Gold Coins

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Britannian Gold Coin (and the smaller coins)
Closer look at the coins
Typical money bag with coins

Gold coins, sometimes referred to as crowns, are the standard currency of Sosaria and later Britannia, and are accepted on numerous other worlds in the Ultima multiverse.

Description[edit]

The coins of the realm of Britannia are cast in gold by a secretive process which has not yet been counterfeited to the knowledge of the land's governmental authorities. The face of each crown was originally printed with the emblem of the silver serpent as matches the royal amulet of Lord British and the standard of the knights of Serpent's Hold. In later years, however, the gold crown was reissued with a crown on its face and the symbol of the Codex on the other.

Smaller denominations of currency have also been issued, although they appear to have largely fallen out of circulation by the Age of Armageddon. In earlier years, silver pieces marked with the serpent and face of Lord British, and copper pence embellished with swords and ankhs also made their way into the kingdom's circulation, although wealthy adventurers such as the Avatar have often traded in gold alone.

It is difficult to know the exact worth of Britannian coinage by Terran standards, especially as the Avatar's funds come primarily as the fruits of melee with brigands and occasional piece work for local merchants, leaving little reference as to standards of pay within the realm. During the time of Ultima VII, however, when the kingdom had enjoyed centuries of relatively peaceable history, the price of a full suit of plate mail varied between six-hundred and eight-hundred coins. Using the terrestrial costs of armour during fourteenth century England as a model, such a sum would imply a salary of approximately thirty-five coins a day for the average Britannian man-at-arms.[1]

Quite likely owing to the frequent commodification of gold, Britannian coinage has been accepted on numerous lands far flung from where it was minted, with the inhabitants of Killorn Keep, the Pits of Carnage and some regions of the Serpent Isle often willing to trade in plain gold. On New Sosaria in particular, however, gold is best used as capital exchanged for the currency of the local city-state, with the worth of a single coin being roughly equivalent to a half-Monetari, two Filari or one and a half Guilders.

Lore[edit]

The monetary system of Britannia is based on Lord British's heraldic charge. It is a gold coin with a silver serpent cast vermeil upon the gold. The process is so difficult that the coin has never been successfully counterfeited or debased in value. This coin has been the foundation of the realm's stability and is universally accepted by merchants.
"Of course, I'm sure you only carry gold crowns with you, being as important as you are."
She reaches over and squeezes your shoulder affectionately.
"Here, let me show you."
She takes out a sample of each coin for you to look at. The pence has an ankh on one side, and crossed swords on the other. The silver piece has Lord British's face on the front, and a serpent on the back. And the gold crown is a familiar sight, with a crown and the symbol of the Codex. All three of them look newly minted - they're very shiny.
- from Terri, (Ultima VI)

Ultima I Trinket[edit]

A small pouch with one crown, three silver pieces and a single copper pence came as a collectible trinket with the 1986 re-issue of Ultima I. The coins included matched the description of the coinage as later described by Terri in Ultima VI, although this created some discord with the setting of the game, as many of the symbols featured on the coins -particularly that of the Codex- were previously not thought to have been well established in Sosaria during the early Age of Darkness.

See Also[edit]

References[edit]

  1.  "Armour: Characteristics of Armour". Wikipedia. Retrieved 2010-11-22.

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