

George Kelln wrote:
Rather than having a slide rule, abacus, or calculator always on hand, I use the £1 = 1-lb rule, this rule proves very convenient for me as GM and players alike. For example when a PC picks up a sack of coins and asks how much it weighs, opposed to how many coins, I can tell him that the sack of coins weighs about 2-lb. The PC then has the decision, either pour out the coins on the ground and count them, or estimate that there is approximately 500 coins in the sack.


That gets rid of a ton (pun intended) of calculations. A large amount (like the Earl of Vemion's annual feudal payment of £500) is easy to figure out, £1 = 1 lbs, thus £500 = 500 lbs, requiring at least a couple of sturdy chests.

I like simplicity.

TTYL

Kerry Mould

_________________
Well, my days of taking you seriously are certainly coming to a middle. - Mal, Firefly.


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 14 posts ] 

All times are UTC + 10 hours


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot] and 0 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group