So I assume the Targaryens created the golden dragons when they united the seven kingdoms. I assume it's named after their sigil, and the silver stags after house Baratheon.

With Robert Baratheon hating the Targaryens so much, why didn't he change the currency? He had a relatively peaceful reign so he could focus on smaller matters like this.

Could the money the Iron Throne owes the Iron Bank be a deciding factor?


3 Answers 3


We know from A Feast of Crows that newly minted silver coins ("Stags") do have Robert's face on the reverse.

"King Robert." She put a silver stag on the barrel between them. Robert's head was on one side, the stag on the other.

It seems likely that newly minted gold Dragons would also have Robert's face on them.

As to the question of replacing the front piece, that's something that would require a) recalling all of the existing Dragons and re-minting them at vast cost and b) having "Stags" stand for both the gold and silver currency, confusing the general populace and potentially leading to ill-feeling and suggestions of counterfeiting/watering the currency.

You may wish to note that according to The Hedge Knight (set circa 90 years prior to Robert taking the throne) they've been using this system of coinage (Dragons/Stags/Stars) for at least a hundred years. Changing it in a single decade is a very big ask.

He had piled the old man’s things under an oak. The cloth purse contained three silver stags, nineteen copper pennies, and a chipped garnet;

Since Robert's main aim is spending the stuff faster than he can borrow it, it's probably just down to him not caring and not wanting the extra expense of a recall.

  • 2
    I thought you ignored this tag :) May 6, 2017 at 15:01
  • 1
    The difference is that the stag is the sigil of Robert's house and the dragon is the sigil of the previous royal house which he annihilated. So I don't think we can assume the dragons have his face on them just because the stags do. (The second half of your answer makes a good point though, and is more or less what I thought when I saw this question.)
    – Rand al'Thor
    May 6, 2017 at 15:02
  • @Gallifreyan - I do normally.
    – Valorum
    May 6, 2017 at 16:37
  • I don't think that recalling coins would work. The price of a coin is derived from its gold/silver contents. The king cannot force people to give him the old coins because he cannot make them not valid. Also, even after changing the image on them, people would still keep calling them dragons, stags, stars... Just consider how many currencies have the name coming from medieval times, e.g. "crowns" or named after medieval units of weights "pound", "mark", "peseta", "penny".
    – Sulthan
    May 7, 2017 at 7:33
  • @Sulthan - And while that's true, the King must have a pretty good idea of the net assets of each of his nobles. A recall would be as simple as telling them to bring x coins each year to the mint for re-calibration.
    – Valorum
    May 7, 2017 at 7:39

This is going to get complicated, but that's the nature of A Song of Ice and Fire. It goes without saying that this will contain spoilers, I will do my best to mask them appropriately.

Robert did not hate Targaryens

Not in the classic sense of "they must all die." His rebellion was precipitated by the actions of two specific Targaryens, namely Rhaegar and his Father Aerys II.

Specifically, Rhaegar ran off with Lyanna Stark, sister of Ned and Brandon Stark and wife-to-be of Robert. Brandon went to Kings Landing to get his sister back and was taken prisoner by Aerys. When Rickard Stark was summoned to Kings Landing to ransom his son, both father and son were brutally murdered by the king. At that time, Aerys demanded that Robert and Ned be handed over and Jon Arryn of the Vale, who was fostering the men at the time, raised his banners in revolt.

What does that have to do with Robert not hating Targaryans?


In A Clash of Kings and A World of Ice and Fire, it is stated that Robert's Grandmother was Rhaelle Targaryen (this is important and I'm slowly getting to the point).

Why does that Matter and weren't we talking about money?

I'm getting there. It matters because, while anyone (Jaime Lannister, Ned Stark etc.) COULD have taken the Iron Throne, any claim would have to be legitimized. Robert's claim was easy to legitimize because

Rhaelle was the daughter of Aegon V which made Robert a direct descendant of a Targaryen king and gave him a blood claim to the Iron Throne-as long as no other children of Aerys II lived.

So his claim was only valid as long as he was the most eligible member of the family. Viserys and Daenerys both had a stronger birth claim which is why Robert wanted them dead.

For the love of all that is holy, I asked about coins!

I told you I was getting there. Robert kept the currency of the Targaryen dynasty intact because he was sort of a member of it. He was not implementing a new system, he was continuing the old one under new management.

This was important because many of the Houses of Westeros supported Aerys and his children. Replacing every Dragon with a Stag would be pouring salt into a fresh wound when he needed the support of the Great Houses to cement his rule.

Furthermore, the only banks mentioned in the series (book or TV show) are in Essos. The Westerosi seem to like to hold on to their cash which means replacing coins would require someone to go house to house, village to village, kingdom to kingdom from Dorne to The Wall and swap out EVERY gold coin in seven kingdoms.

At the end of the day, gold is gold and it would have been politically and logistically difficult to change out Dragons for Stags.

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    "Robert did not hate Targaryens" that's completely false. Look up the scene where he discusses sending an assassin after Daenerys.
    – user1807
    May 6, 2017 at 23:11
  • 1
    @Hamlet You should probably post a link to the scene in question. I just rewatched several and the closest it got to indicating Robert hates Targaryens was while discussing Daenerys and Viserys. He talks about what their father and brother did during the war and says he'll kill every Targaryen he can get his hands on (presumably excluding himself, Renly and Stannis-not to mention his children who all have Targaryen blood). The scene discusses a threat to his rule not wiping out an entire bloodline out of hatred. As my answer says, he was angry about Rhaegar and Aerys II.
    – geewhiz
    May 7, 2017 at 14:51
  • The full quote is "I will kill every Targaryen I can get my hands on, until they are as dead as their dragons, and then I will piss on their graves." seems pretty hateful of the whole family.
    – Skooba
    Feb 8, 2018 at 19:22
  • Also: Ned did not feign surprise; Robert's hatred of the Targaryens was a madness in him. He remembered the angry words they had exchanged when Tywin Lannister had presented Robert with the corpses of Rhaegar's wife and children as a token of fealty. Ned had named that murder; Robert called it war. When he had protested that the young prince and princess were no more than babes, his new-made king had replied, "I see no babes. Only dragonspawn." Not even Jon Arryn had been able to calm that storm.
    – Skooba
    Feb 8, 2018 at 19:23
  • Also Also: "And how long will this one remain an innocent?" Robert's mouth grew hard. "This child will soon enough spread her legs and start breeding more dragonspawn to plague me."
    – Skooba
    Feb 8, 2018 at 19:24

Robert was taking over an already-established kingdom with its own system in place, while the Targaryens were creating their own from scratch.

Back when the Targaryens arrived, it would have been much easier to roll out an entirely new currency to replace whatever they had before. (In fact, did the individual kingdoms even have money before?) And even if they did, presumably they wouldn't all seven have used the same currency. Again, it's quite natural to create a new monetary system to replace and unify seven old ones, rather than letting one of those seven systems subsume the others. Some sort of reorganisation was required anyway, so why not create your own currency while you're at it?

But in the intervening centuries, society moved on and became more complex, including in its monetary system. I very much doubt there was such a thing as a "master of coin" before the Targaryens, and perhaps not even a bank. Plus, the seven kingdoms were already unified, so there was no need to rejig the monetary system except for symbolism. Replacing gold dragons by (say) gold stags at every layer of society would be a massive undertaking, and not one likely to be accomplished in the short years since Robert's Rebellion.

  • 1
    One of the things that happens in the book is that Qyburn finds a coin dating from House Gardener after the death of Tywin Lannister. Lady Taena Merryweather also reveals to Cersei (during pillow talk I believe) that Olenna has a barrel of old gold coins from the Reach to pay tradespeople with, since they're half the weight of Dragons. Can't dig the relevant chapters atm, but that would indicate at least the Reach had currency.
    – DariM
    May 7, 2017 at 21:58

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