Question Game - The Currency

Mar
9

The quatloo has been a topic of much discussion lately, as it is the
coin of choice for which to make a wager. But did you know that the quatloo is actually an archaic Imperial unit that is not in actually
minted in the post-imperial New Babbage? Yes, its true, a quatloo is
worth about...

...about....

...and there's the problem. What is our currency called? The new? The
old? What does it look like? Tell me a tall tale, it just might be true.
The best elements presented will find thier way into an official wiki
article in the Archives and become part of city lore.

 

41 comments

Glaubrius Valeska's picture
Reply by Glaubrius Valeska | Fri, 9 March - 3:07 pm SLT

My assistant, Mr Underwood, has a ten quatloo piece that has the portrait of a balding man on its obverse and an odd fuzzy, spherical animal on its reverse. It is made of a dull silvery metal derived from the ore called "quap" and has some alarming properties. It produces a dim, greenish light in the dark; Underwood used to carry it in one of the front pockets of his trousers until he noticed a mild first degree burn the size of the coin on his upper thigh.

Mr. Arnold's picture
Reply by Mr. Arnold | Fri, 9 March - 3:43 pm SLT

Before the fall of the Empire it is said that there were massive vaults filled with rare precious metals backing their currency.  Unfortunately during the fall of their empire some of this wealth was unsurprisingly lost.  What happened to it is the subject of speculation as wild tales of buried treasure abound.  Some say that the last Emperor sent trusted men to bury it in the mountains beyond the Fells.  Others say that thieves snuck in through the sewers, but never made it out alive again.  Others claim that it was sent out on ships to protect it and the ships sank, and depending on the teller of the tale the treasures either still lie there or were claimed by the denizens of the Deep. 

No one knows for sure what happened, but the current legal tender is still backed by precious metals like most countries in this time. 

Aside - In Babbage's long history of villains and hostile take-overs there have been several temporary 'revisions' to the currency which usually featured the villain who had taken over for that brief time.  Their only value is to enthusiasts who add them to their collection.

Erica Fairywren's picture
Reply by Erica Fairywren | Fri, 9 March - 3:59 pm SLT

why the Cog of course :) (abbrev Cg)

New Babbage Cogs (equivalent in usage to the british pound sterling) are minted of "Admiralty" brass (exactly 69% copper, 30% Zinc, and 1%tin) and have the unique feature of exactingly milled edges. In addition to preventing clipping (brass, it could be argued, more valuable than gold as an industrial product), the edges are designed, when mated with another cog, to rotate and mesh smoothly with one another - thus being unable to conterfeit except by a master craftsman under near-perfect tolerances. Thus, the value is unconnected with precious metals and tied to the rarity of the skill needed to create them. 

They weigh in at exactly 8 grams, are 3cm in diameter, and 4mm thick.

On the obverse is stamped a relief of a generic brick factory, an airship in the sky as if held aloft by the soot and smoke of the factory, and a large decorative "1cg". On the reverse are NB coat of Arms and motto as well as the craftsman's name and licence number.

Erica Fairywren's picture
Reply by Erica Fairywren | Fri, 9 March - 5:47 pm SLT

(pardon in advance for my babbling)

 

Owing to the special rarity of gold in land surrounding New Babbage, it was deemed decades ago that in order for New Babbage to be an independant economic power, the currency must be disconnected from foreign sources and thus the "brass-machine" standard was developed to internalize the currency and increase the value of its industrial products. Trade with other nations continue to use the gold standard, which is sought after to be melted down as precision electrical, medical and scientific equipment once traded for Cogs.

The currency can further be divided into 20 "Flys", which can further be divided into 12 copper "Nuts".  

Flys (ƒ) are concave in nature - coming to a thin point in the centre and thicker at the edges.  They are rather weighty slugs of Nickel-Tin alloy and have the property of being near-perfectly weight-balanced. A quick test of authenticity is to balance one on the point of a pin and spin it. If its wobbly, its a forgery. As a result, they are frequently used in elaborate bar-room games and wagers, functioning both as the game instrument and the stakes. Obverse: Concentric patterns designed to aid (and indeed are attractive) during the "spin test" above. The reverse carries a simple, blueprint diagram of a steam engine, a miniature New Babage crest, and the stylized "1ƒ"

Nuts (n) are fashioned of purest copper and gleam when they are new, and considered best when they have acquired a coating of soot and a light green patina (hence, 'dirty coppers'). They are so called as they are abnormally thick for their diameter (2cm diameter, 5mm thickness) and possess a hole through the centre which is threaded to an undisclosed count and pitch (again, to verify authenticity). On the obverse are two cogs, one larger than the other, on the reverse, the New Babbage crest and a stylized "1n".

At the bottom of the scale, frequently collected by urchins, is the "Slug".  While an official coin, very little else about it could be called 'normal' in comparison to its bretheren and it has no equal in foreign coins.  Manufactured with a simple stamp on either side, the actual alloy is unknown - in the sense that it is a random mixture of scrap metals.  It is believed that a prominent Babager, decades ago, wondered what to do with all of the scrap off-product of industry and developed the novel solution of minting the metals into coins. The metals are combined indiscriminately in a crucible and stamped on either side with the New Babbage crest and nothing else. Their weight, however, is exacting at 1 gram. Their value: the current value of 1 gram of scrap metal, which fluctuates according to the market though generally between 70-120 per Nut. Unlike other coins, they can be redeemed at any scrapyard for their immediate value in any higher coin.

With the unique, functional qualities of New Babbage coins, it is said that one can form and idea, and within minutes construct an inexpensive working protype - merely by using the shrapnel in one's purse. 

Tepic Harlequin's picture
Reply by Tepic Harlequin | Sat, 10 March - 1:12 am SLT

This sounds very familiar to those of us who remember pre-decimalisation UK currency - we grew up with LSD! (errr.... that's Pounds, Shillings and Pence...). Having used this type of currency, and what it could buy, I would suggest adding sub-divisions to the Slugs, with possibly nicknames rather than official ones, otherwise no urchin will be able to move under the weight of metal!

Tenk Slug - higher precious metal content, apt to turn black, worth about half a Nut

Watson Slug - mid range mix of metal, with a crease stamped across it, worth about a quarter of a Nut, named as the coin Dr Watson is likely to tip an urchin, Mr Holmes always being too busy thinking to remember!

Fat Lady - the base Slug, with more lead than anything else, worth whatever the reciever decides, marked with two creases across the face. Named because a pocket full of these is like carrying the Fat Lady!

A Quatloo is naturally a gentleman's coin, equivelent to a Cog and Fly, and is used in the purchase of horses and in gambling stakes (OK, so this is the definition of a guinea, waste not, want not!).

Erica Fairywren's picture
Reply by Erica Fairywren | Sat, 10 March - 9:39 am SLT

LOL. Exactly :) I remember my English grandfather showing me the coins when I was little. I still have a Sovereign :) As a literary device, decimalized currency is just ... boring.

Grand :) Great idea! I like how you found a place for the Quatloo as a  Guinea :)

and you're right  - it would be quite ridiculous to carry around that much metal.  I guess they make the equivalent of Hapennies, Farthings and dare I say - Groats :)

Tepic Harlequin's picture
Reply by Tepic Harlequin | Sun, 11 March - 4:02 am SLT

.... Grandfather showing coins.... when little......... ulp!

Tepic slinks off to a dark corner, feeling very old....

For those of you who grew up in decimal, here is a taste of the fun we had in the UK...

Prior to 'D-Day' on 15th February 1971 the English coinage system was based on the following
relationships:

  • 2 Farthings = 1 Halfpenny
  • 2 Halfpence = 1 Penny (1d)
  • 3 Pence = 1 Thrupence (3d)
  • 6 Pence = Sixpence (often referred to as a tanner) (6d)
  • 12 Pence = 1 Shilling (often referred to as bob, e.g. six bob) (1/-)
  • 2 shillings = 1 Florin (or two bob bit) (2/-)
  • 2 Shillings and 6 Pence = 1 Half Crown (rarely referred to as half a dollar) (2/6)
  • 5 shillings = 1 Crown (5/-)
  • 20 Shillings = 1 Pound (often referred to as a quid) (£1)

Other terms much more rarely used include

  • 4 Pence = 1 Groat (4d)
  • 13 Shillings and 4 Pence (160 pence) = 1 Mark (13/4)
  • 21 Shillings = 1 Guinea (£1/1/-)

And this, children, is why the twelve times and twenty times tables were important!

Erica Fairywren's picture
Reply by Erica Fairywren | Sun, 11 March - 8:31 am SLT

Sorry :) I realize I should have prefaced that by saying I'm second generation Canadian, So my parents never knew the old currency. Still, we are cursed with a mixed measurement system and still have to deal with inches and feet unofficially.. so the 12 times table is alive and well :)

I've also heard, in modern slang, of a pound being called a "squid" i like that :) 

Mr Tenk's picture
Reply by Mr Tenk | Sun, 11 March - 12:17 pm SLT

yes! i was hoping someone would go here.

Glaubrius Valeska's picture
Reply by Glaubrius Valeska | Fri, 9 March - 6:43 pm SLT

They keep getting caught in my fingernail scissors...

Aeolus Cleanslate's picture
Reply by Aeolus Cleanslate | Fri, 9 March - 9:03 pm SLT

Edward Pearse's picture
Reply by Edward Pearse | Fri, 9 March - 9:14 pm SLT

That's going to tear a hole in your pocket in a matter of mintues.

Erica Fairywren's picture
Reply by Erica Fairywren | Sat, 10 March - 10:16 am SLT

upon reflection, it could also discourage pick-pockets :)

Grendel Footman's picture
Reply by Grendel Footman | Sun, 11 March - 12:38 pm SLT

you mean you don't keep your coinage in an iron wallet?

Erica Fairywren's picture
Reply by Erica Fairywren | Sun, 11 March - 6:22 pm SLT

I did, but I keep losing money due to rust holes :)

Erica Fairywren's picture
Reply by Erica Fairywren | Fri, 9 March - 9:37 pm SLT

Beautiful!

Erica Fairywren's picture
Reply by Erica Fairywren | Fri, 9 March - 10:07 pm SLT

"income 20Cg year, expenditure 19Cg 19ƒ 6n, result: happiness. Income 20Cg a year, expenditure 20Cg. 0ƒ. 6n., result: Misery."

Aeolus Cleanslate's picture
Reply by Aeolus Cleanslate | Fri, 9 March - 10:01 pm SLT

Erica Fairywren's picture
Reply by Erica Fairywren | Fri, 9 March - 10:09 pm SLT

Thank you Mr. Cleanslate, most impressive!

Avariel Falcon's picture
Reply by Avariel Falcon | Sat, 10 March - 5:37 am SLT

We tend to find coins like these when we work on the old sections of the Clockhaven Power Station. It is said they were hidden next to power conduits, steam pipes and gas pipes to ward off mischievous fairies. 

Erica Fairywren's picture
Reply by Erica Fairywren | Sat, 10 March - 9:54 am SLT

The equivalent of putting a penny in a fuse panel?

Edward Pearse's picture
Reply by Edward Pearse | Fri, 9 March - 8:42 pm SLT

But did you know that the quatloo is actually an archaic Imperial unit that is not in actually

minted in the post-imperial New Babbage?

<pedant mode>

Actually a quatloo is a Star Trek reference from the episode "Gamesters of Triskelion".

</pedant mode>

Just sayin'

Mr Tenk's picture
Reply by Mr Tenk | Fri, 9 March - 9:48 pm SLT

you just won the turnip.

and i won a quatloo!

Cadmus Lupindo's picture
Reply by Cadmus Lupindo | Fri, 9 March - 10:51 pm SLT

Hands the Duke a turnip.

Edward Pearse's picture
Reply by Edward Pearse | Fri, 9 March - 11:11 pm SLT

http://youtu.be/jD2iYSKHHzo

Arconus Arkright's picture
Reply by Arconus Arkright | Fri, 9 March - 9:58 pm SLT

Pay no attention to that pedantic gentleman upstairs! (Memory Alpha) "Quatloos" were used for betting, but they were never actual money. "Quatloo" was slang for a promissory note issued by a trusted bookmaker. The form and value of each quatloo was determined by the issuer -- sometimes they were certificates, sometimes they were coins, sometimes they were seeds with teeny, tiny writing on them.

But the actual currency used in the days before the fall, according to the Continental Numismatic Association, was the impeere, a truncation of "Imperial Standard Note."

1 impeere = 4 fobbers (fobbs) = 100 biddics (bidds)

In the glory days of the Empire before a period of hyperinflation took hold, 4 or 5 biddics would get you a meat pie and a good pair of boots only cost a few impeeres.

Some of this, it should be noted, is guesswork on the part of the CNA whose employees are known to take *very* long, gin-soaked lunches.

 

Edward Pearse's picture
Reply by Edward Pearse | Fri, 9 March - 10:32 pm SLT

I do like the idea of a coin called a fobb. Has a nice ring to it.

Clara Corryong's picture
Reply by Clara Corryong | Fri, 9 March - 11:18 pm SLT

An earlier form of currency was known as the Shard.

Shards are blown pieces of glass in varying colors with a small ball of precious metal contained within.

These date back to the early days of industry when glass was a precious commodity.

a Shard is valued easiet by the color of the glass, Green is 1 shard, Blue is 5, 10 is Yellow, 20 is Red, 50 is purple and 100 is clear.

The metals inside each shard also vary on the value with Lead being inside the green and blue copper in the yellow, silver in the red and gold in the purple and clear shards.

Shards were phased out with the increase of industrial technology making the glass more and more commonplace ad people began smashing the glass with a hammer to obtain the metals within which were melted down (The new Babbage Milita still use old lead balls from the green shards in their muskets)

Erica Fairywren's picture
Reply by Erica Fairywren | Sat, 10 March - 9:55 am SLT

Colourful :) I like it. 

Clara Corryong's picture
Reply by Clara Corryong | Sat, 10 March - 1:24 pm SLT

Further facts: Nobody is sure at what period or for what place the Shard was the currency for. It is clear that the Shard was either a New Babbage currency or accepted as currency at one point.

Cyan Rayna's picture
Reply by Cyan Rayna | Sat, 10 March - 10:19 am SLT

The Quatloo in old Babbage was actually a quarter of the old currency. It was round coin stamped with one of the founding Emperors of the Imperial one the front side and the Imperial Symbol of a rising phoenix on the opposite. There has been many theories on why they had a phoenix on the opposite side as if the Imperial Empire would rise again after being burned to the ground or even had once been burned but rose from the ashes to rule again, but as the Empire is no more it's only speculation at best. Also no one knows the name of the Emperor on the face of the coin and most have even lost defining details of the coin to even be able to tell if it was a man or a woman. Most in Babbage have just called him Crumb though as reference to our resident drunk Emperor Crumb. It's been said that once you here the phrase "Can you spare a Crumb?" it really means someone is begging for a Quatloo.

The Pentaloo was a five sided coin that was minted in copper. Most people who find them today think it's just scrap metal as most of the printings on them have been warn off. In fact most of the Pentaloos were reused as copper scrap as they were worthless once the Imperial Empire collapsed. The front side shows a tower believed to be the center of the politics of the empire and the back side simply had 1P printed on it.

Pecufiat or generally referred to as the Pecu was a paper based bill that would range from 1 to 1000 in denominations. Due to the fact that these were made of paper most if not all have been lost due to fire and age.

1 Pecu = 4 Quatloo = 100 Pentaloo

MacKnight Culdesac's picture
Reply by MacKnight Culdesac | Sat, 10 March - 3:58 pm SLT

I have heard that the old Empire--which was thought to rule over the Sun, the Moon, and the stars--had currency based on heavenly objects: the Solar made of gold, the Lunar made of silver, and the Stellar made of nickel.  Relative valuations of these  coins varied over time, but were usually close to 4 Lunars to the Solar, and 16 Stellars to the Lunar.  Quatloo was the common term for a copper coin worth one quarter of an Imperial Lunar.

 

MacKnight Culdesac's picture
Reply by MacKnight Culdesac | Sat, 10 March - 5:08 pm SLT

The New Babbage Cog is seen by some as a derivative of the Old Imperial Solar, with brass replacing the gold of the old coin, and a cog substituting for the stylized image of the Sun, it's rays now transformed into the cog's teeth.

Grendel Footman's picture
Reply by Grendel Footman | Sun, 11 March - 12:51 pm SLT

an early precurser to the cog was the BigGear, similar in design to what came to be known as the Babbage Cog, but the size of a dinner table and minted from solid iron, with a colium core.  30 were minted before the idea was abandoned in favor of the much more easily transported  Cog, ironically now due to the rarity of the BG, they are considered extremely valuable by collectors, many paying millions of Quatloo's (quatloo=100cogs) for one in their collection, not to mention the cost they pay to transport

Jedburgh Dagger's picture
Reply by Jedburgh Dagger | Mon, 12 March - 1:24 pm SLT

The old Empire monetary system was based on the Quatloo (Qtl). The value of the Quatloo was set at 16 standard trade-weights of silver. Typical coins of the period included the Ped (valued at 1/64 Qtl, and often called ‘chuckers’ due to the predisposition of children to toss them against walls, doors, and each other), the ‘John’ (1/16 Qtl, so called because it bore the image of Emperor John IV, or ‘John the Vain’) the ‘Demi-John’ (1/32 Qtl, bearing the image of Emperor John V, or “John the Lesser”).
The quatloo became a standard unit of trade between the cities of the Old Empire, and despite the rise of local currencies among the cities of the realm remained a constant value for commerce. It has also been said that the modern tradition of using the quatloo as a unit of value for gamblers arose in this time period due to the ascendancy of the Bookmaker’s Guild in Ravila. This was an easily enforceable value and typically ensured that winnings would be consistently paid out in similar values across the frontier. Likewise, it ensured that the Guild’s cut would keep the house profitable.

Glaubrius Valeska's picture
Reply by Glaubrius Valeska | Fri, 23 March - 6:06 am SLT

Demi-John? *groan*

Jedburgh Dagger's picture
Reply by Jedburgh Dagger | Mon, 12 March - 2:20 pm SLT

The years after the Collapse saw a plethora of coinage and values, so much so that once the New Babbage city government reasserted itself the first order of business was a resumption of standardizing the accepted monetary system. This was of course easier said than done. The initial system was based on the ‘Spanner’, which in turn was based on the original divisions of the Quatloo. This change also brought out a new coin which was technically a Quarter-Spanner, but was locally called a Duck. The Ducks were restruck coins that had been ‘acquired through aggressive naval commerce’ and had originally been minted for a foreign power’s ducal investiture celebration.
The transition to a decimalized system of coinage was resisted for many years due to the fact it was believed that this would be ‘far too complicated to understand’. The hand was forced after the Great Fire destroyed most of the mint, its records, dies, and the personnel who had been so dead set to keep the old system.

The new system, referred to then as “New Spanners”, was broken down as 100 parti-spanners (called parts or chuckers), 10 Demi-spanners or 2 Half-spanners. The old coinage was accepted as a pro-rated value until the bank decided to cut off all the old coinage hoarders, so that any of the ‘Old Issue’ coins were traded for the price of the base metal.

The bank also issued commemorative issues for notable events in the city. The inauguration of Mayor Tenk saw a limited run of 5 Spanner notes with his portrait (nicknamed ‘Tenkers’). While there has been a move to a paper note issuance, Babbagers still prefer coins.

Jonathon Spires's picture
Reply by Jonathon Spires | Tue, 20 March - 1:52 pm SLT

Proposal:

During the later years of the Empire, there was actually a complicated dual-exchange system of money.

The first system, used for private transactions amid private citizens was the Libra/Aurus. The Libra was the standard unit, itself bisected into fractional cons of 1/12th, 1/4, and 1/2 values of various names and notations. The Aurus was a gold coin worth 25 Libra. The Libra itself was based on nickel. unusual for its time. While the entire minting system was regulated by the Empire, the stores of coins were handled by private banks, preventing the Empire from falling into the old Roman trap of allowing its own currency to leave its own domains, devalueing the currency over centuries. A severe problem of forgeries and inflation/deflation cycles seems to have occured several times in the Empire's history, though for the most part these crises were short-lived.

This was because Imperial currency was composed entirely of the "Quantifiable Libra Unit- Imperial". Paper Imperial Librae quickly became called Quatloos. While illegal to be held in large quanties by private citizens, apart from heavily regulated exchange houses, Quatloos were the standard payment by the Empire to the military, and anyone else on Imperial payroll, as well as for products and services. In one of the first instances of fiat money, the Quatloo's value was higher than that of the Aurus (It's equal in size, weight and composition, rather than the nickel libra) due to Imperial degree and the safety of the coins within Impeial Vaults. All Quatloo money issued were in fact paper notes of the Imperial treasury. To be found holding an actual physical  Quatloo was a de-facto death sentence.

After the destruction of the Empire, the term Quatloo, having always been a symbol of Imperial wealth, became the standard monetary unit of the Babbage city state, devided up as

1 Quatloo (NB) = 5 Mayorsheads (oddly enough, a nickel based coin with an image of the current mayor)

1 Mayorsheads = 25 librae (now a copper coin)

Jonathon Spires's picture
Reply by Jonathon Spires | Wed, 28 March - 11:11 am SLT

was there a decision on this?

Mr Tenk's picture
Reply by Mr Tenk | Wed, 28 March - 11:25 am SLT

working on it! its going to be a mash-up of several of these that will hit the eventual wiki article that makes it official.

Avariel Falcon's picture
Reply by Avariel Falcon | Wed, 28 March - 12:12 pm SLT

Then I guess I best hide some around the power station. ^_^