Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Gold Coin sizes

How big is my gold coin?

It's a question that dates back pretty far in gaming, not the least of which is because D&D came along with 10 gold coins to the pound. A nice, heft, 1.6 oz hunk of gold that you expected to find, and dispose of, in the thousands.

But how big are they?

There was an article in Dragon Magazine, issue #80, which took a look at it.

"How Many Coins in My Coffer?" by David F. Godwin

In that article, the author came up with this for AD&D gold coins:

Weight: 0.1 lb. = 1.6 ounces = 45.36 grams
Diameter: 1 1/2" = 3.81 cm
Thickness: 0.1" = 0.254 cm = 2.54 mm
Volume: 0.177 cubic inch = 2.9 cc
Specific gravity: 15.66

I also recently stumbled across this chart:

Gold Coin Size Chart

I'm not sure how accurate it is for real-world use, but it could be useful for gaming. There are a lot of coin sizes each with gold purity, weight in ounces and grams, diameter, and thickness. It's probably not too hard to find a coin of the same size, and something of the same weight, for a chance to see and feel the size of the coins in your game.

Felltower's gold coins are 250/pound, which makes them fairly small - 0.064 ounces, and probably ~14mm diameter and 1.4mm thick. See, I probably should have gone for 50/pound like I've thought in retrospect.


  1. 1. AD&D 2e went 50 gp/pound.
    2. There was another really good article about this in issue 167 of Dragon, "Just Give Me Money!" by Peter Trueman, p. 62.

  2. One thing I've done more and more is make hoards out of nonstandard stuff. That ancient dragon has a lot of ancient coins, gewgaws, and items. (100,000 adulterated falushin shekels, a Lorica +2 and a flaming khopesh!) The forgotten fane is full of amazing art about a deity that is so outlawed that you are legally required to destroy it. Those caravan raiders have a hoard of heavy trade goods. ($70,000 worth of cheese!)

    This is evocative, fun, and leads to interesting logistics. (Sir, the bearers have eaten 40% of the cheese and we're being followed by every giant rat in the tri-Duchy area!)

    Then I abstract the infuriating minutia of categorizing and selling it to a few merchant and connoisseur (etc.) rolls, because very few folks want to play Dungeon Pawn Stars.

    1. I do similar things, too, but I still like to know how big the coins are.

  3. Adventurer Conqueror King had a similar suggestion to replace blocks of coinage with goods and other valuables.

  4. There's a lot of historical gold coin out there that seems to come in at the 4-8 grams per coin range. That is... about 55 to 115 per pound.

    1. That's a size I think would work better for me, given my experience so far with smaller coins.

  5. I can't believe I didn't see this post when it first went up, but I'd be remiss if I didn't point out that DFT1 addresses the "how big are coins" question in some detail, with tables, formulae, and SMs.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...