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Depiction of a gold dragon of King Jaehaerys I Targaryen, by Tom Maringer © Shire Post Mint
Depiction of a silver stag of King Aegon I Targaryen, by Tom Maringer © Shire Post Mint

Currency is money in a form circulated as a medium of exchange.[1] Thus far, no society in the known world has been described as using paper currency (though the currency of every region has not been described in detail). Most societies use currency in the form of coins made from precious metals such as gold, silver, or copper (with a few notable exceptions, such as the iron coins used in Braavos). Coins are mostly used by merchants and nobles, though the poorest of the smallfolk will at times still resort to barter.

Contracts written on parchment or paper can also accepted as payment, though these are not "currency" as such: for example, the brotherhood without banners gives commoners notes promising to pay them for supplies they took after the War of the Five Kings ends.[2] Similarly, Tyrion Lannister draws up contracts promising to pay the Second Sons with gold from Casterly Rock in return for their aid in restoring him to his lordship of it.[3]

George R. R. Martin has compared the Westerosi coinage to medieval coinage, saying that "Westerosi coinage is probably more complex than actual British medieval coinage", despite some similarities.[4]


Seven Kingdoms

Depiction of the gold coins of House Gardener, by Tom Maringer © Shire Post Mint
Depiction of a silver stag of King Aerys II Targaryen, by Tom Maringer © Shire Post Mint
Depiction of a copper star of King Robert I Baratheon, by Tom Maringer © Shire Post Mint
Initially it was created as a copper penny, but the coin ended up being too large and heavy for a penny and George R. R. Martin changed it to a star.[5]

Prior to Aegon's Conquest, each of the Seven Kingdoms had their own coinage minted by their respective kings.[4] The Kingdom of the Reach had gold coins known as "hands", which featured the hand-shaped sigil of House Gardener on one side and the face of a king on the other. Gold hand coins are smaller and thinner than gold dragons, roughly half their weight and value.[6][7]

The current currency was established shortly after the unification of the Seven Kingdoms following Aegon's Conquest and was used through the whole Targaryen rule and continued after Robert's Rebellion. In order from high to low value, respectively, these are golden dragons,[8] silver stags,[9] copper stars, pennies, half-pennies, and groats.[10][11][12] The non-(semi)canon A Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying includes another coin, silver moon,[13] reference to such a coin existing at least before the conquest is the silver moon of Tommen II Lannister made by license by the shire point mint.[14] Golden dragons are more frequently used by rich merchants and noble lords and ladies. Smallfolk, who do not have such riches, tend to exchange copper and silver coins, or turn to trade. The minting of the coins, exchange rates, and like matters are overseen by the master of coin.[15][16]

The king's coinage is one of the most visible manifestations of royal authority. Golden dragons bear the face of the king in whose time they were minted in, as well as his name.[17] On the other side, the golden dragon displays the three-headed Targaryen dragon. The silver stags are known for the stag they bear. Note, they were not minted for the Baratheon dynasty only, but had already been in use during the Targaryen reign.[17] Silver stags were used in the stormlands before Aegon's Conquest, whereas silver moons were used in the Vale. After the Conquest, the Targaryens co-opted them as denominations within their new unified currency system.[18] According to semi-canon source, copper stars usually bear the seven-pointed star associated with the Faith of the Seven.[19]

King Viserys II Targaryen introduced a new royal mint during his reign.[20] During the First Blackfyre Rebellion, Daemon I Blackfyre had his own coins minted, depicting his own face on one side, and a three-headed dragon on the other.[21] The officers of three mints were appointed by the master of coin, Petyr Baelish.[15] White Harbor in the north contains the Old Mint.[22] During the War of the Five Kings, Lord Wyman Manderly suggests his seat of White Harbor as a location where King Robb Stark can mint his own coinage.[23]

Among the ironborn culture, while women are allowed to buy ornaments with coin, warriors only take items, be it jewelry or items as food and water, off the corpses of the enemies he has slain. It is called paying "the iron price", whereas paying with coin is called paying "the gold price".[24][25]


Specific exchange rates between each denomination of gold dragon coin have not yet been mentioned in any of the (semi)-canon works of A Song of Ice and Fire. The non-(semi)canon A Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying game by Green Ronin, which did not receive any input from Martin, placed the relative values of the coins as represented in the following table (though it also cautioned to use these as a rule of thumb, because exchange rates between different metals might vary over time):

Golden coins Dragon
Silver coins Moon
Copper coins Star

The one time that any of these exchange rates was ever somewhat confirmed in the books was in The Hedge Knight, when Duncan the Tall sold a horse for the price of 750 silver stags - but was physically paid in the form of 3 gold dragons, the rest in silvers (3 x 210 = 630, but 4 x 210 = 840).

Also note that a copper star, which bears the Seven-Pointed Star, is not so-called because it is worth seven regular copper pennies, but because it is one seventh of a silver stag. 56 divided by 7 is actually 8, thus a copper star is worth eight copper pennies.

Examples of currency values

The relative value of the gold dragon coin and its denominations has changed over time, due to various economic fluctuations of inflation and deflation (e.g., war-time versus times of peace, failed harvests, etc.). For example, when House Tyrell had cut off the food supply to King's Landing from the Reach during the War of the Five Kings, food prices in the city rose steeply.[15] Another example is that in 209 AC, a time of peace and plenty, Duncan the Tall received more than three gold dragons for his palfrey, but during the War of the Five Kings, both Brienne of Tarth[26] and Tom of Sevenstreams[27] consider one gold dragon to be a fair price for a horse in the war-struck riverlands.

During the Targaryen Dynasty:

  • King Maegor I Targaryen, during his war against the Faith of the Seven, paid one golden dragon for the head of any unrepentant Warrior's Son, and a silver stag for the scalp of a Poor Fellow.[28]
  • At the beginning of his reign, King Jaehaerys I Targaryen introduced luxury taxes on foreign spices and silks, to address the crown's debt after Maegor's wars. Jaehaerys noted that no man could say they were oppressive, as to avoid them all he had to do was forgo these non-essential luxuries, and thus "he need not pay a groat". This indicates that the "groat" denomination was being used at least as early as this point.[29]
  • In 120 AC Lord Corlys Velaryon offered a reward of 10,000 gold dragons to any man who could lead him to Ser Qarl Correy, who had killed Corlys's heir, Laenor Velaryon, in a quarrel.[30]
  • At the time of The Hedge Knight (209 AC), a plain yet complete set of good steel armor with greaves, gorget, and greathelm could cost eight hundred stags,[17] which equals almost four golden dragons. Later, Dunk sold his palfrey Sweetfoot to Henly for 750 silver stags - but was paid in the form of three gold dragons, the rest in silvers.
  • In 212 AC, a tent could be bought for 10 pennies.[21][N 1]
  • During the wedding tourney at Whitewalls in 212 AC, only 30 dragons were promised for whoever came in second.[21]

Recent Events:

  • At the beginning of A Game of Thrones, the Iron Throne is more than six million dragons in debt,[31] which represents a colossal sum. The biggest part of this debt, three million dragons, is owed to House Lannister, the rest to Mace Tyrell, the Iron Bank of Braavos, several Tyroshi trading cartels, and to the Faith of the Seven. By 300 AC the Crown’s debt to the Faith was established to be a total of 900,674 golden dragons.[32]
  • King Robert I Baratheon is a prodigious spender, and sets the rewards for the Hand's tourney in 298 AC at 40,000 golden dragons to the winner of the joust, 20,000 golden dragons to the runner-up, 20,000 dragons to the winner of the melee, and 10,000 dragons to the winner of the archery competition.[31] These prices are exceptionally high, due to Robert's generous nature.[33]
  • Right at the end of Robert's reign, as Arya Stark goes to view what ultimately becomes her father's public execution she passes a street vendor who is selling fresh-baked fruit-filled tarts for three copper pennies each.[34]
  • During the War of the Five Kings, prices soar in the capital, King's Landing. Six coppers for a melon, a silver stag for a bushel of corn, and a gold dragon for a side of beef or six skinny piglets are all shockingly high prices.[35]
  • The Lysene pirate Salladhor Saan, who has two dozen ships under his command, demands thirty thousand gold dragons a month for his service as a sellsail to Stannis Baratheon.[36]
  • Edmure Tully promises one thousand gold dragons to whoever would capture Jaime Lannister, after Jaime escapes from captivity in Riverrun.[37]
  • Three hundred gold dragons represent a formidable ransom for a knight, even if he belongs to a large noble house,[38] while 100 gold dragons represent a reasonable ransom for a younger son of a noble family.[39]
  • According to Chett, Westerosi maesters paid a penny for twelve leeches before he came to the Wall.[40]
  • In 300 AC, the maidenhead of a serving girl, Rosey, priced at one dragon.[11]
  • Also in 300 AC, a baker who mixes sawdust into his flour might be fined fifty silver stags.[41]

Beyond the Wall

The lands north of The Wall are harsh lands, and the free folk inhabiting those lands usually barter for goods amongst themselves based upon the needs of the parties involved.[citation needed] The free folk have been known to trade with the brothers of the Night's Watch as well,[42] and smugglers, with whom they exchange goods in the little coves on the eastern coast along the Shivering Sea. They take steel weapons and armor in return for furs, ivory, amber, and obsidian and have little use for coins.[43]



The Dothraki neither buy nor sell[44][45] and do not really comprehend it.[46] Buying and selling is considered to be unmanly.[47] Trade is allowed in the sacred city Vaes Dothrak, where, by the leave of the dosh khaleen, merchants and traders gather to exchange goods and gold,[47] though they mostly trade with each other, and little with the Dothraki themselves.[48]

Despite the common saying that Dothraki do not sell,[49][50] the Dothraki do sell their captives on occasion to the Slaver Cities.[51] They call these slaves "gifts", and in return receive gifts from the slavers.[50] Giving and receiving gifts is the common way of Dothraki for doing trade.[49][50][45] However, giving a gift in return might not always occur immediately upon receiving a gift.[52]

Cities of Essos

Coins of the Free Cities, as depicted by Nutchapol Thitinunthakorn in The World of Ice & Fire:
Top (left to right): Braavos, Pentos, Lys, Myr, Tyrosh
Bottom (left to right): Volantis (front and back), Norvos, Qohor, Lorath.

Each of the Nine Free Cities has its own bank, and some have more than one. The Iron Bank of Braavos is richer and more powerful than all the rest combined.[53]

For Astapor, Yunkai, and Meereen, the three Slaver Cities located in Slaver's Bay, slaves are their main trade as well. Slaves are bred and trained to perform all the work of daily life. As such, the economy of these cities is based on this slave labor. In many of the Free Cities, slave trade is also a large part of the economy. The Free City of Lys, for example, is well-known for training bed slaves for pillow houses. The major exception is Braavos, where slavery is forbidden.

Each of these cities use their own coinage. It is unknown how they relate to one another in value. Braavosi use square iron coins,[54][55], while Lyseni coins are oval in shape and have a naked woman stamped on them.[54] Volantis employs honors, which are little coins no larger than a penny. These coins have a crown on one side, and a skull on the other.[56][54]

From the Slaver Cities, Meereenese coins include honors,[44] while the Yunkai'i use golden marks which are stamped with a stepped pyramid on one side and the harpy of Ghis on the other.[57] Astapor uses silver marks.[58] At the slave auction held the Yunkai'i hold outside the walls of Meereen, the prices are determined in silver pieces.[59]

Other coins, for which no region is specified, have ships, elephants, or goats[N 2] depicted on them.[54]

Examples of currency values

  • Unsullied still in training are tasked to slay a slave infant in front of its mother's eyes to complete their training. They pay the child's owner with a silver mark to compensate for the loss of his slave.[58]
  • The Spotted Cat, a slave trained to fight in the fighting pits of Meereen, was sold for three hundred thousand honors before Daenerys Targaryen arrived in the city.[60]
  • In Meereen, a price of a hundred honors is set for information regarding the Sons of the Harpy. This reward is eventually raised to a thousand honors.[44]
  • At the slave auction held by Yunkai near Meereen, seasoned slave-sailors, considered a valuable commodity, sell for 500 to 900 silver pieces. The dwarfs Tyrion Lannister and Penny, plus her dog and pig, receive the starting bid of three hundred silvers. A bidding competition drives up the price to five thousand silvers.[59] It is unknown for how much they are eventually sold.


I am fond of coins. Is there any sound as sweet as the clink of gold on gold?[49]

Half the lords in the realm could not tell taxation from tyranny, and would bolt to the nearest usurper in a heartbeat if it would save them a clipped copper.[61]

—thoughts of Kevan Lannister

See also



  1. Duncan the Tall initially had 2 stags, which equals 112 pennies according to the non-(semi)canon A Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying game by Green Ronin. After Duncan has bought his tent, he only has twenty two pennies, three stars and one stag, which together equal 102 pennies. This count assumes that currency rates as given in the RPG has not changed since the reign of Aerys I Targaryen.
  2. Possibly Qohor


  1. Definition of "Currency" as retrieved from Wikipedia on May 20, 2021
  2. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 39, Arya VII.
  3. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 66, Tyrion XII.
  4. 4.0 4.1 So Spake Martin: Blackwood-Bracken Feud and Coinage (August 13, 2003)
  5. So Spake Martin: Blackwoods-Brackens Feud and Coinage (August 13, 2003)
  6. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 7, Cersei II.
  7. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 16, Jaime II.
  8. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 27, Eddard VI.
  9. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 14, Catelyn III.
  10. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 69, Bran VII.
  11. 11.0 11.1 A Feast for Crows, Prologue.
  12. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 20, Brienne IV.
  13. A Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying.
  14. Shire Post Mint: [1].
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 17, Tyrion IV.
  16. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 62, Jaime VII.
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 The Hedge Knight.
  18. Westeros coin "Silver Stags", June 18 2020.
  19. Shire Post Mint: House Baratheon Set of Four Coins.
  20. The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Viserys II.
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 The Mystery Knight.
  22. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 15, Davos II.
  23. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 16, Bran II.
  24. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 11, Theon I.
  25. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 56, The Iron Suitor.
  26. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 11, Jaime II.
  27. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 13, Arya II.
  28. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 33, Jaime V.
  29. Fire & Blood, A Time of Testing - The Realm Remade.
  30. The Rogue Prince.
  31. 31.0 31.1 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 20, Eddard IV.
  32. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 28, Cersei VI.
  33. So Spake Martin: Summerhall (June 19, 1999)
  34. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 65, Arya V.
  35. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 32, Tyrion IV.
  36. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 10, Davos I.
  37. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 37, Jaime V.
  38. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 44, Jaime VI.
  39. A Storm of Swords, Epilogue.
  40. A Storm of Swords, Prologue.
  41. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 14, Brienne III.
  42. A Dance with Dragons, Prologue.
  43. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 54, Davos V.
  44. 44.0 44.1 44.2 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 2, Daenerys I.
  45. 45.0 45.1 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 71, Daenerys X.
  46. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 56, Tyrion VII.
  47. 47.0 47.1 The World of Ice & Fire, Beyond the Free Cities: The Grasslands.
  48. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 54, Daenerys VI.
  49. 49.0 49.1 49.2 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 5, Tyrion II.
  50. 50.0 50.1 50.2 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 50, Daenerys VIII.
  51. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 12, Daenerys I.
  52. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 36, Daenerys VI.
  53. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 44, Jon IX.
  54. 54.0 54.1 54.2 54.3 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 45, The Blind Girl.
  55. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 64, The Ugly Little Girl.
  56. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 1, Tyrion I.
  57. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 42, Daenerys IV.
  58. 58.0 58.1 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 23, Daenerys II.
  59. 59.0 59.1 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 47, Tyrion X.
  60. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 11, Daenerys II.
  61. A Dance with Dragons, Epilogue.