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Gold–Silver–Copper Standard

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Knuts and sickles and galleons, oh my!
A popular convention for fictional works stuck in Medieval Stasis or otherwise "primitive" settings is to have money handled by the exchange of precious metals. In most of these cases, there will be different denominations of coins differentiated entirely by what metal they're made out of. Usually this takes the form of the Olympic metals — gold as the highest, silver second, and bronze last (though in coinage, copper is used instead of bronze more often than not). Sometimes more valuable metals are added above gold — commonly platinum.note 

When using the Gold–Silver–Copper Standard, expect each denomination to be worth either 10 or 100 times the previous one. This is generally an Acceptable Break from Reality, as very few people would be interested in doing realistic calculations of "exchange rates" between coins, especially writers. In video games, collecting enough coins of a lower denomination will often cause them to somehow combine instantly: your purse with 99 bronze coins will suddenly contain only a single silver coin the instant you pick up one more bronze coin. Conversely, a higher-value coin can easily be turned into multiple coins of a lower denomination, so if you have exactly one gold coin and buy something that costs one copper, you'll be left with 99 silver and 99 copper coins even if it's unlikely that the merchant would have that much change on them.

The trope title is a reference to the gold standard, when paper money is set to be worth a fixed amount of gold, but the trope is otherwise unrelated to the concept. See the analysis page for more information on the real-world implications of the trope.

When the money is called something other than [metal] piece or [metal] coin, it's also a Fictional Currency. Tasty Gold is related, for checking the purity of the gold coins. Hear Me the Money is historically used to test silver coins. Often a Global Currency, which is understandable, as the value in the coins comes from the precious metal itself. For settings that skip copper and silver to jump straight to gold, see Cheap Gold Coins.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • One Piece: The isolationist Wano Country uses this trope as their currency system. From the lowest value currency: Silver, Gold, and Platinum (and no Copper).

    Fan Works 
  • RainbowDoubleDash's Lunaverse: Before Celestia became Corona, Equestria used to use gold for its currency. After Corona, though, use of gold coin is considered blasphemy, and possibly treason. There was a period of economic chaos before one pony managed to create a new silver-based currency system, which Equestria continues to use to this day.
  • With Strings Attached: Played with and subverted in a couple of cases:
    • Averted in the case of Baravada, where the currency is pretty much dime-sized gold coins and gems of widely varying sizes. Only hints of the coinage in Ketafa are given, but when the four are given a pouch of money and sent to Baravada, it's mentioned several times that they're toting around worthless silver and copper coins.
    • In The Keys Stand Alone: The Soft World, there are gold Swords, silver Shields, and copper Torches. Given how expensive everything has become, silver and copper quickly become worthless.
  • Deconstructed in Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality, where Harry realizes that with a fixed exchange rate of Sickles to Galleons, any enterprising wizard could use the relatively volatile Muggle market for arbitrage.
  • The fixed exchange rate of The Rising of the Shield Hero is justified in The Hero Melromarc Needs and Deserves, where Deathmask deduces it's the result of a monetary union between Melromarc and one or more other countries. He also alludes to the problems with a fixed exchange rate when he hopes it won't have the same issues as the Latin Monetary Union.
  • The Rainsverse: This trope for the Heartland's coins, but without the decimal exchange rate, opting instead for Old British Money with French names: One gold livre is worth twenty silver sous, and one sou is worth twelve copper deniers.
  • Dungeon Keeper Ami: In Ambush, there's mention of "coppers" as a kind of currency, and Keepers' money is represented in gold coins, but a gold coin isn't a sign of being connected to Keepers, so some surface nations use gold coins as well.
  • Ma'at: In "Knossos", those precious metals are the currency that Dani's using, granted by divine power:
    There was an unexpected tug at her waist, and she looked to find a purse tied there that contained a number of gold, silver, and copper nuggets.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • John Wick: The assassin underworld uses gold coins as standard currency, with traditional money only being used for bounties and other excessively large sums. In the sequel, one of the Continental bosses is seen inspecting newly minted coins before they are put into circulation.
  • Looper: The titular assassins are paid in silver ingots, which are strapped to the bodies of their targets when they arrive, bound and helpless, in the past. If the target is carrying gold, on the other hand, it means the Looper has just murdered their future self. They are now free from the job and have thirty years to do whatever they want before the criminals they work for abduct them and send them back in time to be killed.

  • Spice and Wolf has far too many currency systems to even remember, and while their values are based on their gold and silver content, the trust that the traders give to the coin is more important. A tiny shift in precious metal content can lead to a huge shift in value; very much like it used to be in real life, in fact.
  • Overlord, being based on Dungeons & Dragons, uses the same set of 1 Platinum coin being worth 10 Gold coins, 100 Silver coins or 1000 Copper coins.
  • Ascendance of a Bookworm follows this pattern with a couple of variations. The first is the use of bronze instead of copper while the other, more significant is that each metal has multiple coin sizes with ten of one coin equaling one of the next size up. So 10 small bronze = 1 medium bronze, 10 medium bronze = 1 large bronze and 10 large bronze = 1 small silver and so on. All these are denominated in a fictional currency unit called the lyon and it's possible there are even smaller coins as well since one small bronze coin is worth 10 lyon and prices are shown at rates like 23 lyon.
  • Harry Potter uses gold, silver, and bronze coins as money in the wizarding world; they're called galleons, sickles, and knuts, respectively. Their relative values are not decimalized, but rather have 17 sickles to the galleon and 29 knuts to the sickle, presumably as a parody of the pre-decimalized British currency. Given that the exchange rate is one Galleon to about five pounds it's probable that they aren't made out of pure gold or silver.
  • Gor has gold and silver Tarns, and silver and copper Tarsks. A still smaller unit of exchange is the "Tarsk-Bit". Gold double-tarns are mentioned at least once - in Assassin of Gor, the hero offers to up the stakes in a street Kaissa game to a tarn of gold and of double weight if the blind chessmaster, who is losing deliberately, can find a win; and this represents more than a year's winnings for a Player.
  • Dragonlance plays it straight at first, but subverts the standard after the Cataclysm by having steel become the coin of choice (steel being rare at best, and generally only made by skilled dwarven craftsmen).
  • The currency in the Tortall Universe novels by Tamora Pierce is based on gold, silver, and copper pieces, with "nobles" being the big coin and "bits" being smaller for all three metals.
  • The currency of Emelean in the Circle of Magic universe also uses gold, silver, and copper coins. The small coin is known as 'crescents', or 'creses' for short. Astrels were the next highest, and were only minted in silver and gold. The largest value coin was a gold maja, described as resembling a medallion more than a coin, and equaled half a year's income for a poor person. The other countries that the protagonists visit have different names for their currency, but they all use the same standard.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire uses golden dragons, silver stags and copper stars,note  the first two named after the Animal Motifs used by the previous and current dynasty, respectively. Their exchange values are notably not decimal increments and might actually reflect realistic rates as shown here.
  • The Saga of Recluce uses this straight, including the decimal values, and even naming them simply "golds", "silvers" and "coppers".
  • The Wheel of Time uses this system throughout the continent on which the books are set. There are three denominations for each material, pennies, marks and crowns, which differ by size. Though the decimal conversion system is followed in some regions, it's not universal, as different countries have different weights of coin, and, of course, a gold mark is worth a lot more than a silver crown.
  • The Riftwar Cycle: Midkemian currency has the denominations sovereign, royal and common. The only difference between the coins is the metal used to make them (sovereigns are gold, royals silver and commons copper). Gems of various types exist as an unofficial currency, and are used alongside coins for making large purchases.
  • The Knight and Rogue Series has gold, silver, and brass, with names like roundels and fracts.
  • The Farsala Trilogy, another series by Hilari Bell, uses the same metals, but gives them different names.
  • Applies to the Garrett, P.I. series, although the usual 10-to-1 exchange rate is subverted because events in the ongoing Cantard war keep changing the value of silver.
  • The protagonists in Atlas Shrugged adopt a gold standard in Galt's Gulch.
  • At least one of the nations in The Kingkiller Chronicle holds to this standard; alas, Rothfuss has (probably on purpose) been rather unspecific with his Fictional Currencies. This was apparently because he thought no one wanted to know all the details. Fortunately, when he learned otherwise, he got someone to make a widget to convert between the different currencies. It looks like most countries have a gold-silver-copper-iron standard, but with different conversion rates and different names for the coins. (Link to the conversion table at the bottom of the page.)
  • A.L. Phillips's The Quest of the Unaligned has the peculiar example of the city-state of Tonzimmiel, which though extremely "modern" and technologically advanced still retains this form of currency. This may be explained by the fact that Tonzimmiel was originally founded by outcasts from the surrounding medievalesque country of Caederan, and has presumably continued to use Caederan's currency system to accommodate easier trade relations. In addition, the fairly large community of dual-citizens that has grown up over the past century probably strongly supports this system.
  • A Tale Of Two Castles, a novel by Gail Carson Levine, has this as their currency (added with tins). Five tins are apparently enough for two set meals (like the one you have in fast food places). Ironically, in Real Life tin was, and still is, much more rare and expensive than copper — the disruption of trade routes bringing tin to the Mediterranean from deposits in England and Spain was what ruined the Bronze Age civilizations. So, unless the "tins" in the novel refer to the tin-plated iron coins, they realistically should be worth more than the copper pieces.
  • Deverry:
    • The kingdom of Deverry uses copper, silver, and gold coins, but their size and relative value are hazy at best. A copper piece buys a mug of beer; a silver is a week's wages for a mercenary soldier, and two gold pieces would buy a good-sized farm - including the livestock.
    • Bardek makes its coins out of the same metals, but appears to have a more complex system of currency exchange. Specifically mentioned is a high-value and rare gold coin (The zotar) that can buy a dozen pigs, half of them fertile sows. In context, that is a lot of money (another book mentions that twenty Deverrian silvers is a generous exchange rate for one zotar). Then there's the zial, which is worth 100 zotars on paper and even more in practice due to their extreme rarity.
  • In Beauty: A Retelling of Beauty and the Beast, Beauty doesn't mention what the actual standard is in her country, but it apparently operates on a system of four rather than three. When her father returns from the Beast's castle and unpacks all the remarkable gifts the Beast sent home with him, the saddlebag has additional weight because at the bottom, "piled wrist-deep, were coins - gold, silver, copper, brass."
  • In the fairy tale The Tinder Box a soldier is offered riches for doing a favor for a witch. In exchange for retrieving the tinder box of the title, he can take his fill of coins from three rooms. The first, guarded by a dog with eyes as big as saucers, is filled with copper coins. The second, guarded by a dog with eyes as big as waterwheels, is filled with silver coins. The third, guarded by a dog with eyes as big as towers, is filled with gold coins. No mention is ever made of why bother making the first two rooms, unless you expect to be making a lot of change. The witch gives him her shawl which will allow him to get past the dogs. The soldier takes as much gold as he can but refuses to turn over the tinder box unless she tells him why she wants it. When she won't, he cuts off her head. Now rich he moves on, finding out by accident that the tinder box can summon the three dogs to do his bidding, which is of course uses for rape and murder. The end.
  • In Paul Kidd's Spirit Hunters the Sacred Isles use such a standard. A copper coin is enough to feed a man, if they don't mind rice porridge and tea, for a day. Silver is good for a month of such a lifestyle and a gold Roku (Kuno's annual salary as an Imperial deputy) is worth a year, in theory.
  • In the Sword of Truth series, all three are mentioned, although the copper is seldom seen - the heroes tend to be short on something so small. At one point, Zedd pretends to be a rich merchant by transforming copper and silver coins to gold, and there is no mention of any reshaping required. The gold/silver exchange rate is stated then to be 1/40.55, with copper apparently being similar.
  • There's a suggestion of this in The Wee Free Men, where Granny Aching is first offered a hundred silver dollars to solve the Baron's problem and, when she turns it down, is offered fifty gold dollars, suggesting that, as far as the people of the Chalk are concerned, what a coin is called is less important than what it's made of.
  • The Fighting Fantasy books (at least, the fantasy ones set on the world of Titan) have 1 gp = 10 sp. Some of the books mention copper or bronze pieces. Titan, the Universe Compendium, says gold and silver coins from different countries their own names (Kings and Queens, Suns and Moons, etc.) and different designs, but they're all basically the same size and weight and worth the same amount. There are also oddities in some cultures such as Port Blacksand's Wyvern, a smaller gold coin worth 5 sp; in other words a half gp.
  • Subverted to an extent in The Redemption of Althalus. In the "past" time (during Althalus' early life, and which is time-travelled back to once he is a few thousand years old) this trope is used in the uncivilised tribal mountain regions, with a particularly rich lord having a vault full of gold, silver and copper coins. However, even by this time the more civilised lowland cities have already invented paper money; Althalus fails to rob the richest man in a city because he doesn't understand what it is. However, by the present/future in which most of the action is set, the heroes don't need to worry about money because they have a hidden stash of gold bars to mint coins from, which suggests this trope may well still be in play and the paper money didn't work out after all.
  • The currency of the Anglo-French Empire in the Lord Darcy books is described in Too Many Magicians. One gold sovereign equals fifty silver sovereigns, one silver sovereign equals twelve (presumably copper) bits, and one bit will buy you a cup of caffe.
  • Akata Witch: Leopard Person Magical Society uses chittim, metal nuggets that spontaneously manifest whenever a member gains knowledge. The standard is inverted and adds bronze as the second-most valuable denomination behind copper.
  • The Deed of Paksenarrion: The southern kingdoms, where the mercenaries operate, have gold, silver and copper coins in two sizes each. The gold coins are "nas" (father) and "nata" (son), the silver coins "nis" (mother) and "niti" (daughter) and coppers are simply called "page" and "serf". No exchange rate is given, but we are given some idea of purchasing power. Beer in a respectable, fairly upmarket tavern ("more expensive than most, cheaper than some", as sergeant Stammel puts it) is three pages a mug or a niti a pitcher. Five pages in the same tavern gets you a mug of soup and a hunk of bread, and the lunch of the day is a niti. Four niti can also get you a nicely carved comb or a small piece of inexpensive jewelry.
  • The Tough Guide to Fantasyland: Fantasyland uses this, with a gold piece about like $5, a silver $1, and copper as cents. The text drily notes "This system is easier than most European currencies".
  • Judge Dee: Being historical fiction, the system used is slightly different: copper currency is cash on strings (round coins with a central hole), silver is coins and sometimes bars, while gold comes only in bars.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Briefly mentioned in Firefly but expanded upon by the RPG. The lower-tech outer planets favor precious metal coinage (silver, gold, and platinum) over Alliance credits, which are primarily electronic currency and therefore both easier to trace and reliant on your banking tech not going on the fritz. Mal and company mention getting paid in platinum at least twice in the series.
  • Game of Thrones: Westeros uses golden dragons, silver stags, and copper stars as currency. They're also valued relatively realistically: Commoners have a little bit of silver at most, and Stannis Baratheon's loan in gold coin from the Iron Bank of Braavos fills a coin case about the size of a laptop, which is enough to hire him thousands of mercenary cavalry to resume his bid for the Iron Throne.
  • The Magicians: Gold pieces are a currency in Fillory. The show doesn't go into much detail, so it's not clear if gold is much more common there or if the team just keeps trying to buy expensive things, but either way they never have any money on hand. Because Fillory is a magical land, people will accept barter in other forms like magical promises or vials of blood, but only the desperate accept such deals.

  • Fen Quest: The Northern Empire uses such denominations with exchange rates oscillating between 4.5 and 5 coppers to a silver, and between 36 and 40 silvers to a gold coin. Oh the other hand, a mithril coin has a fixed value of 1000 gold coins (which seems to imply imperial authorities have a monopoly mining and minting mithril) and the military internally uses fixed exchange rates with a preference for nice round numbers. Peasants and unskilled laborer earn (an spend) a single copper a day (skilled laborers get two and Lesser Knights four), which means the 80-gold bounty on Red Maw is forty years of a peasant's income.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons is the Trope Codifier in modern media; coins from most valuable to least are platinum, gold, silver, and copper at a ratio of 10:1. Previous editions had outliers (electrum, a gold/silver alloy, at half a gold each) and at least one non-decimal exchange rate (5 gold to 1 platinum, 20 silver to 1 gold in 1st Edition, 5 copper to 1 silver in pre-1st-Edition Basic D&D), but these have been done away with over the years.
    • In 1st Edition AD&D, the gold piece was more than the basic unit of currency. It was also the basic unit of weight. All coins, including gold pieces, weighed 1/10 of a pound each, and all weights — the weight of a suit of armor, the carrying capacity of a character with 17 Strength, the strength of a telekinesis spell, etc. — were given in units of gold pieces. (2nd Edition reduced the weight of coins to 1/50 of a pound each, and listed weights and weight-limits in plain old pounds.)
    • AD&D Oriental Adventures introduced additional currencies, with the listed exchange rate being 1 ch'ien (silver) = 10 tael (silver) = 10 ch'ao (paper) = 200 yuan (copper) = 1000 fen (copper).
    • In some of the novels associated with the Eberron setting gold coins are called "Galifars", silvers "sovereigns", coppers "crowns", and platinum pieces are dragons. (While the alliteration made these names easier to remember, they were at odds with the names of actual historical coinage on medieval Earth, where a sovereign was a gold coin and a crown was made of silver.)
    • Two notable aversions: Dragonlance has steel pieces as the standard (although the g/s/c are present as well, just not worth as much), and Dark Sun has ceramic pieces, since metal in general is vanishingly rare (smaller denominations are literally "bits" of a ceramic piece, which is designed to break into ten wedge-shaped segments).
    • The Forgotten Realms also includes city-specific coinage that are really only useful in the city that makes them, notably the "Taol" minted in Waterdeep is worth twice a gold coin, but is only accepted by businesses in Waterdeep. It's barely worth its weight in copper outside the city. Merchant companies in Faerun also sometimes deal in trade bars, which are typically iron ingots stamped with the company's insignia and redeemable for a specified amount of gold.
    • Gary Gygax's Greyhawk setting initially started with EIGHT coins (from most valuable to least): the platinum plate (pp), gold orb (gp), electrum lucky (ep), silver noble (sp), copper common (cp), bronze zees, brass bits, and iron drabs. He also used them in his Gord novels. The last three were dropped later on.
  • Similarly RuneQuest, but prices are usually given in silver Lunars, with copper Clacks being the common street currency and gold Wheels usually having to be changed for silver before they can be spent (though Sun-worshipers use gold on principle). In the Deluxe Edition, there was no official coinage system in the core rules; all prices were given in pennies.
  • As with the literature and TV series incarnations, the Game Of Thrones tabletop game uses this but avoids the decimal ratio. One gold dragon equals 210 silver stags, and one silver stag is worth 56 copper pennies.
  • Rolemaster has a long line of metal coinage, all with decimal exchange rates. 10 iron pieces are worth 1 tin piece, 10 tin pieces = 1 copper piece, 10 copper pieces = 1 bronze piece, 10 bronze pieces = 1 silver piece, 10 silver pieces = 1 gold piece, and 1000 gold pieces = 1 mithril piece. One has to wonder why they didn't just melt down the copper and tin pieces, mix them together, and sell them as bronze pieces; there's a rant about tin pieces and bronze pieces here.
  • A science fiction game example would be Star Ace. All money is "hard currency", coins made of different precious metals.
  • Warhammer Fantasy:
    • The Old World, at least, runs on this. The RPG explicitly puts the Empire on this standard, although with an exchange rate fairly obviously based on pre-decimalisation British currency — 12 copper/brass pfennigs to the schilling, 20 silver schillings to the gold crown. For book-keeping purposes, any coin of a particular metal is nominally considered of equal worth to any other coin of the same type, regardless of origin, but at least one supplement went in to exchange rates between coins of other nations (Dwarven coins are particularly prized for their weight and purity, elven coins are technically worth less but pass for more because they're basically metal filigree, and no-one particularly trusts coins from the Borderlands and some Tilean city-states because the region is too unstable, and the currency is likely debased as a result, etc.), as well as between coins from different provinces in the Empire.
    • Bretonnia, while nominally on the same standard has some oddities as a result of sumptuary laws — silver is reserved for the nobility, with the result that merchants tend to have far more gold. Oh, and the primary unit of exchange between peasants is either the egg or the turnip.
  • While the Exalted themselves may cart around magical Jade metal (or more commonly, script for said metal) as currency, the smallest unit is still far more valuable than most items while being magically important. Gold and silver and script for gold and silver are thus the currency of choice for the Guild and many others in the setting.
  • In Megatraveller the outworlds tend to mint metal coins after the fall of the Third Imperium. Coppers are worth 0.2 credits, silver 10 Cr, and gold 300 Cr.
  • In Ironclaw the standard coinage in Calabria is the silver denar, there are also gold aureals worth 24 denarii and bronze orichalks worth 1/12 of a denar. Plus some rarer coins that are now illegal such as the quincunx used occasionally in House Doloreaux, and House Bisclavret's silver-plated copper fibulae.
  • The Dark Eye uses a decimal system in which one gold ducat is equal to ten silver thalers, each of which is worth ten bronze farthings (in the English version; Heller in the original). Additionally, there are ten iron kreutzers to the farthing.
  • In Dominion, 3 of the 7 cards that are used in every game are standard treasure cards, which come in different denominations. No prizes for guessing what they're called.
    • The Prosperity expansion adds in a fourth currency, which is, of course, platinum.
  • Anima: Beyond Fantasy plays this straight a la Dungeons & Dragons, except that 1 gold coin equals to 100 silver coins being also a lot of money.note  Justified in that all the (known) world was ruled by the same Empire for centuries.
  • Pathfinder naturally uses this, given that it's deeply influenced by D&D. The coins of different countries in the Inner Sea/Age of Lost Omens setting will have their own names, but they're still (usually) worth the same as another coin of the same metal. A gold piece from Taldor is worth a gold piece in Cheliax, Varisia, Ustalav, Osirion, and anywhere else on the planet, for the sake of simplicity.
    • The game's 2nd edition moved to prices being based on silver for everyday purchases and simple equipment. Gold pieces still exist for armor, military weapons, and magic items, but lodging at an inn or a day laborer's wages are usually paid in silver. Money from different regions still spends the same, whether they're Absalom's gold measures, Osiriani scarabs, Varisian sails, or shivs in Pitax.
  • Zweihänder, being heavily inspired by Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, naturally uses this as well. Like Warhammer, the standard is based on Old British Money.
  • Legend of the Five Rings has ten copper "zeni" to the silver "bu", which in theory is redeemable for a bushel of rice from the clan that minted it. A gold "koku", worth five bu, can feed a man for a year.

    Video Games 
  • EverQuest has platinum coins above the other three. Each denomination trades up at a 10:1 ratio. The coins don't automatically get converted up; you have to do that at a bank. In EverQuest II, the exchange ratio was increased from 10:1 to 100:1.
  • Dark Age of Camelot has mythril, platinum, then the other three. Copper trades up to silver and silver to gold at 100:1, gold to platinum and platinum to mythril at 1000:1.
  • World of Warcraft uses gold, silver, and copper coins at a ratio of 1:100. These rarely appear by name, however; instead, pictures of yellow, gray, and brown coins appear next to the amounts, so a price of 16 gold 47 silver 33 copper would appear as "16 {picture of gold coin} 47 {picture of silver coin} 33 {picture of copper coin}". Exchanges between the various denominations happens automatically; if your character is carrying 90 copper coins and then picks up 20 more copper coins, his inventory will show 1 silver 10 copper (not 110 copper).
    • These days, copper tends to be worthless in inter-player currency exchanges, while Silver tends to be treated the same way pennies (or similar currency) would be in real life. In the vanilla game, one Gold was a non-trivial amount of money and gathering several hundred of these for an epic mount could take months. Today, quest rewards and selling Shop Fodder at maximum level give 20-50 gold at a time, and many players have accumulated hundreds of thousands of gold.
  • Lord of the Rings Online also uses gold, silver, and copper coins, almost exactly like World of Warcraft, except 1 gold coin is equal to 1,000 silver coins. Silver to copper is still 1:100. Players also have alternate currency received from skirmishes called marks, medallions, seals, etc., which can only be traded to skirmish vendors.
  • Dragon Age: Origins uses the 100:1 ratio of gold-to-silver and silver-to-copper. Gold coins are referred to as sovereigns, while copper coins are known as bits, and it is mentioned repeatedly that sovereigns are a Big Deal; most common folk in Ferelden go through their entire lives never seeing one. (In fact, you can loot a grand total of about 150 sovereigns in the entirety of the game's epic campaign.) This standard carries over to Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening (where it costs 80 sovereigns just to complete a side quest to upgrade your keep's walls; luckily, money is much easier to come by now that you're a lord) and Dragon Age II (where 50 sovereigns is enough to sponsor a massive expedition to the Deep Roads and much of Act I is spent acquiring this sum), but not to Dragon Age: Inquisition, which uses Cheap Gold Coins instead.
  • In Spellforce, the 100:1 ratio applies, but the game doesn't automatically exchange lower denominations for higher when appropriate. This can lead to the player ostensibly carrying around tens of thousands of copper pieces.
  • Many MUDs would have this as a default setting. The ratios would be juggled slightly: say, 20 silver to 1 gold, 5 gold to 1 platinum.
  • Games based on The Dark Eye, like the Drakensang and Blackguards series, use the currency system from the source material (in which the gold, silver, and copper coins are called "ducats", "thalers", and "farthings" respectively, despite having nothing to do with the historical currencies of the same names).
  • Terraria uses copper, silver, gold, and platinum coins. 100 coins of a lower denomination are equal to one higher-denomination coin. In fact, for ease of storage, 100 coins of a lower denomination can be crafted into a higher-denomination coin and when collecting coins, they automatically turn into the higher-denomination and the opposite occurs when buying from an NPC. How you craft a lot of copper into a little silver (or silver into gold, etc) is best not thought about too much.note 
  • Each town in The Game of the Ages has just one coinage, but the first has copper, the second silver and the third gold.
  • The Quest for Glory series generally uses a two-coin money system with a decimal exchange rate between the denominations. The games also keep track of the total weight of the player's coins on hand.
    • The first game used Silver and Gold coins, with 10 silvers equal to one gold.
    • The second game used gold Dinars and copper Centimes, with 100 centimes equal to one dinar.
    • The third game used gold Royals and copper Commons, (100 Commons to one Royal).
    • The fourth game used gold Crowns and copper Kopeks (100 per Crown).
  • Final Fantasy XIII-2 has an interesting case. One of the fragment items from the Bresha Ruins mentions that after the paradox wiped out all of the debit card information, the mercenaries there started using silver and gems. They'd already been using them on the Black Market anyway to avoid taxes, but once the paradox zapped the cards, even the government started using metals as currency.
  • Castle of the Winds uses these, along with platinum, with 10-piece increments in value between the metals.
  • Guild Wars 2 has gold, silver, and copper, set at a 100:1 ratio of gold to silver and silver to copper, similar to the World of Warcraft situation. There are also Gems (normally purchased for real-world money or exchanged at a market rate for silver or gold), Karma (tied to a character and earned for completing heroic deeds), Glory (earned for structured fights), and Influence (tied to a guild and either purchased for gold and silver or earned through completing missions).
  • Wurm Online uses a Gold > Silver > Copper > Iron system with 100:1 ratios across the board, but injects a bit of realism by setting prices such that gold and silver only enter the equation for really valuable in-game items; ten silver coins buy the right to found a settlement or a contract with an NPC to sell your manufactured goods for you, and gold coins are rare to the point of being a status symbol. The exchange rate with Real Life is one silver coin to one Euro, or about US$1.30 at time of writing.
    • Wurm is also a rare case of a Medieval European Fantasy setting where this standard is explicitly a fiat currency; the flavour text describes coins as being copper or silver-coloured, and despite the Player-Generated Economy being a major selling point, the quantity of precious metals dug out by a few lucky settlements who found a vein of it on their land has no effect on prices in-game. This is probably for the best.
  • Despite Dungeons & Dragons probably having more to do with this trope's presence in modern fantasy gaming than actual history does, most if not all D&D video games in recent history avert this trope in favor of Cheap Gold Coins for the sake of simplicity. (Or Cheap Copper Coins in the case of Planescape: Torment.)
  • Eldevin has the 100:1 ratio, but uses bronze coins instead of copper.
  • Uncharted Waters: New Horizons plays with this: its currency comes in gold coins and "gold ingots", where coins are used for basic transactions like buying goods and ships, while ingots are mentioned only in banking and questing contexts. Every 10,000 gold pieces you earn are automatically converted to ingots (and back, if need be).
  • Pillars of Eternity plays with this trope, too: there are actually various types of golden, silver, and copper coins in the game, minted by different states and with different exchange values, and even an extremely rare coin made of adra. There are also many types of Weird Currency, made of things like fish bones and shells. However, whenever you loot any of these, they are automatically converted to their corresponding value in (Dyrwoodan) copper pieces, which are used for pretty much all transactions in the game.
  • Played with in Tyranny, where as the setting is just beginning to leave the Bronze age and enter the Iron age, Iron is the most valuable metal available. And instead of coins, the common currency is rings, with Copper being the lowest quality, bronze being the middle quality, and iron being the highest quality with each tier being a 100:1 conversion rate.
  • Wildstar uses this system at a 100:1 ratio, which is odd seeing as it's set in what more or less comes to a Science Fiction Saturday-Morning Cartoon. Like EverQuest above, it also has platinum above gold.
  • Dwarf Fortress, by default, has copper coins worth 1☼, silver worth 5☼, and gold worth 15☼. But with a quick edit of the entity files, you can have any metal you like worth any value you like. In fact, it's on a per-entity basis, so you can have dwarves, elves, humans, and goblins (not to mention mod-added races) all with their own currency systems.
  • Rimworld uses bulk silver as official currency; one unit of silver is represented as "$1", as in, one 16th century New Spaniard peso containing one ounce troy of silvernote . More expensive commodities such as gold or jade are available, but they are not universally accepted and therefore are not considered money; when the game calculates the money value of something, it's always in terms of silver.
  • Conquests of Camelot has two different monetary systems for Britain and for Jerusalem. Though they both follow this trope, the British standard is 5 copper to one silver and 5 silver to one gold (though the game itself won't tell you that unless you "ask Merlin about coins"), while the standard in Jerusalem is 4 copper fals to one silver dirham and 4 silver dirham to one gold dinar. Notably, if you're greedy and load up your purse with only gold coins in the beginning, the game becomes Unwinnable as some puzzles require the other coins.
  • Khimera: Destroy All Monster Girls: Brown coins, are worth $1, gray ones, $5, and gold ones, $10.
  • Chantelise: What are presumably copper, silver, and gold coins, are worth 10, 50, and 100 pix, respectively.
  • Fortune Summoners: The lowest denomination is copper coins. One presumably silver coin is worth 10 of them, and a gold coin, 100.
  • Super Smash Bros. Ultimate: Gold coins are worth 1, Silver coins are 1/2, while Copper coins are 1/10.
  • Crusader Kings II uses gold for the main currency (the others are prestige and piety, which typically end up as Money for Nothing for a conventional feudal ruler), which makes sense given you're playing as a ruler ranked count or above; rulers don't deal with silver or copper at all. The value is somewhat realistic: building improvements on realm holdings or hiring retinues (standing army units) typically costs a couple hundred gold; masterwork artifacts or Great Worksnote  can cost thousands.

    Web Comics 
  • Tales of the Questor, though the Seven Villages use beads and rings instead of coins as they're in a rather metal-poor region.
  • Quentyn Quinn, Space Ranger, by the same author and in the same continuity IN SPACE! - has an examination of the trope as one of its story arcs; The transition from precious metals to fiat currency makes possible fractional-reserve banking, that is, printing more money than one has commodities to trade. From there, it's a simple step to printing money without having any commodities to trade - and trading the fake money to purchase real commodities. Eventually, those who print the money control all the commodities, and everyone else has a pile of worthless paper.
  • Escape from Terra and Quantum Vibe (both published by Big Head Press) feature examples of precious metals used as currency in sci-fi settings. Each setting has one(corrupt and totalitarian) polity that uses fiat currency, but the Libertarian protagonists regard the concept with derision.
  • The fantasy theme of Irregular Webcomic! uses copper, silver and gold coins, called commons, nobles and royals, respectively.

    Web Original 
  • The world-building site Santharia has a Gold-Silver-Copper Standard, but somewhat more complex than the standard Gold piece and including some other metals as well: The most valuable (and extremely rare) coin is a Mithrene, made of Mithril and used only in Royal transactions, the least valuable is the Copper San (leading to such expressions as "adding my two sans" in-world). The whole table can be found here.
  • In the superhero fiction Sliced Bread 2, during the fantasy arc, the presence of this trope is one of the many reasons why Dennis realizes the world they're trapped in is fake. (The existence of hexagonal terrain is another pretty big clue.)

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • The Earth Kingdom uses gold, silver, and copper pieces.
    • The Fire Nation also has gold, silver, and copper pieces, though they are different from the ones used in the Earth Kingdom.
    • Averted by the Water Tribe (which uses identical blue coins of indeterminate material) and the United Republic of Nations, which uses both paper money and gold coins.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Gold Silver Bronze Standard, Gold Piece


Help The Poor, Fleece The Rich

Hakuto Kunai and Yu Kirino talk about how they'd price the services at the newly-constructed Field Hospital.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / GoldSilverCopperStandard

Media sources: