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Electrum was a naturally occurring silver–gold alloy, with half the value of pure gold, such that one electrum piece (ep) is worth ½ gold piece (gp). which makes electrum worth 25 gp per pound as a trade good.
Value and terminologyEdit
Most of Faerûn used “standard rates of exchange for coinage”, based on the silver and gold standard, with copper pieces (cp) worth 1/100 of a gold piece (gp), and silver pieces (sp) worth 1/10 of a gp. Electrum pieces (ep) were worth 1/2 of a gp, and platinum pieces were worth 10 gp.
Each coin is approximately 30.6 mm in diameter and weighs approximately 9 grams each (or 50 to one pound).
Throughout the heartlands, common electrum pieces—round Cormyan eyes; diamond-shaped Sembian electrums, Calimshite tazos and zonths, and Amnite centaurs—were called “blue eyes”, regardless of origin.
- The original shining blue crescent-shaped electrum moon of Silverymoon—was a coin worth 1 ep throughout the Realms, but twice that much in the city itself.
- The harbor moon of Waterdeep—was a cresent shaped Waterdhavian coin of platinum inset with electrum, with a hole in its center. In Waterdeep it was valued at 50 gp and used for bulk transactions. Outside the city, harbor moons were valued between 2 gp, and 30 gp.
- “In lieu of platinum pieces, Sembia mints electrum pieces (ep) known as blue-eyes, each equal in value to 5 gp.”
- AD&D (1st Ed.)
- 200 cp = 20 sp = 2 ep = 1 gp = 1⁄5 pp
- 100 cp = 10 sp = 1 ep = ½ gp = 1⁄10 pp
- AD&D 2nd Ed.
- 100 cp = 10 sp = 2 ep = 1 gp = 1⁄5 pp
- 50 cp = 5 sp = 1 ep = ½ gp = 1⁄10 pp
- D&D 3rd Ed.
- 100 cp = 10 sp = 1 gp = 1⁄10 pp
- Electrum pieces (ep) are not mentioned in the core rules, and common electrum pieces are not mentioned in the FRCS.
- D&D 4th Ed.
- 100 cp = 10 sp = 1 gp = 1⁄100 pp = 1⁄10,000 ad
- Electrum pieces (ep) are not mentioned in the core rules, and only a Sembian electrum coin (worth 5 gp?) is mentioned in the FRCG.
- D&D 5th Ed.
- 100 cp = 10 sp = 2 ep = 1 gp = 1⁄10 pp
- 50 cp = 5 sp = 1 ep = ½ gp = 1⁄20 pp
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The word “electrum” comes form a Greek word meaning pale-yellow, that was used both for the alloy, and for amber. Properties of amber led to to the modern English words “electron” and “electricity”.
Electrum alloys are primarily gold and silver (20–80% of each), with trace amounts of copper, platinum, and other metals. When used for Mediterranean coinage, the amount of gold (40–55%) was lower than local natural alloys (~70%) showing that the minters were adding silver to reduce the gold percentage. The color of electrum alloys (described as “white gold”, “pale gold”, or “green gold”) depended on the ratio of silver and gold (white- or pale-yellow) and trace elements such as copper (greenish-yellow).
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Gary Gygax (1979). Dungeon Masters Guide 1st edition. (TSR, Inc.), p. 228. ISBN 0-9356-9602-4.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook, Skip Williams (July 2003). Player's Handbook 3.5 edition. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 112, 247, 308. ISBN 0-7869-2886-7.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 Jeff Grubb, Ed Greenwood and Karen S. Martin (1987). Forgotten Realms Campaign Set (Cyclopedia of the Realms). (TSR, Inc), p. 9 & 56. ISBN 0-8803-8472-7.
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 Jeff Grubb and Ed Greenwood (1990). Forgotten Realms Adventures. (TSR, Inc), pp. 61, 97, 129. ISBN 0-8803-8828-5.
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 Ed Greenwood, Julia Martin, Jeff Grubb (1993). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 2nd edition (revised), A Grand Tour of the Realms. (TSR, Inc), p. 26–27. ISBN 1-5607-6617-4.
- ↑ Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 91. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
- ↑ Bruce R. Cordell, Ed Greenwood, Chris Sims (August 2008). Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 45. ISBN 978-0-7869-4924-3.
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 Gary Gygax (1978). Players Handbook 1st edition. (TSR, Inc.), p. 35 & 50. ISBN 0-9356-9601-6.
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 David "Zeb" Cook (August 1989). Player's Handbook (2nd edition). (TSR, Inc.), p. 66 & 169. ISBN 0-88038-716-5.
- ↑ Ed Greenwood, Eric L. Boyd (1996). Volo's Guide to All Things Magical. (TSR, Inc), p. 54. ISBN 0-7869-0446-1.
- ↑ Jeff Grubb, Ed Greenwood and Karen S. Martin (1987). Forgotten Realms Campaign Set (DM's Sourcebook of the Realms). (TSR, Inc), p. 64 & 92. ISBN 0-8803-8472-7.
- ↑ Steven E. Schend and Dale Donovan (September 1998). Empires of the Shining Sea. (TSR, Inc), p. 192. ISBN 978-0786912377.
- ↑ Mike Mearls, Jeremy Crawford (2014). Player's Handbook 5th edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 143. ISBN 978-0-7869-6560-1.
- ↑ Ternary plot of approximate colours of Ag–Au–Cu alloys at Wikimedia Commons.
- Some of the local names for electrum pieces given in the AD&D 2nd Ed. Campaign Setting—centaurs, and centarches; imply the 100/1 (centa-) valuation between copper and electrum that existed in AD&D 1st ed., implying that in real life, Greenwood came up with the names before 2nd Edition was released.
The name decimes, implies the 1/10 (deci-) valuation between electrum and platinum from 1st & 2nd Ed. AD&D.
- The 4th Edition value for a Sembia minted electrum piece (ep), is one of the only references to ep's in 4th Ed. and is wildly different then everything in 1st–3rd, and 5th edition.