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In Westeros there are three coins:

  • Copper Stars (The Seven-Pointed Star is the symbol of the Faith of the Seven.)
  • Silver Stags (The Stag is the sigil of house Baratheon.)
  • Gold Dragons (The Dragon is the sigil of house Targaryen.)

Was the Stag already on the silver coin before Robert became king?

If so, why? Was house Baratheon that important?

If not, what was on the silver coin during the reign of the Targaryen kings?

Why is the sigil of house Targaryen still on the gold coin after Robert took the crown?

Robert hates the Targaryens so much, even murdering innocent children is OK for him.

Keeping this in mind I find it especially strange, that he doesn't change the sigil on most valuable coin.

  • 2
    I'm guessing it's because they've minted millions of them. Recalling them would be a huge endeavour that would take decades. – Valorum Jan 19 '15 at 12:10
  • 5
    Pictures Tywin Lannister considering his 100s of thousands, or even millions, of Gold Dragons .. "And exactly how much will it cost us remint the entire currency of the seven kingdoms, your grace?" – Andrew Thompson Jan 19 '15 at 12:11
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    @AndrewThompson - Not to mention that vast amounts of the common coin aren't under the control of King's Landing, they're stored in the vaults of the various lords. – Valorum Jan 19 '15 at 12:12
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    and the risk of the people thinking that the new coin will have less bullion in it, decreasing its value and causing inflation. – SJuan76 Jan 19 '15 at 12:23
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    @SJuan76 Good point. I seem to recall one Caesar had the bright idea of mixing silver into what was supposed to be pure gold coin. To that point the currency had been used far and wide by traders who had never been to a Roman city nor intended to, because of its 'gold standard'. That confidence vanished when the diluting of the gold became known, and caused a massive downslide in the value of the coin. The value of a currency is 90% perception. – Andrew Thompson Jan 19 '15 at 12:53
7

Yes; the Silver Stag has been in circulation since before Robert's Rebellion.

Chronology

Robert's Rebellion (RR) also known as the "War of the Usurper" occurred at about 282 - 283 AC.

We see the Silver Stag featured in the Dunk and Egg Novellas (which take place roughly 89 years prior to RR in 209 AC):

The Hedge Knight
The cloth purse contained three silver stags, nineteen copper pennies
...
“Eight hundred stags, for I’m feeling kindly.”
-The Hedge Knight - A Tale of the Seven Kingdoms.

The Sworn Sword
I could pay the man a silver stag, and three to the woman for the insult.
...
“One silver stag. And three for you, m’lady.”
-The Sworn Sword - A Tale of the Seven Kingdoms.

The Mystery Knight
"We have no coin for beds."
"We have twenty-two pennies, three stars, one stag, and that old chipped garnet, ser."
...
He gestured at the piles of silver stags and golden dragons on the table.
...
He picked up a silver stag and set it to spinning with a flick of his long fingers.
-The Mystery Knight - A Tale of the Seven Kingdoms.

Too Much Work, too Little Time

If Robert was to change the sigil on the golden dragons, he would have twice the work ahead of him. If he were to change the Dragon to a stag then he would have to also change the stag to something else. Otherwise he would have to change the dragon to something else:

  • Direwolf?
  • Rose?
  • Lion?

All of which represent some other house, so why not leave dragons which are thought to be the most fearsome, powerful and majestic creatures to represent the highest value coin?

You are also basing your premise on the fact that Bobby hated Targaryens when the only evidence is that he hated Rhaegar for "kidnapping" Lyanna.

Ah, but coins do change

You should bear in mind also that the designs of coins in Westeros do actually change; mainly on the "other side" - the "head side" - of the coin. The change happens much the same way in real life to signify the change in Monarch. But the original coins remain in circulation until naturally phased out.

In The Mystery Knight we see

Dunk speaking to Uthor "The Snail" Underleaf whilst The Snail counts his winnings from the Whitewalls Tourney. They discuss a certain "King" on one of the gold dragon coins and realise that it is the "wrong" king. Here's how Dunk outlines the previous kings on the dragons:

Frowning, he hefted the coin in his palm, examined both sides, tasted it. "Gold, not shaved or clipped. The weight feels right. I'd have taken it too, m'lord. What's wrong with it?"
"The king."
Dunk took a closer look. The face on the coin was young, clean-shaved, handsome. King Aerys was bearded on his coins, the same as old King Aegon. King Daeron, who'd come between them, had been clean-shaved, but this wasn't him. The coin did not appear worn enough to be from before Aegon the Unworthy. Dunk scowled at the word beneath the head. Six letters. They looked the same as he had seen on other dragons. DAERON, the letters read, but Dunk knew the face of Daeron the Good, and this wasn't him. When he looked again, he saw that something odd about the shape of the fourth letter, it wasn't ... "Daemon," he blurted out. "It says Daemon. There never was any King Daemon, though, only--"
"--the Pretender. Daemon Blackfyre struck his own coinage during his rebellion."
-The Mystery Knight - A Tale of the Seven Kingdoms.

You can check out the known variations in the designs of the coinage here:

Show me the Money

Some examples of different "Kings" on the head-side of the coins: Aerys II Silver Stag
Original here.

Aegon I Silver Stag
Original here.

Other Things of Note

There are two ages of Westerosi coinage: pre and post Conquest.

The current coinage system used is from the post-conquest era. There have been known to have been at least one other type of coinage used in the pre-conquest era:

There are older coins, still in use from before the War of Conquest. In A Feast for Crows we learn of gold coins of the Kingdom of the Reach, which were known as 'hands', they feature the hand-shaped sigil of House Gardener on one side and the face of a king on the other, with each coin roughly half the value of a golden dragon.
-http://awoiaf.westeros.org/index.php/Currency#cite_note-Raffc7.7B.7B.7B3.7D.7D.7D-2.

And Finally, So Spake Martin

Yes indeed. And much more medieval. It occurs to me too that Westerosi coinage is probably more complex than actual British medieval coinage, since the Seven Kingdoms were actually seven kingdoms once... and presumably each king minted his own coins. So expect to see references to halfpennies, threepennies, stars, and groats popping up in future books.
-http://www.westeros.org/Citadel/SSM/Entry/1243/.

  • Great answer. Now I don't know which answer I should accept, as both yours and CyanAngels are good answers covering different parts of my question. But about Robert only hates Rheagar: In my opinion King Bob hates (or fears) all Targaryens. It is shown in the book when Robert argues with Ned about sending assassins after Dany and by the fact, that he had no problem with Rheagars children brutally killed during the sack of Kingslanding. – raznagul Jan 21 '15 at 9:36
  • @raznagul Funnily enough I've had the same problem before (we all do at some point). The meta-consensus is that you should do whatever you feel is correct. Remember that if some of the answers don't satisfy your criteria, you can ask for clarification, or edit your question to make it more clear :) – Möoz Jan 21 '15 at 20:46
  • @raznagul Robert was a very confused man, and also quick to anger as well as apathy. He often says things like "damned the Targaryens" or "damn the Lannisters to seven hells" or "damn you Ned"; but these don't necessarily mean that he hates any of them. In fact, after the Tourney at Harrenhal Robert promised King Aerys that he would find the KotKL. Note that this was right before the Rhaegar/Lyanna incident, so Bob was very loyal to Aerys up to that point. – Möoz Jan 21 '15 at 20:55
  • @raznagul Here's some dialogue between Ned and Robert: "Robert, I ask you, what did we rise against Aerys Targaryen for, if not to put an end to the murder of children?” “To put an end to Targaryens!” the king growled. “Your Grace, I never knew you to fear **Rhaegar**.”. Here Robert brings up the Targaryens, but Ned corrects him and points out that it's Rhaegar who's the problem here. There were also some statements along the lines of Rhaegar's children being casualties of war (which probably helped Robert sleep at night). – Möoz Jan 21 '15 at 21:36
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House Baratheon has strong historic ties to the Targaryen Dynasty. Orys Baratheon, the house founder was a general in the army of King Aegon I Targaryen, the Conqueror and is rumoured to be his bastard brother. During the Conquest, Orys defeated the Last Stormking and for his contributions to Aegon's Conquest, Orys was made the first Hand of the King and granted rule over the Stormlands, making the Baratheons one of the most powerful houses at the time.

Up until recent events, the Baratheon house has been a strong ally of the crown, remaining loyal during The Faith Militant uprising and The Blackfyre Rebellion.

They have strong marriage connections as well, most recently, King Robert's grandmother was a Targaryen.

The reason they feature on the second most valuable coin is also one of the reasons Robert was made King over Ned. They have the best claim, after the Targaryens, to the throne.

Not only that, but as the first Hand of the King, the Baratheons would be in a perfect position to put themselves on the coinage, with the blessing of a King who once described Orys as "My shield, my stalwart, my strong right hand"

  • pretty much what I was going to write, Also because of who Robert's grandmother is it also makes him Egg's great grandson who is from the hedge knight. – Iankill Jan 19 '15 at 12:36
  • I is true that the Baratheons always had strong ties to the Targaryen family. But there are other old houses with strong ties as well (like house Velaryon). Why is the sigil of the Baratheons on the silver coin, and not the sigil of an other house? – raznagul Jan 19 '15 at 12:51
  • Because they are the most powerful and have the strongest ties? All the other families that came with that Targaryen's took only minor lands, the Baratheon's took all of the Stormlands – CyanAngel Jan 19 '15 at 13:05
  • @raznagul I've added some more body to my answer that my clarify why the Baratheons were in a place to install themselves, or be installed by the king, over the other minor lords that served Aegon I – CyanAngel Jan 19 '15 at 13:21
  • It sounds reasonable. Although I've hoped for a reference for the books or an interview. I give other some time to come up with a reverence before I accept your answer. – raznagul Jan 20 '15 at 8:59

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