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Gorean Currency
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Gorean Coinage Currency of Gor There is little standardization in currency exchange rates throughout Gor. These ratios vary from city to city. The bankers, or literally the coin merchants, try to standardize coinage at each Sardar Fair but their motion never passes. Certain coins though are respected and accepted throughout the civilized cities. These include such coins as the gold tarns of Ar, Ko-ro-ba and Port Kar, golden staters from Brundisium, and the silver tarsk of Tharna. On Gor, the basic unit of currency is the tarsk coin, made of copper or silver. Each city then decides on the ratio between such coins. A tarsk bit is the smallest unit of currency. From four to twenty tarsk bits equals one copper tarsk. From forty to one hundred copper tarsks equals one silver tarsk. Ten silver tarsks equal one gold tarn disk. Gold tarn disks are also made in double weight. Some coins may be split into pieces to make change. A coin is about 1.5" in diameter and 3/8" thick. There is a tarn or tarsk on one side and usually a letter to identify the city of origin on the other side. There is no paper currency on Gor. The early novels mentioned the existence of copper and silver tarn disks but the later books, especially when discussing exchange rates, omit these coins. If you monitor the appearance of these tarn disks, they begin to disappear from the books as they progress. And the initial books neglect to mention tarsk disks. This seems to be another area where Norman chose to change matters in the latter books. The latter books should be taken as more authoritative in this matter as they are the ones where the issue of coinage is more thoroughly described. Tribesman of Gor, #10, may be the last book to mention a copper or silver tarn disk. To most Goreans, a silver tarsk is a coin of considerable value. A gold tarn disk is more than many common laborers earn in a year. A gold tarn may buy a tarn or five slave girls. Five pieces of gold is a fortune and one can live in many cities for years on such resources. For the most part, many items on Gor will sell for copper tarsks. Business is often conducted by notes and letters of credit. Most cities have their own mints. Coins are struck, one at a time, by a hammer pounding on the flat cap of a die. Coins are not made to be easily stacked. In some cities, such as Tharna, coins are drilled so that they might be stringed. A coin is a way in which a government certifies that a given amount of precious metal is involved in a transaction. It saves the need of weighing and testing each coin, thus making commerce much easier. But, some less scrupulous people may shave coins, slicing slivers of metal off of them. This is akin to theft and fraud. The coin is worth less than it should be. "Five pieces of gold, in its way, incidentally, is also a fortune on Gor. One could live, for example, in many cities, though not in contemporary Ar, with its press on housing and shortages of food, for years on such resources." (Magicians of Gor - p. 468) The Copper Tarsk Bit: A copper coin worth from 1/4 to 1/10th of a copper tarsk, depending upon the original value of the coin and how that coin has been segmented. The usual number of tarsk-bits in a copper tarsk tends to be eight. When copper tarsks are struck, they are typically pre-segmented with deep grooves which enable a user to snap the coin into smaller pieces, like the wedges of a pie. Half of a standard copper tarsk would therefore be worth "four bits;" one-quarter of the whole coin, would therefore be worth "two bits," and so on. The Copper Tarsk: Equivalent to 8 tarsk bits. The Copper Tarn: A copper coin of slightly greater value than the copper tarsk disk. Once common in certain cities, now widely discontinued due to a move toward standardization of Gorean coinage to emulate that of the city of Ar, which most probably no longer uses it. "Hup wildly thrust a small, stubby, knobby hand into his pouch and hurled a coin, a copper tarn disk, to Kuurus who caught it." (Assassin of Gor, p 13) The Silver Tarsk: The primary silver coin in use upon Gor, worth 100 copper tarsks. The silver tarsk is probably the single most-used denomination of Gorean coinage, owing to its medial value.  The Silver stater was its equivalent in Brundisium and Argentum. probably roughly equivalent in value to a standard Gorean silver tarsk disk.  "Dumbfounded I reached in my pouch and handed her a coin, a silver Tarsk." (Assassin of Gor, p 760) The Gold Tarn: A common unit of currency, with a rather high monetary value owing to the metal from which it is made, and worth 10 silver tarsks. It is also minted in double-weight; as described below. Several cities mint their own gold tarn disks, but the Gorean standard is typically the gold tarn disk of Ar, which is highly valued for its consistent quality and and purity. The equivalent to 10 silver tarks, 400 copper tarns, 1000 copper tarks or 8000 copper tarsk bits.  The gold stater of Brundisium is known to be of excellent quality and good weight, and is probably of slightly higher value than a traditional gold tarn disk. "Without speaking, the man took twenty pieces of gold, tarn disks of Ar, of double weight, and gave them to Kuurus." (Assassin of Gor, p 4) Double-Weight Gold Tarn Disk: A gold tarn disk, minted at double thickness to be twice the weight of a standard gold tarn disk. It is otherwise similar to a regular gold tarn disk in all respects, and is, due to its increased weight and bullion value, the highest denomination of coinage in use upon Gor. Gem Stones: In addition to the coins, there is a healthy trade based upon the mining, cutting and polishing of precious and semi-precious gem stones of Gor, although the value of such items is entirely relative, owing greatly to the quality of the stones, their rarity in various parts of Gor, and, when they are set into jewelry, the quality and composition of their fixtures and settings. The sapphires of Schendi, for instance, are widely prized throughout all of Gor and are even used as a limited form of currency upon occasion. The Gorean Monetary Draft: Goreans often make use of paper "monetary drafts" or "promissory notes" which may be cashed at the various banking institutions and money-lenders against the credit of the draftee. The Caste of Money-Lenders oversee all such practices, typically from the city money-houses which reside on The Street of Coins, which is traditionally the name for the financial districts of most Gorean cities.
used with permission & thanks to Janus of Gor
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