“So you’ve come on time,” Carter glanced at the pocket watch in his hand and greeted Rockefeller, who had arrived exactly on time.
“Good morning, Carter-ajusshi,”
“Yeah, good morning,”
Carter sat facing Rockefeller before starting work. On the antique wooden table, in between them sat a double-armed weighing scale.
“You said it was your first time doing this kind of work, right?”
“Then I should explain a few things before we actually start,”
Carter tried to explain what he did for work as he couldn’t afford to just let a boy who knew nothing start working and make mistakes.
“First, do you know what a goldsmith does?”
“Hmm, yeah, that sounds right – first there are three main things I do,”
Carter cleared his throat and stroked his beard in a self-important manner as he began to speak,
“Of those three things, the biggest job is using gold to make gold coins. As you’re aware, commonly found gold can have different purities and weights, so it’s inconvenient to use them in trade since there are no standards,”
“That’s why you make gold coins, right? They’re easy to carry around for transactions,” Rockefeller chimed in,
“You know it well, but making gold coins is not an easy task that anyone can do,”
Rockefeller didn’t deny that. He, too, had agreed that the goldsmith business was not meant for just anyone.
“In order to do this job, you first need a special permit granted by the Imperial Family – and in order to make gold coins, you need the professional skills which take quite a bit of time to learn. That’s why I have no intention of letting you do goldsmithing. Instead, I’m thinking of assigning you to a different task,”
“Take a look at this first. This is a gold coin I made yesterday,”
Carter took out of his pocket a gold coin the portrait of the first Emperor engraved on its surface and showed it to Rockefeller.
“This is a Talent, a gold coin of the Empire. Since you’re a commoner, you must have seen one at least once, but with one of these, you’d have enough money to eat and sleep well for one month in another country,”
“I know about it. They say that a farmer’s wage is about one shilling, and it takes one month’s worth of wages to exchange the shillings to a gold coin,”
“To be precise, 1 Talent is 32 Shillings – but if you do a rough calculation then, as you say, a countryside labourer would need a full month’s earnings for a single gold coin,”
Next, Carter took out a silver coin and showed it to Rockefeller.
“This is the shilling you were talking about. It’s also known as just a silver coin. Here, silver coins can be made by craftsmen appointed by the lord, but goldsmiths can only make gold coins with permission from the imperial family,”
It was once again something Rockefeller already knew,
“I’ve heard about that story too,”
“Actually, in the case of silver coins, there is no set standard, so the size and shape are different depending on the territory. The lords can decide that as they please, so there are cases where the silver coins used here can’t be used at all in other territories,”
“Is it like that everywhere?”
“No, most places tend to follow the rule of 32 Shillings to 1 Talent, but some places exist where they don’t,”
“Then there might be a problem if I use the silver coins here in another territory?”
“Right. That’s why gold coins are so valuable, not only because of their worth but because they are a coin with the exact same value everywhere in the Empire,”
“Then are all the transactions in the Empire made in gold coins?”
If you were to think of it in modern times, then the gold coin was like a Key Currency** such as the Dollar and the silver coins, in concept, were more like the currencies of individual countries.
“There’s something I’m curious about,”
“Go ahead and ask,”
“If you need gold coins to trade in the Empire – then what happens with trade outside of the Empire? Are imperial gold coins also used there?”
At that question, Carted stroked his beard and pondered for a moment,
“It’s a bit complicated, first, although it’s not impossible to trade with imperial coins – it’s just easier to use the goblin gold coin, Ducat.”