Medieval Money and Coinage

In medieval times, physical money was not flowing around in all directions. Most peasants would barter. They would bring a chicken to the carpenter and get a table in return. They would work X days a year on their Lord's land as their payment to him.

Rather than having "shops", most craftsmen would have the front of their home set up with the items they'd made. The potter would have their pottery in their front living room. Other villagers would come to look at their wares and arrange a trade to get what they wanted. They didn't need signs - everyone knew everyone else in the village. It's like knowing that your good friend makes wine and asking them for a bottle or two of their red, offering to give them some of your tomatoes in thanks.

The few times most medieval folk would use coins would be on special market days. On certain days a market would open up in specific towns, and all the vendors would go there to set up. The locals would all go to the market in order to buy those specialized goods. They'd also use coin to pay for ale at the ale house.

All money was in coin form, with kings having gold coins and peasants usually only seeing the cheap bronze coins. Silver coins came in the middle.

Most peasants would use the tiny (dime sized) denarius, also called a penny or pfennig. This was made of silver. They could save up to get a schilling - worth 12 pennies. That would be about what we'd call a dime. Then there was a pound, which was worth 20 schillings, so roughly equivalent to a dollar.

Here are some prices to consider, all in pennies for comparison purposes:
war horse - 600 pennies
cow - 108 pennies
sheep - 12 pennies
2 chickens - 1 penny

Rent a cottage for a year - 60 pennies

boots - 6 pennies
cheap sword - 6 pennies
fancy tunic - 36 pennies

gallon of ale - 1 penny
gallon of good wine - 8 pennies

Medieval Eating
Medieval Style of Eating
Medieval Food
Medieval Beverages
Medieval Cutlery

Medieval Romance Basics
Medieval Romance for Villagers
Medieval Romance for Nobles
Medieval Romance for Men
Medieval Romance for Women

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