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Money



I had every intention of providing an extensive and detailed narrative on the worth of monies and the cost of various items.

For instance, what a particular denomination is worth "A golden tarn disk was a small fortune. It would buy one of the great birds themselves, or as many as five slave girls." Or the cost of say, a slave girl; "some of the plainer women are sold for as little as a brass cup; a really beautiful girl, particularly if of free birth and high caste, might bring as much as forty pieces of gold."

However the sheer volume of passages in the Books referencing these things would make this page ridiculously long and when I finally came across this quote, I decided to go a different route.

"A silver tarsk," said a man.
"Excellent," said the auctioneer.
This seemed to me an unusually high bid for a raw, untrained barbarian slave, particularly as an opening bid. On the other hand, I had noted that girls seemed to bring high prices in Kailiauk. Several of the girls had gone from the side blocks, for example, for prices ranging between thirty and fifty copper tarsks. In certain other markets these girls, in their current state of barbarity and ignorance, might have brought as little as seven or eight tarsks apiece. These prices, of course, were a function of context and time.   (emphasis mine)
Savages of Gor     Book 17     Page 117

The key phrase here is - "These prices, of course, were a function of context and time."

In other words, there just isn't enough consistency throughout the whole series to state that a slave girl sells for X or a cup of Paga goes for Y.

Money can be a lot of things. But in all cases it is something that has an agreed upon value.
Obviously gold, [1] silver [2] and copper [3] are well known precious metals from which coins are made but bronze [4] and iron [5] are also used.

Money can be other things too. Sometimes pieces of plates, cups or candlesticks have been used. [6] There is also salt [7] or something as simple as a silver buckle [8] or a brass cup. [9] In the Barrens, beads, strips of leather, furs, blankets, arrowheads and bowstrings are used. [10] Also used are millet, rice, silk, coarser cloth, and such. [11] Even slave girls themselves are referred to as currency. [12] There is even a reference to the "coin of the furs". [13] And steel, it is said, is the coinage of Warriors. [14]

Even the more standardized money can still be in a variety of shapes and sizes. There are cubes [15] of gold and silver. There are small rectangular bars marked by a Jarl. [16] There is ring money, each ring strung on a larger ring and weighed individually. [17]

Sometimes money is square or a narrow triangle [18] and then there is the irregular, somewhat circular shaped stater. [19] Coins can be, as already mentioned, as different as a ring, to a having a hole drilled in them, [20] to a square [21] or a rectangle. [22]

As far as size is concerned, coins are described as tiny, [23] small, [24] beadlike, [25] being sifted through fingers [26] to being rather large. [27]

Most Gorean outfits, including slave tunics, do not have pockets. One notable exception to this is the artisan. [28] And slaves are not permitted wallets, or pouches, as free persons, [29] so money is carried in a variety of other ways.

Perhaps the simplest way is to just carry coins in one's mouth. Slaves and free persons will do this from time to time. [30]

There is the coin sack or capsule which is tied around the neck of a girl when sent on errands. [31] Slaves will also carry money tied in a scarf about a wrist or ankle. [32]

Sometimes coins are pierced and strung together. [33] A simple sack, usually of leather might be used [34] and sometimes with the owner's name stitched inside. [35] A pouch, [36] usually concealed within the robes of a free woman, or slung about the waist or shoulder of a free man, [37] or worn around the neck, [38] is closed by a drawstring. [39]

It might be noted that those of the Caste of Assassins do not carry pouches but instead carry money in pockets of their belts. [40] Others too, perhaps for security, use belt pockets for their money. [41]

A wallet is also a means to carry coins [42] as is a purse. [43] And sometimes money is just carried inside one's tunic. [44]

Coins are also used as jewelry, usually to embellish dancing girls. [45] Sometimes they are a pendant [46] or necklace. [47] And coins are used to adorn weapons, saddles, animals and slaves. [48]

Money can also be in the form of drafts, checks or letters of credit. [49] But paper currency is unknown. [50]

Gorean coins are referred to as tarsks [51], tarns [52] and staters. [53]

From the context of the series it becomes clear that 'Stater' is more a definition of the type of coin rather than the value. There is no evidence that the Gold Stater is of any higher face value than the Gold Tarn. If anything, there is evidence that they are equal. [54]

The fact that coins were individually hand struck tells us that they would have irregular shapes. No two coins, even from the same city, would be completely identical. The point being, machine minted coins, of which we are familiar today, did not exist on Gor. There is one reference that goes into great detail describing the shape, feel and look of Gorean coins. [55]

The smallest Gorean coin is usually a tarsk bit, [56] up to a golden tarn disk of double weight. [57]

Aside from the tarsk bit which is created by literally chopped or cutting a copper tarsk, [58] there are also broken coins of larger denominations. [59]

Gorean coinage, being made of actual gold, silver and copper can be shaved or clipped, in other words, debased. [60] So, at times one might make a claim that their coins have not been debased, such as "We offer silver, unclipped silver." [61]

Due to the fact that both copper tarsks and silver tarsks are sometimes simply referred to simply as tarsks, it is wise to make certain the person to whom you are speaking knows which one you mean. [62]

And one final point, coins have even been used in an insult. [63]














Supporting References

[1] I drew forth five pieces of gold. "This money," said I to Samos, "is for safe passage for Ar, by guard and tarn, for this woman."
Marauders of Gor     Book 9     Page 15


[2] Certain coins, such as the silver tarsk of Tharna
Savages of Gor     Book 17     Page 120


[3] Hup wildly thrust a small, stubby, knobby hand into his pouch and hurled a coin, a copper tarn disk,
Assassin of Gor     Book 5     Page 13


[4] Yasushi, in his search for missing foragers, had carried but two coins, and of bronze, folded in his sash, and Tajima, in his venture to obtain a slave, had carried but one, of copper.
Rebels of Gor     Book 33     Page 348


[5] Certain jarls, of course, in a sense, coined money, marking bars of iron or gold, usually small rectangular solids, with their mark.
Marauders of Gor     Book 9     Pages 76

Then, with a great, sweeping gesture, Ivar Forkbeard emptied the bowl of coins, scattering them in a shower of cooper and iron over the men.
Marauders of Gor     Book 9     Page 51


[6] Many transactions are also done with fragments of gold and silver, often broken from larger objects, such as cups or plates, and these must be individually weighed. Indeed, the men of the north think little of breaking apart objects which, in the south, would be highly prized for their artistic value, simply to obtain pieces of negotiable precious metal. The fine candlesticks from the temple of Kassau, for example, I expected would be chopped into bits small enough for the pans of the northern scales.
Marauders of Gor     Book 9     Pages 76 - 77

To be sure, silver, gold, and copper also function as means of exchange in the islands, either in the form of marked coinages or as plates and bars.
Rebels of Gor     Book 33     Page 181


[7] There are areas on Gor where salt serves as a currency, being weighed and exchanged much as precious metals.
Tribesmen of Gor     Book 10     Page 208


[8] In many markets, scales are used, particularly if gold or silver figures in the transaction. Coins can be debased, shaved, or such. Scales are particularly important if, say, a silver buckle, or a scrap cut from a gold vessel, should be in question.
Plunder of Gor     Book 34     Pages 652 - 653


[9] some of the plainer women are sold for as little as a brass cup;
Nomads of Gor     Book 4     Page 57


[10] One bargained, of course, with such things, much as one might with pieces of metal, or, in the Barrens, with beads, strips of leather, furs, blankets, arrowheads, bowstrings, slaves, and such.
Mariners of Gor     Book 30     Page 405


[11] "We have a coin for rice," had said Haruki.
"A coin?" said the fellow, surprised.
"Yes," said Haruki.
The common means of exchange were in terms of commodities, millet, rice, silk, coarser cloth, and such.
Rebels of Gor     Book 33     Page 316


[12] a form of currency; the slave girl is usually in demand,
Tribesmen of Gor     Book 10     Page 125

Slaves are, of course, in any event, a form of currency. They are exchangeable, bartarable, vendible, as any other form of goods, cloth, leather, metal, kaiila, tarsk, verr, such things.
Kur of Gor     Book 28     Page 181

As you remain as you are, so soft, so lovely, so attractive and desirable, you must expect to continue to face the risks and perils attendant on your beauty, on a world such as this, where it is a common mode of currency,
Dancer of Gor     Book 22     Page 474

women on Gor, in a sense, are themselves money. They are, or can be, a medium of exchange, like currency. This is particularly true of the slave,
Renegades of Gor     Book 23     Page 42


[13] The two guards left, disgruntled. Doubtless they felt cheated. I am sure they made the instructresses pay later in the "coin of the furs," not that the instructresses would much mind that.
Conspirators of Gor     Book 31     Page 212


[14] "Steel is the coinage of the warrior," say the codes, "With it he purchases what pleases him"
Marauders of Gor     Book 9     Page 10


[15] By this time I had followed Harold over to a corner of the courtyard wall, which was heaped high, banked into the corner, with precious metals, plates, cups; bowls of jewels; necklaces and bracelets; boxes of coins and, in heavy, wooden crates, numerous stacked cubes of silver and gold, each stamped with its weight
Nomads of Gor     Book 4     Page 251


[16] Certain jarls, of course, in a sense, coined money, marking bars of iron or gold, usually small rectangular solids, with their mark.
Marauders of Gor     Book 9     Pages 76


[17] Ring money was also used, but seldom stamped with a jarl's mark. Each ring, strung on a larger ring, would be individually weighed in scales.
Marauders of Gor     Book 9     Pages 76


[18] "Open your mouth," I said.
She did so, and I drew forth a tarsk bit from my pouch, this one not a separate coin in the sense of a round or square coin, but a piece of such a coin, a narrow, triangular, chopped eighth of a copper tarn disk, and placed it in her mouth.
Renegades of Gor     Book 23     Page 29


[19] I opened his wallet. It was filled with golden staters, from Brundisium,
Players of Gor     Book 20     Page 67


[20] Some Gorean coins are drilled, incidentally, to allow stringing, the coins of Tharna, for example; Turian coins, and most others, are not.
Nomads of Gor     Book 4     Page 251

Many of these coins, not all, were perforated in the center. One threads one or more such coins on a string, the string fastened about the bottom and top coin, or loops a string through several coins, and ties the loop shut above the top coin.
Mariners of Gor     Book 30     Page 404


[21] I drew forth a tarsk bit from my pouch, this one not a separate coin in the sense of a round or square coin Renegades of Gor     Book 23     Page 29


[22] coined money, marking bars of iron or gold, usually small rectangular solids,
Marauders of Gor     Book 9     Pages 76


[23] I placed another tarsk bit in his hand. He put these two tiny coins in a small, shallow copper bowl before him.
Explorers of Gor     Book 13     Page 137

I turned a little and saw some of the tiny golden coins, such as adorned the dancers' costumes, spilled into the hand of the leader.
Dancer of Gor     Book 22     Page 276

"I take it you have a sudden craving for paga," said Callias.
"A sudden craving, yes, dear friend," I said, lifting my clenched fist, holding the tiny, beadlike coin, a golden tarsk, "but scarcely for paga."
Mariners of Gor     Book 30     Page 553

"Of what value is this?" I said, looking down at the tiny golden tarsk in my hand.
"Something like a hundred silver tarsks," said Callias.
Mariners of Gor     Book 30     Page 557

The peasant drew a thread of copper coins from his wallet, removed from it a single, tiny coin, and held it up.
Rebels of Gor     Book 33     Page 454


[24] coined money, marking bars of iron or gold, usually small rectangular solids,
Marauders of Gor     Book 9     Pages 76

Ellen heard the tiny sounds of small coins.
Prize of Gor     Book 27     Page 455

I looked at the small, round, golden disk. The staters of Brundisium are prized on the Streets of Coins in a hundred cities. They constitute one of Ar's most coveted coinages.
Smugglers of Gor     Book 32     Page 44

"Here," said Axel, who drew from his wallet a small coin, a yellow coin, a gold tarsk, perhaps from Besnit or Harfax, where such coins are popular, and tossed it to my captor, who caught it.
Smugglers of Gor     Book 32     Page 522


[25] "What is here?" Callias asked the slave.
"Some coin," she said, "tiny golden tarsks, almost like beads, which are light and consume little space, but mostly pearls, and jewels."
Mariners of Gor     Book 30     Page 544

[26] She sifted golden tarn disks through her fingers.
Beasts of Gor     Book 12     Page 143


[27] One of the guardsmen opened her mouth, not gently, and retrieved the coin, a rather large one, a tarsk bit. Ten such coins make a copper tarsk. A hundred copper tarsks make a silver tarsk.
Explorers of Gor     Book 13     Page 54

He was now holding up, over his head, a large coin.
Prize of Gor     Book 27     Page 492

I removed a Brundisium tarsk-bit, which is a large coin, the size perhaps intended to compensate for the slightness of its value.
"Open your mouth," I said.
"I am not permitted to touch money," she said.
I placed the coin in her mouth. "Do not drop it," I said.
The coin was far too large to swallow, and, held in her mouth, she could not speak.
Smugglers of Gor     Book 32     Page 50

I drew a silver tarsk from the ruffian's wallet, and tossed it to the proprietor, who caught if neatly, in his left hand.
"I am staying the night," I said to the proprietor.
"As you wish," said the proprietor, looking from the large coin in his hand to the blade at my hip.
Smugglers of Gor     Book 32     Page 73

"Do you know what this is?" he asked.
He had drawn a yellow disk from his wallet, which was as large as his palm.
"It is like a coin," I said, "but it is too large."
He held it toward me.
"May I touch it?" I asked, warily.
"Take it" he said.
"It is heavy," I said.
"It is a coin," he said. "It is gold, a double tarn, from the mint of the state of Ar."
He held out his hand, and I hastily, with relief, returned the coin. "It must be valuable," I said.
"Yes," he said. "Many laborers might not earn its equivalent in years. There are merchants who have never had their hands on such a coin. Certainly it is the first I have seen.
Smugglers of Gor     Book 32     Pages 543 - 544


[28] Few Gorean garments are deformed by pockets. An exception is the working aprons of artisans.
Tarnsman of Gor     Book 1     Page 165

Gorean garments, generally, incidentally, except for the garments of craftsmen, do not have pockets.
Guardsman of Gor     Book 16     Page 250

Gorean garments generally lack pockets.
Mercenaries of Gor     Book 21     Page 442

Most Gorean garments, a notable exception being those of artisans, lack pockets.
Renegades of Gor     Book 23     Page 29

Most Gorean garments, other than those of artisans, do not contain pockets.
Witness of Gor     Book 26     Page 429

The girl commonly carries the coin, or coins, in her mouth, for slave tunics, like most Gorean garments, have no pockets.
Hunters of Gor     Book 8     Page 65


[29] Slaves are not permitted wallets, or pouches, as free persons.
Hunters of Gor     Book 8     Page 65


[30] Many Goreans, particularly those of low caste, on errands and such, carry a coin or coins in their mouths.
Renegades of Gor     Book 23     Page 29

She spit the coins she carried in her mouth into her hand, and told me what I wanted to know.
Tarnsman of Gor     Book 1     Page 165

Some slaves are not allowed to touch money. Many, on the other hand, on errands, carry coins in their mouth. This, however, is not unusual on Gor, even for free folks.
Mercenaries of Gor     Book 21     Page 442


[31] A coin sack was tied about her neck. Some slaves are not allowed to touch money. Many, on the other hand, on errands, carry coins in their mouth. This, however, is not unusual on Gor, even for free folks. Gorean garments generally lack pockets.
Mercenaries of Gor     Book 21     Page 442

Often she would send me shopping, my hands braceleted behind my back, a leather capsule, a cylinder, tied about my neck, containing her order and coins. The merchant would then fill her order, tie the merchandise about my neck, put the change in the leather capsule, close it and, sometimes with a friendly slap, dismissing me, reminding me that I was pretty, regardless of being a woman's slave, send me back to my mistress.
Slave Girl of Gor     Book 11     Page 389

"Move your hand," I said.
She did so.
"I see now why you were so frightened," I said. "You have stolen a sack of coins."
"No, no!" she said.
"Many masters," I said, "do not permit a slave to so much as touch money. To be sure, they might let her carry coins in an errand capsule, or an errand sack, tied about her neck, instructions to a vendor perhaps also contained within it, her hands braceleted behind her."
She looked up, frightened.
"And few masters, indeed, I assure you," I said, "even if so lenient as to let her venture to a market with a coin or two in her mouth, on a specific errand, would permit her to scamper about with a trove such as that which now seems to be in your keeping."
Renegades of Gor     Book 23     Pages 122 - 123


[32] The girl did not now, of course, carry a purse. Slave girls are not permitted to carry such things. When shopping she carries the coins usually in her mouth or hand. Sometimes she ties them in a scarf about a wrist or ankle. Sometimes her master places them in a bag, which is then tied about her neck. Gorean garments, generally, incidentally, except for the garments of craftsmen, do not have pockets
Guardsman of Gor     Book 16     Page 250


[33] If a sale had been made, the steward would take a number of pierced coins, threaded on a string hung about his left shoulder, hand them to the vendor, pick up his article and depart.
Outlaw of Gor     Book 2     Page 69

About his neck, in the manner of a steward, he wore a set of pierced coins threaded on a silver wire.
Outlaw of Gor     Book 2     Page 191

This fellow, Torus, had been standing nearby for some time. He had the strings of coins looped over his left forearm.
Peisistratus took the coins and handed them, on their strings, to Cabot.
Kur of Gor     Book 28     Page 293

Many of these coins, not all, were perforated in the center. One threads one or more such coins on a string, the string fastened about the bottom and top coin, or loops a string through several coins, and ties the loop shut above the top coin. In this way the coins are kept together, perhaps tied about one's waist, under the clothing, or put about one's neck, under the clothing, or simply dropped into a pouch, usually of silk.
Mariners of Gor     Book 30     Page 404

Haruki removed a string from about his neck, and drew it forth, from beneath his long, gray shirt. On this string were seven or eight copper disks, each penetrated by a small, square opening, through which the string was threaded.
Rebels of Gor     Book 33     Page 316

The peasant drew a thread of copper coins from his wallet, removed from it a single, tiny coin, and held it up.
Rebels of Gor     Book 33     Page 454


[34] Then to my surprise he pressed a small, heavy leather sack of coins into my hand.
Outlaw of Gor     Book 2     Page 74

I smiled to myself, felt the sack of coins in my tunic, bent down and pushed the door open.
Outlaw of Gor     Book 2     Page 76

As I would later learn, the value placed on girls such as we were, a Judy Thornton or an Elicia Nevins, girls of our quality, would commonly be a tiny sack of copper coins, a few more, a few less.
Slave Girl of Gor     Book 11     Page 48

In my wallet there was a sack of coins, a plentiful supply of coins, though mostly of small denomination, such as would not be likely to attract attention.
Mercenaries of Gor     Book 21     Page 220

"What is that in your hand?" I asked. She had something clutched in her right hand.
She opened her hand, holding it out a little, that I might see what she held. There, in the palm of her right hand, was a small sack, bulging, seemingly weighty for its size, from the look of it, a sack of coins. It was leather. It had strings.
Renegades of Gor     Book 23     Page 122

[35] "These are my coins," said the conspirator. "My name is stitched into the leather of the sack."
Outlaw of Gor     Book 2     Page 80


[36] Hup wildly thrust a small, stubby, knobby hand into his pouch and hurled a coin, a copper tarn disk, to Kuurus, who caught it and placed it in one of the pockets of his belt.
Assassin of Gor     Book 5     Page 13

Dumbfounded I reached in my pouch and handed her a coin, a silver Tarsk.
Assassin of Gor     Book 5     Page 76

I took out some coins from my pouch and handed them to Kamchak who slipped them in a fold of his sash.
Nomads of Gor     Book 4     Page 150

With my right hand I reached into the pouch at my belt and drew out the coins.
Marauders of Gor     Book 9     Page 13

I wondered if the wily fellow had chuckled well to himself when placing the tarsk bit in his fur pouch.
Beasts of Gor     Book 12     Page 99


[37] Coins, and personal items, and such, are usually, by free persons, carried in pouches, which are usually concealed within the robes of a free woman, or slung about the waist, or shoulder, of a free man.
Guardsman of Gor     Book 16     Page 250


[38] He slipped the gold, on the strung pouch, the string about his neck, back in his tunic.
Vagabonds of Gor     Book 24     Page 467


[39] I opened the fellow's pouch. It contained coins, but there were no letters within it.
I poured the coins back into the pouch, and pulled shut its drawstrings.
Mercenaries of Gor     Book 21     Page 243


[40] Without speaking the man took twenty pieces of gold, tarn disks of Ar, of double weight, and gave them to Kuurus, who placed them in the pockets of his belt. The Assassins, unlike most castes, do not carry pouches.
Assassin of Gor     Book 5     Page 4


[41] Not five paces behind them I saw a ragged cutpurse cut the wallet of a merchant, dropping its contents into his hand and, bowing and whining, twist away in the crowd. The merchant huffed away. The fellow had done it neatly. I recalled a girl named Tina, once of Lydius, now of Port Kar. She, too, had been an excellent thief. My own coins I kept in belt pockets, within my robes, save for a small wallet at my side.
Tribesmen of Gor     Book 10     Page 51


[42] "Very well," said the captain, gesturing to a scribe near him, with a wallet of coins slung over his shoulder, to pay the slave master.
Raiders of Gor     Book 6     Page 182

The crowd, too, or, at least, many of its members, put coins, usually single coins, or coins of smaller denomination, in the bowls. These were fetched from purses, from wallets and pouches.
Witness of Gor     Book 26     Page 429

Portus took the coin and put it in the guardsman's wallet at his belt.
Prize of Gor     Book 27     Page 521


[43] "I will pay it," she said, giving him the coin from a small, beaded purse she held in her hand.
Fighting Slave of Gor     Book 14     Page 218

I was given a small purse of coins, one sufficient for my projected expenses, and instructed to report back to my headquarters, alone and on foot."
Players of Gor     Book 20     Page 193

He put the tarsk bit from his hand into his purse, as I held it, and then took the purse gingerly from me, and, sensing he was permitted, dropped it, on its strings, so that again it hung from his belt, on his left. If one is right-handed, one normally lifts the purse with the left hand and reaches into it with the right. The weight of the purse, on its drawstrings, closed it.
Renegades of Gor     Book 23     Page 32

Many were the bulging wallets, and sleeve purses.
Mariners of Gor     Book 30     Page 503


[44] I had had Thurnock give me some coins, which I had placed in my tunic.
Hunters of Gor     Book 8     Page 55

I bent, angrily, to my pouch. I would find some money which I would insert in the lining of my tunic, a common thing among manual laborers on Gor.
Rouge of Gor     Book 15     Page 124

I removed a ten-tarsk piece from the lining of my tunic.
Workers do not commonly carry pouches at their work.
Rouge of Gor     Book 15     Page 126


[45] I wore a double belt of threaded, jangling coins, one strand high, one low, as with the corded belt of metal pieces I had worn in my virgin dance, weeks ago. I also wore a triple necklace of coins, together with necklaces of slave beads, of both glass and wood.
Dancer of Gor     Book 22     Page 223

I turned a little and saw some of the tiny golden coins, such as adorned the dancers' costumes, spilled into the hand of the leader.
Dancer of Gor     Book 22     Page 276

she wondered, if she were to so dance before him, barefoot, in a bit of swirling silk, in necklaces and coins,
Prize of Gor     Book 27     Page 151

"It would be nice," he said, "had you a scarlet halter, earrings, bangles and bracelets, necklaces, a belt of coins, a scarlet skirt, one of Turian drape, such things, but you do not, and so you must do without, and do the best you can."
Kur of Gor     Book 28     Page 675


[46] I speak of lean, scarred Ha-Keel, who wore about his neck, on a golden chain, a worn tarn disk, set with diamonds, of the city of Ar. He had cut a throat for that coin, to buy silks and perfumes for a woman, but one who fled with another man; Ha-Keel had hunted them, slain in combat the man and sold the woman into slavery.
Raiders of Gor     Book 6     Page 273


[47] Cabot saw necklaces of strung coins being exchanged in the tiers.
Kur of Gor     Book 28     Page 233


[48] Three or four abreast, in long lines, led by their civil chief, Watonka, One-Who-Is-Rich, and subchiefs and high warriors, the Isanna entered the camp of the Isbu. They carried feathered lances, and war shields and medicine shields, in decorated cases. They carried bow cases and quivers. They were resplendent in finery and paint. Feathers, each one significant and meaningful, in the codes of the Kaiila, recounting their deeds and honors, adorned their hair. Necklaces and rude bracelets glinted in the sun. High-pommeled saddles were polished. Coins and beads hung from the reins.
Blood Brothers of Gor     Book 18     Page 25

I supposed the women understood clearly that they, like the silver pendants tied in the manes, like the coins fastened on the reins, like the saddles inlaid with gold, with golden wire wrapped about the pommels, were being displayed as portions of the wealth of the Isanna.
Blood Brothers of Gor     Book 18     Page 27

Her hair, red, radiant in the sun, had been braided in the fashion of the red savages. It was tied with golden string. Necklaces of shells and beads, and ornaments and trinkets, and pierced coins, of gold and silver, hung about her neck. On her wrists, visible within the capelike sleeves of the shirtdress, were silver bracelets.
Blood Brothers of Gor     Book 18     Page 33

Low on her hips she wore a belt of small denomination, threaded, overlapping golden coins.
. . .
I regarded the coins threaded, overlapping, on her belt and halter. They took the firelight beautifully. They glinted, but were of small worth. One dresses such a woman in cheap coins; she is slave.
Tribesmen of Gor     Book 10     Page 8


[49] Many of the ruffians probably could not read. Too, they were the sort of men who would be inclined to distrust financial papers, such as letters of credit, drafts, checks, and such.
Vagabonds of Gor     Book 24     Page 467

"What of the moneys, those vast sums wrought from the Kurii, the notes negotiated in Schendi?" I asked.
Explorers of Gor     Book 13     Page 434

I would make arrangements; I would obtain weapons, moneys, letters of credit.
Players of Gor     Book 20     Page 75

Coins, or letters of credit, might be concealed about a wagon,
Renegades of Gor     Book 23     Pages 113 - 114

He called a scribe to him. "Give this merchant in gems," said he, "my note, stamped for eighty weights of dates."
Tribesmen of Gor     Book 10     Page 109

One also heard of a Street of Coins, of which a similar observation would seem warranted. This, too, seemed to refer more to a particular district, than a particular street, one in which several money houses were to be found. In passing, I will note something of interest, at least to a barbarian. On your world pieces of paper, even with impressive printing on them, are seldom accepted in exchange for actual goods. The Gorean thinks generally in terms of metal, copper, silver, and gold, something obdurate and solid, which can be handled, split, quartered, shaved, and weighed, or else in terms of actual goods. It would be dangerous to try to buy a sleen or slave, or a sul or larma from a Gorean for no more than a piece of paper. On the other hand, notes are exchanged amongst various coin houses, or banking houses, without difficulty. Sometimes the wealth of a city has been transferred from Jad to Ar, or Ar to Jad, in the form of a piece of paper, sewn into the lining of a robe. In such a way wealth can be exchanged, even back and forth, without a tarsk-bit changing hands.
Conspirators of Gor     Book 31     Page 99


[50] It is, for example, not unusual for a Gorean coin pouch to contain parts of coins as well as whole coins. Business is often conducted by notes and letters of credit. Paper currency, however, in itself, is unknown.
Savages of Gor     Book 17     Page 120


[51] Dumbfounded I reached in my pouch and handed her a coin, a silver Tarsk.
Assassin of Gor     Book 5     Page 76


[52] I tossed a silver tarn disk to the tarn keeper and ordered him to care for the bird, to groom and feed it and see that it was ready on an instant's notice. His grumbling was silenced by an additional tarn disk.
Tarnsman of Gor     Book 1     Page 165


[53] The coin stalls were, in effect, exchanges, as, in a market of the size of that of Cestias, in a city such as Ar, buyers and sellers from diverse cities might mingle and carry diverse currencies. As would be expected, the most common denominations in the market were those of Ar, her tarn disks, and her tarsks, of copper, and silver and gold. But coins of many cities circulated. Occasionally one encountered a disk from far-off Turia. Some prized coins were the silver tarns of Jad and, on the continent, the golden staters of Brundisium.
Conspirators of Gor     Book 31     Page 273


[54] "Do you think an entire gold piece, say, a stater, or a tarn disk, would be too much in a cause to perpetuate and enhance the arts on an entire world?"
Magicians of Gor     Book 25     Page 288


[55]

"This coin, or medal, or whatever it is, is very puzzling," had said the gentle, bespectacled man, holding it by the edges with white, cotton gloves, and then placing it down on the soft felt between us. He was an authenticator, to whom I had been referred by a professional numismatist. His task was not to appraise coins but to render an informed opinion on such matters as their type and origin, where this might be obscure, their grading, in cases where a collaborative opinion might be desired, and their genuineness.

"Is it genuine?" I asked.

"Who sold you this piece," asked the man, "a private party? What did you pay for it?"

"It was given to me," I said, "by a private party."

"That is extremely interesting," said the man.

"Why?" I asked.

"It rules out an obvious hypothesis," said the man. "Yet such a thing would be foolish."

"I do not understand," I said.

"Puzzling," he mused, looking down at the coin on the felt between us, "puzzling."

I regarded him.

"This object," lie said, "has not been struck from machine-engraved dies. Similarly, it is obviously not the result of contemporary minting techniques and technology. It is not the product, for example, of a high-speed, automated coin press."

"I do not understand," I said.

"It has been struck by hand," he said. "Do you see how the design is slightly off center?"

"Yes," I said.

"That is a feature almost invariably present in ancient coins," he said. "The planchet is warmed, to soften the metal. It is then placed between the dies and the die cap is then struck, literally, with a hammer, impressing the design of the obverse and reverse simultaneously into the planchet."

"Then it is an ancient coin?" I asked.

"That seems unlikely," he said. "Yet the techniques used in striking this coin have not been used, as far as I know, for centuries."

"What sort of coin is it?" I asked.

"Too," he said, "note how it is not precision milled. It is not made for stacking, or for storage in rolls."

I looked at him. It did not seem to me he was being too clear with me. He seemed independently fascinated with the object.

"Such coins were too precious perhaps," he said. "A roll of them might be almost inconceivable, particularly in the sense of having many such rolls."

"What sort of coin is it?" I asked.

"You see, however," he asked, "how the depth of the planchet allows a relief and contrast of the design with the background to an extent impossible in a flat, milled coin?"

"Yes," I said.

"What a superb latitude that gives the artist," he said. "It frees him from the limitations of a crude compromise with the counting house, from the contemporary concessions which must be made to economic functionalism. Even then, in so small and common an object, and in so unlikely an object, he can create a work of art."

"Can you identify the coin?" I asked.

"This, in its depth and beauty, reminds me of ancient coins," he said. "They are, in my opinion, the most beautiful and interesting of all coins."

"Is it an ancient coin?" I asked.

"I do not think so," he said.

"What sort of coin is it, then?" I asked.

"Look here," he said. "Do you see how this part of the object, at the edge, seems flatter, or straight, different from the rest of the object's circumference?"

"Yes," I said. To be sure, one had to look closely to see it.

"This object has been clipped, or shaved," he said. "A part of the metal has been cut or trimmed away. In this fashion, if that is not noted, or the object is not weighed, it might be accepted for, say, a certain face value, the individual responsible for this meanwhile pocketing the clipped or shaved metal. If this is done over a period of time, with many coins, of course, the individual could accumulate, in metal value, a value equivalent perhaps to one or more of the original objects."

"Metal value?" I asked.

"In modem coinage," he said, "we often lose track of such things. Yet, if one thinks about it, at least in the case of many coins, a coin is a way in which a government or ruler certifies that a given amount of precious metal is involved in a transaction. It saves weighing and testing each coin. The coin, in a sense, is an object whose worth or weight, in standardized quantities, is certified upon it, and guaranteed, so to speak, by an issuing authority. Commerce as we know it would be impossible, of course, without such, objects, and notes, and credit and such."

"Then the object is a coin?" I said.

"I do not know if it is a coin or not," said the man.

"What else could it be?" I asked.

"It could be many things," he said. "It might be a token or a medal. It might be an emblem of membership in an organization or a device whereby a given personage might be recognized by another. It might be a piece of art intended to be mounted in jewelry. It might even be a piece in some game."

"Can you identify it?" I asked.

"No," he said.

The object was about an inch and a half in diameter and about three eighths of an inch in thickness. It was yellowish, and, to me, surprisingly heavy for its size.

"What about the letter on one side?" I asked.

"It may not be a letter," he said. "It may be only a design." It seemed a single, strong, well-defined character. "If it is a letter," he said, "it is not from an alphabet with which I am familiar."

"There is an eagle on the other side," I said, helpfully.

"Is there?" he asked. He turned the coin on the felt, touching it carefully with the cotton gloves.

I looked at the bird more closely.

"It is not an eagle," he said. "It has a crest."

"What sort of bird is it?" I asked.

He shrugged. "Perhaps it is a bird from some mythology," he said, "perhaps a mere artist's whimsy."

I looked at the fierce head on the surface of the yellowish object.

It frightened me.

"It does not appear to be a whimsy," I said.

"No," be smiled. "It doesn't, does it?"

"Have you ever seen anything like this before?" I asked.

"No," He said, "aside, of course, from its obvious resemblance to ancient coins."

"I see," I said.

"I was afraid," he said, "when you brought it in, that you were the victim of an expensive and cruel hoax. I had thought perhaps you had paid a great deal of money for this, before having its authenticity ascertained. On the other hand, it was given to you. You were thus not being defrauded in that manner. As you perhaps know coins can be forged, just as, say, paintings and other works of art can be forged. Fortunately these forgeries are usually detectable, particularly under magnification, for example, from casting marks or filing marks from seam joinings, and so on. To be sure, sometimes it is very difficult to tell if a given coin is genuine or not. It is thus useful for the circumspect collector to deal with established and reputable dealers. Similarly the authentication of a coin can often proceed with more confidence if some evidence is in band pertaining to its history, and its former owners, so to speak. One must always be a bit suspicious of the putatively rare and valuable coin which seems to appear inexplicably, with no certifiable background, on the market, particularly if it lacks the backing of an established house."

"Do you think this object is genuine?" I asked.

"There are two major reasons for believing it is genuine," he said, "whatever it might be. First, it shows absolutely no signs of untypical production, such as being cast rather than struck, of being the result of obverse-reverse composition, or of having been altered or tampered with in any way. Secondly, if it were a forgery, what would it be a forgery of? Consider the analogy of counterfeiting. The counterfeiter presumably wishes to deceive people. Its end would not be well served by producing a twenty-five dollar bill, which was purple and of no familiar design. There would be no point in it. It would defeat his own purposes."

"I understand," I said.

"Thus," said the man, "it seems reasonable to assume that this object, whatever it is, is genuine."

"Do you think it is a coin?" I asked.

"It gives every evidence of being a coin," he said. "It looks like a coin. Its simplicity and design do not suggest that it is commemorative in nature. It has been produced in a manner in which coins were often produced, at least long ago and in the classical world. It has been clipped or shaved, something that normally occurs only with coins which pass through many hands. It even has bag marks."

"What are those?" I asked.

"This object, whatever it is," said the man, "can clearly be graded according to established standards recognized in numismatics. It is not even a borderline case. You would not require an expert for its grading. Any qualified numismatist could grade it. If this were a modern, milled coin, it would be rated Extremely Fine. It shows no particular, obvious signs of wear but its surface is less perfect than would be required to qualify it as being uncirculated or as being in Mint State. If this were an ancient coin, it would also qualify as being externally fine, but here the grading standards are different. Again there are almost no signs of wear and the detail, accordingly, is precise and sharp. It shows good centering and the planchet, on the whole, is almost perfectly formed. Some minor imperfections, such as small nicks, are acceptable in this category for ancient coins."

"But what are bag marks?" I asked.

"You may not be able to detect them with the naked eye," he said. "Use this."

From a drawer in the desk he produced a boxlike, mounted magnifying glass. This he placed over the coin, and snapped on the desk lamp.

"Do you see the tiny nicks?" he asked.

"Yes," I said, after a moment.

"Those are bag marks," he said. "They are the result, usually, of the coin, or object, being kept with several others, loose, in, say, a bag or box."

"There might, then," I asked, looking up from the magnifying device, "be a large number of other objects like this somewhere?" That I found a very interesting thought.

"Surely," said the man. "On the other hand, such marks could obviously have other causes, as well."

"Then all the evidence suggests that this is a coin?" I said.

"The most crucial piece of evidence," he said, "however, suggests that it cannot be a coin."

"What is that?" I asked.

"That it fits into no known type or denomination of coin."

"I see," I said.

"As far as I know," he said, "no city, kingdom, nation or civilization on Earth ever produced such a coin."

"Then it is not a coin," I said.

"That seems clear," he said. "No," he said. "Do not pay me."

I replaced his fee in my purse.

"The object is fascinating," he said. "Simply to consider it, in its beauty and mystery, is more than payment enough."

"Thank you," I said.

"I am sorry that I could not be more helpful," he said. "Wait!" he called after me. I had turned to the door. "Do not forget this," he said, picking up the small, round, heavy object on the felt.

I turned back to face him. I was angry. I had thought that the object might have had some value.

"It is only sonic sort of hoax," I said, bitterly.

"Perhaps," he said, smiling, "but, if I were you, I would take it along with me."

"Why?" I asked.

"It has metal value, or bullion value," he said.

"Oh?" I asked.

"Yes," he said. "Do you not understand what it is composed of?"

"No," I said.

"It is gold," he said.
Kajira of Gor     Book 19     Pages 10 - 16


[56] The smallest Gorean coin is usually a tarsk bit
Savages of Gor     Book 17     Page 120

Only a tarsk bit." It was the smallest, least significant Gorean coin, at least in common circulation.
Mercenaries of Gor     Book 21     Page 120

The tarsk bit, of course, in most cities, is the smallest denomination coin in common circulation.
Renegades of Gor     Book 23     Page 107

The tarsk bit is the smallest-denomination coin in common circulation in most Gorean cities.
Magicians of Gor     Book 25     Page 429

Ellen stiffened as he then gave a tarsk-bit, the hundredth part of a mere copper tarsk, to Portus Canio. Portus took the coin and put it in the guardsman's wallet at his belt.
"That is doubtless, objectively, what she is worth," said Portus Canio.
"Alas," said Selius Arconious, "there is no smaller coin."
Prize of Gor     Book 27     Page 521

"For most," said Desmond, "I would suppose her use fee should be a tarsk-bit. Unfortunately there is no smaller coin. Perhaps one might split a tarsk-bit in two."
Conspirators of Gor     Book 31     Page 402


[57] Mintar reached into the pouch at his waist and drew forth a golden tarn disk, of double weight.
Tarnsman of Gor     Book 1     Page 174

Without speaking the man took twenty pieces of gold, tarn disks of Ar, of double weight, and gave them to Kuurus, who placed them in the pockets of his belt.
Assassin of Gor     Book 5     Page 4

I took from my belt a tarn disk of double weight, and of gold, and gave it to the Player, who took it in his fingers and felt its weight, and then he put it between his teeth and bit it.
Assassin of Gor     Book 5     Pages 34 - 35

He lifted, heavily, to the dais on which my chair and table sat a heavy leather sack filled with golden tarn disks of double weight, of Cos and Tyros, of Ar and Port Kar, even of distant Thentis and remote Turia, far to the south.
Raiders of Gor     Book 6     Pages 230 - 231

a "double tarn" is twice the weight of a "tarn."
Magicians of Gor     Book 25     Page 469


[58] Too, sometimes coins are literally chopped into pieces. This is regularly done with copper tarsks, to produce, usually, the eight tarsk bits equivalent in most cities to the copper tarsk.
Magicians of Gor     Book 25     Page 411

It seems there are usually eight tarsk bits in a copper tarsk, and that these are the result of cutting a circular coin in half, and then the halves in half, and then each of these halves in half.
Magicians of Gor     Book 25     Page 469


[59] "I had her for a broken coin," he said, "half a silver tarn disk of Tharna. I will let you have her for a whole coin."
Marauders of Gor     Book 9     Page 162

It is, for example, not unusual for a Gorean coin pouch to contain parts of coins as well as whole coins.
Savages of Gor     Book 17     Page 120

Sometimes, too, coins are split or shaved.
Rouge of Gor     Book 15     Page 155


[60] Further, the debasing of coinage is not unknown. Scales, and rumors, it seems, are often used by coin merchants. One of the central coins on Gor is the golden tarn disk of Ar, against which many cities standardize their own gold piece. Other generally respected coins tend to be the silver tarsk of Tharna, the golden tarn disk of Ko-ro-ba, and the golden tarn of Port Kar, the latter particularly on the western Vosk, in the Tamber Gulf region, and a few hundred pasangs north and south of the Vosk's delta.
Rouge of Gor     Book 15     Page 155

Certain coins, such as the silver tarsk of Tharna and the golden tarn of Ar, tend, to some extent, to standardize what otherwise might be a mercantile chaos. This same standardization, in the region of the Tamber Gulf and south, along the shore of Thassa, tends to be effected by the golden tarn of Port Kar. Coin merchants often have recourse to scales. This is sensible considering such things as the occasional debasings of coinages, usually unannounced by the communities in question, and the frequent practice of splitting and shaving coins.
Savages of Gor     Book 17     Page 120

The coin stalls were, in effect, exchanges, as, in a market of the size of that of Cestias, in a city such as Ar, buyers and sellers from diverse cities might mingle and carry diverse currencies. As would be expected, the most common denominations in the market were those of Ar, her tarn disks, and her tarsks, of copper, and silver and gold. But coins of many cities circulated. Occasionally one encountered a disk from far-off Turia. Some prized coins were the silver tarns of Jad and, on the continent, the golden staters of Brundisium. Many of the transactions were conducted by means of scales. One often encounters, for example, clipped or shaved coins. The professional in shaving keeps the roundness of the subject coin as perfect as possible. Sometimes it is hard to tell, by eye, that a coin has been shaved. Clipped coins are easy to identify but then, of course, one must bring forth the scales, and, not unoften, as well, rough silver or gold, unminted, is presented, perhaps melted droplets, or pieces cut from silver or golden vessels and goblets, which items will also require judicious determinations. Negotiations and bargainings, over the scales, often grow heated. The advantage of courses, lies with the stallsman. Complaints may be lodged with either of the two praetors, who, interestingly, though magistrates of Ar, apparently strive to adjudicate matters to the best of their lights. Their efforts not only redound to the honor of Ar, but, too, one supposes, tend to preserve the value and integrity of the market, which, in the long view, is doubtless in the best interest of the city's commerce.
Conspirators of Gor     Book 31     Pages 273 - 274

A shaved coin is one from which a clip or filings of metal have been removed, which clips or filings, melted down in sufficient numbers, may be reformed into new coins, plates, or ingots. Copper, of course, and bronze, is seldom shaved. On the continent silver and gold coins are not unoften shaved. Accordingly, much transaction in various markets and "Streets of Coins," takes place with scales. Valuable coins, of course, might also be debased, but if the coins are minted, struck by hammers from the molds, that is commonly done by a municipal authority, publicized or not. Much depends on trust, of course. For example is it not surprising, if one stops to consider it, that something of value, say, a fukuro of rice, or a slave, might be exchanged for a tiny piece of metal, of whatever sort? I had heard of one city in which the state had issued small black leather packets sewn shut, which packets were alleged to contain a golden tarsk. It was a capital offense in that state not to accept, and value, such a packet as containing a golden tarsk, and it was a capital offense, as well, to open such a packet, to see if it actually contained such a tarsk. The problematicity involved here is obvious. The packet contains a gold tarsk or not. If it does, the packet is unnecessary. Just use the gold tarsk. And if the packet does not contain a gold tarsk, then one is defrauded. So the packet is either pointless or a lie. The ultimate success or failure of this inventive economic adventure was never determined, as the city was attacked by several neighboring municipalities, was burned to the ground, and had silt cast upon its ashes. Sometimes, of course, such schemes might be more successful, as when a paper currency might be used, which can then be multiplied and produced in any amount deemed useful by an appropriate, armed authority.
Rebels of Gor     Book 33     Pages 316 - 317


[61] "We are offering fifteen pieces of silver, fifteen solid, sound, unclipped silver tarsks," said the leader.
Dancer of Gor     Book 22     Page 382


[62] "One tarsk," said the man.
We looked at one another. There was some uneasy laughter. Then there was again silence.
"Forgive me, Master," then said the auctioneer. "Master came late to the bidding. We have already on the floor a bid of forty tarsks."
Procopius turned about, smiling.
"One silver tarsk," said the man.
Explorers of Gor     Book 13     Page 44

"I will get at least four tarsks for you," said the Lady Tima. I assumed she meant four tarsks of silver.
Fighting Slave of Gor     Book 14     Page 163

For that reason he paid fifteen tarsks for me, fifteen silver tarsks."
Kajira of Gor     Book 19     Page 444

"Two silver tarsks," he said, "and fifty copper tarsks, not tarsk bits, but tarsks, whole tarsks."
Dancer of Gor     Book 22     Page 151

Too, they had paid five tarsks for me, silver tarsks.
Dancer of Gor     Book 22     Page 413

"What did you bring?" I asked.
"A thousand pieces of gold," she said.
"There will be records," I said, "and they may be checked."
"Forty tarsks," she said.
"Surely not of silver," I said.
"Of copper," she said, angrily.
"Then you did not even bring a single silver tarsk," I said.
"No," she said, angrily.
Mariners of Gor     Book 30     Page 81


[63] "To her gold, no matter how luscious and exciting might prove to be the curves of your perfidious, despicable body, you can never be more than a meaningless tarsk-bit of shaved copper!"
Witness of Gor     Book 26     Page 523





   
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