Created By: slvstrChung on August 27, 2009
Troped

Foreign Currency

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Needs a Better Title, which is basically the only reason I'm posting a YKTTW. This is tropable. (Well, that and some Wiki Magic.)

Basically this will be a trope for alternate systems of currency in fiction. The obvious title suggestion is thus Knuts Sickles And Galleons, after the currency in the Harry Potter series (1 Knut = 29 Sickles; 1 Sickle = 29 Galleons). This is different from Global Currency in that 1) these coins might not be global (you can't spend a Galleon at a Muggle shop), and 2) Global Currency rarely bothers to stratify its denominations; everything is charged using the same basic unit of money, rather as if the only coin in America were the penny. (Imagine paying for a sword in pennies. But that's exactly what you do in video games.) This is mostly a Fantasy trope, but could easily apply to anywhere else.

Examples:
  • the aforementioned Harry Potter coins. (For those who are wondering, 1 Galleon = £5, give or take.)
  • The Name of the Wind has Cealdish currency in the form of shims/drabs, jots and talents.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire has groats, pennies, crowns, stags, dragons and R'hllor knows what else; each nation has its own currency, and the author doesn't pay too much attention to the specifics.
  • ...help me here.

Reviving this and putting it Up for Grabs. It's expanded far beyond the point that I can categorize it properly.
Community Feedback Replies: 31
  • June 9, 2009
    random surfer
    Gor started by having "Tarn Disks," later renamed without comment to Tarsks. 100 bronze Tarn Disks (or "tarsk bits") = 1 Silver; 10 silver Tarn Disks = 1 Gold; but in practical terms they almost never dealt with broze tarn disks.
  • June 9, 2009
    Lee M
    The Hitch Hikers Guide To The Galaxy has three currencies:
    • The Altairian Dollar (collapsed);
    • The Flainian Pobble Bead (only exchangeable for other Flainian Pobble Beads)
    • The Triganic Pu. One Pu = 8 Ningis, but since a Ningi is a planet-sized rubber coin nobody has ever collected one Pu's worth.
  • June 9, 2009
    Lee M
    Disc World has the Ankh-Morpork Dollar, comprising 100 pence.
  • June 9, 2009
    dst3313
    Gold Pressed Latinum has the following denominations;
    • 100 slips equals one strip
    • 20 strips equals one bar
    • an unknown number of bars makes up one brick

    A complete outfit, in DS 9, went for between 5 (cadet's uniform) and 17 (a dress) strips of latinum, depending on the quality, so a bar might be worth a few hundred dollars in todays currency (making a slip analogous to such units of currency as the US Quarter, a 20 Euro-cent piece, or 10 pence - the range being imprecise, but intended only as an approximation)

  • June 9, 2009
    Arilou
    Should be noted that this is pretty much Truth In Television. Pre-decimal money really does work like that.

  • June 10, 2009
    slvstrChung
    I should also bring up something I ignored when drafting the YTTKW, which is what to do when a currency system kind of fits into both this trope and Global Currency. World Of Warcraft is the case in point: it has multiple coins (or rather, multiple materials of them: copper, silver, gold, platinum) but each one is just 10 of the smaller one, so they're essentially interchangeable. ...Of course, that's true of all coinage; 100 pennies is interchangeable with a $1 bill or a gold Sacagawea dollar, just a lot less convenient.

    So maybe I should amend this trope: it's only for currencies with 1) unusual names or 2) unusual number divisions.
  • June 10, 2009
    Sofos
    2Lee M: Discworld has many other forms of currency, too (e.g., the Rhinu on the Counterweight Continent).
  • June 10, 2009
    Arilou
    The old system used to be 1 pound=240 shillings, IIRC.

    Sweden used to have: 1 Riksdaler= 6 daler silver =18 daler copper But a Riksdaler could also be divided into 48 skilling, with 1 skilling=12 rune pieces.

    We could probably do a bunch of Currency Tropes? Unusual Currency for nonstandard materials used as currency (like pearls, gems or such things) Oddly Named Currency for when you have tons of odd names (although it should be noted that this would vary according to country...) and Non Decimal Currency for examples of nonstandard divisions.
  • June 10, 2009
    Arivne
    Tabletop RPG
    • Chaosium's Stormbringer game (based on the Elric of Melnibone stories) had the usual assortment of bronze, silver and gold coins, but it also had two Melnibonean coins of note: the Silver Dragon and the Gold Wheel.
      • Silver Dragon: 3 inch diameter. Made of pure silver alloyed with platinum for hardness. On one side a dragon in flight, on the other a picture of the reigning emperor.
      • Gold Wheel: Octagonal shape, 6 inch diameter and 1/2 inch thick. Carved from a large disk of gold by the most talented artisan in Melnibone. Each emperor created one to commemorate his reign, so there are only 427 in existence in Elric's time.
  • June 10, 2009
    Bisected8
    See Old Money for the pre decimal system of British currency.
  • June 10, 2009
    Evil Midnight Lurker
    There are simply vast amounts of different currencies in video games and anime. Games within a given franchise usually use the same currency even if they take place on different worlds.

    Note also that fictional currencies created in Japan will almost always behave like yen even if the culture involved is Western - they'll measure all amounts of money solely in the equivalent of yen/pennies rather than have higher denominations with different names.

    Final Fantasy - gil

    Suikoden - potch

    Pokemon - currency unnamed, known only by its barred-P symbol

    Tales Series - gald

    Dragon Ball - zenny

    One Piece - berries

    Fullmetal Alchemist - cenz

    Trigun - double dollars

    Also, fans with too much time on their hands have calculated that the Ankh-Morpork Dollar (AM$) is worth approximately $20 American.
  • June 10, 2009
    Wulf
    Zenny is also used in many Capcom games, such as Megaman Legends.

    IIRC it's a pun on an old Japanese word for "Money."
  • June 10, 2009
    tomjenkins
    MOTHER 3 - Dragon Power (DP)
  • June 11, 2009
    triassicranger
    Alice Academy (the anime) has "rabbits". The manga uses Japanese Yen.
  • June 11, 2009
    cheat-master303
    The Legend Of Zelda uses rupees, and Super Mario Bros and spinoffs uses just gold coins for currency.
  • June 11, 2009
    EricDVH
    Each nation seems to have its own currency in Avatar
  • June 12, 2009
    slvstrChung
    Good heavens, the trope is beginning to diversify and we haven't even succeeded in launching it yet. Still Needs A Better Name...
  • June 12, 2009
    Nyperold
    Heh:

    • Although, while both are called "coins" for short within their respective realms (unless they're being compared), the Mushroom coin and the BeanBean coin are different currencies. During Mario's presence, the Bean Bean coin goes from being roughly ten times as strong (when the bros pay the dude near the border, thinking he'd help them) as the Mushroom coin to several orders of magnitude as strong (when Peasley pays up on a bet).
  • June 12, 2009
    Stormtroper
    @Evil Midnight Lurker: That's for the American version of Pokemon (and others, probably), but in the Japanese version the currency is the yen.
  • June 12, 2009
    Unknown Troper
    I think the Mushroom coin would make a good trope image.
  • June 13, 2009
    Arcane Azmadi
    How about Our Economy Is Different?

    • Odin Sphere has about 5 or 6 different coins from the different countries, with different denominations. You have to select which denominations to use whenever you buy something, but fortunately the shopkeepers will make change.
    • In Secret Of Evermore each of the 4 ages has its own currency- talons in Prehistoria, jewels in Antiqua, gold coins in Nobilia and credits in Omnitopia. Whenever you change worlds you need to exchange your currency to shop. Each currency is worth twice as much as the one before it.
    • The currency system in Spice And Wolf is not only extremely complicated but also drives quite a large part of the plot.
  • June 13, 2009
    Unknown Troper
    • Dungeons And Dragons uses copper, silver, gold and platinum pieces (liqud wealth can also be stored via trade goods like rare gems) 10 of each being worth one of the next, all prices for items are in gold unless they are cheeper than a single gold plece.
    • Dark Sun I believe had a seperate method of money from the nromal D&D
  • June 13, 2009
    Unknown Troper
    Through a freak of Galactic Commerce, The Standard unit of currency in the universe of Anachronox is the Canadian Dollar, AKA the Loonie.
  • June 13, 2009
    dst3313
    • Odd Coins for when a currency has seemingly strange subdivisions
    • Millions Of Pennies when a currency seems to be denominated without subdivisions, and possibly without higher order money units as well

  • June 13, 2009
    Evil Midnight Lurker
  • June 25, 2009
    Evil Midnight Lurker
    Bump.
  • June 25, 2009
    Unknown Troper
    Our Economy is Different would be related, but I like the suggestion Arilou made. The names listed are simple and easy to link to the different ideas. They've covered most (maybe all) of the different variations so far. I don't really feel that this needs a clever name. Although I like Millions Of Pennies.
  • July 10, 2009
    wolfiso
    bump, is this up for grabs?
  • July 10, 2009
    dotchan
    Legend Of Mana uses Lucre.
  • July 10, 2009
    Dcoetzee
    The most boring possible name is Fictional Currency, which there is a list of on The Other Wiki.
  • August 27, 2009
    slvstrChung

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=brn72dfp6pn35pjjg83jcop6