Trade and Economy
Outside the larger cities, most people do their trading by barter: folk bring their good to market and exchange with their neighbours or local craftsmen. But coinage is common enough that most peasants have at least a few bits hidden away and and a prosperous farmer is likely to have a sack of silver in a strongbox or hidden in safe place. In the cities, most trade is carried on in coin. The kings (or the Hada of Samadria) keep the right to mint coins to themselves. However, since they tend to hold to tradition and mint coins of the same size as in the past, coins from one realm circulate fairly freely in another, subject to a small "changing" discount. The exception are silver coins from Hallanwell. The silver mines of that principality have been the source of much of its wealth and Hallanwelch coins are famed for their purity. Everyone accepts them at face value.
The coins generally have the place they were minted with the kings name and a date on the reverse, and a decoration on the front. All of the coins are rectangular and have a hole at one end through which they can be threaded on a thong, which is how many people carry their coins. The various types are:
- Bronze coins called "bitts" or commonly "oars". The name seems to have come about because a small raiding ship has 24 oars and it takes 24 bitts to make a sail.
- Silver coins called "sails" - so called because they almost always have a ship on them, often commemorating a battle. It takes 40 sails to make a crown. There are plenty of political jokes about this, of course, because warhips are also counted in "sails".
- Gold coins called "crowns" - so-called because they bear the king's head (or that of the head of the Hada for Samadrian coins) on the front - usually minted for special occasions, such as a coronation, birth of an heir, etc. Ordinary people don't see very many crowns - if any - in their day to day business.
Trade - in metals, wool, fish and manufactured goods is carried on throughout the Archipelago. Most trade is by ship, of course, but goods are carried inland by peddlars, in backpacks or on Qurrocks. Fleets of ships set sail once or twice a year to Lumulea, where they trade silver and manufactured goods for the wares produced by the more technically advanced kingdoms like Salestria. Very occasionally ships will sail even further afield, to the Kolodrian Commonwealth or the Ephesian League. Equally rarely, ships from the Martic League will arrive in Samadria, but if any mariners from Samadria have ever made the same voyage, no memeory remains of them.