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Q: Historical currency exchange rate data back to antiquity ( No Answer,   1 Comment )
Subject: Historical currency exchange rate data back to antiquity
Category: Business and Money > Economics
Asked by: ckent-ga
List Price: $55.00
Posted: 30 Nov 2006 00:44 PST
Expires: 30 Dec 2006 00:44 PST
Question ID: 786911
What are the historical currency exchange rates of the US Dollar, UK
Pound, and other world-leading currencies going back to antiquity?  I
want to go back at least 2,000 years, so I think I want whatever were
the largest civilisations' currencies in the middle ages, dark ages,
Roman empire, and ancient Greece.  I don't know if it's possible to go
back as far as Sumeria.  Ancient eastern civilisations would be nice
but they are not the priority as I would expect the links to drift
away, rather than converge into the past.

I am aware of the existence of fixed exchange rates that existed
before they were floated.  It is the data prior to this (including
their occasional adjustments) which has been hard for me to find.

The answers can come in a table of numbers, or more likely a bunch of
tables.  I don't need graphs.  At least two currencies per table, and
at least one table per historic period.

An acceptable answer will have some kind of continuity through history
(assuming this is possible), linking the Euro to the Romans.  Of
course I expect to see currencies begin and end through history, such
as the two or three German ones last century.

An acceptable answer will contain the exchange rate during updates to
currencies when governments changed them.  This would include
decimilization, but also probably invasions and independence.

The maximum detail I need is one data point per year (I don't know the
economic convention for settling on a yearly value ... January 1st? 
Averaging?)  Naturally, the further back you go, the less frequent the
data will be.  Because of fixed exchange rates before recent times, I
hope this isn't a problem anyway.

Finally is the question of exactly which currencies to include.  I am
not sure, and I am also not sure if this question is worth a higher
price:  Please tell me if there is more information I should pay more
for.  The background expectation is to see those currencies that are
reported regularly in the news, such as US, UK, Euro and Japan.  So
five at any one time is probably enough.

I will give a $10 tip if you can include all Australian currency
(dollar, pound, anything earlier which is colony-based) back to 1788.

I will probably tip if there is a chunk of tangential but interesting
related information provided that didn't occur to me to ask for.

Please be aware that I am asking four other follow-up questions to do
with the historical price of gold and other items.

Clarification of Question by ckent-ga on 02 Dec 2006 05:00 PST
By second-guessing all the clarifications, this looks too complicated.
Once per century will be fine.

All I basically want to get is:

"In the 19th century  cost $$$$$ ..."
"In the 18th century ????? cost  ..."
"In the 17th century ????? cost  ..."
In fact if there's no two notable currencies in a period, or even one,
then that's all I need to know.

That's it.

Request for Question Clarification by rainbow-ga on 05 Dec 2006 04:53 PST
Hi ckent,

Please take a look at the following calculators and let me know if
this suffices as an answer to your question:

Find the exchange rate between the the United States dollar and the
British pound, for any year between 1791 and 2004

Select a country to find the exchange rate for any year from 1913 -
1999 between that country's currency and the United States Dollar

This website may also interest you:

Looking forward to your clarification.

Best regards,

Clarification of Question by ckent-ga on 05 Dec 2006 07:10 PST

The first two links are similar to information I found a few years
ago.  I have always intended to ask on Google Answers to fill in the
hazy past into medieval and earlier times.  I was hoping a GA
researcher would be familiar with the transition of post-Roman London
and the rise of its first native currency.

The third link, however, is highly interesting.  It contains great
gaps that I'm seeking to fill but I may have to live with that,
presuming this is the true extent of historical knowledge on the
internet.  I can probably create the graphs I want, with huge missing
sections for certain centuries and a dotted line to make a wild-flung

I've seen GA researches dig up astonishing facts before, so I was
hoping an expert in the Dark Ages and its economy would pop up
somewhere!  :-)

What I'm prepared to pay for is someone to join together all the
separate studies (which deal with different historical eras, and each
with their own unique purpose) into one or more continuous data


Clarification of Question by ckent-ga on 05 Dec 2006 07:26 PST
Following some links further, it seems that Figure 1.1, in chapter 1,
of Gregory Clark's "Brief Economic History of the World" seems to
answer a =lot= of what I'm after -- in all of my questions.

I might buy the book, contact the author, and go from there ... if
nothing else turns up.

Request for Question Clarification by rainbow-ga on 05 Dec 2006 09:47 PST
After additional research I was unable to locate anything else. Anyway
I'm glad the information I did provide is enough to start you off.

Best regards,

Clarification of Question by ckent-ga on 07 Dec 2006 02:02 PST
I found a table at:

which contains eight (!) currencies against the Florentine Florin for
the years 1252, 1300, 1350, 1400, 1450 and 1500.

It also tells me that the 'solidius' was the international currency of
choice from the time of Emperor Constantine until 1203, even being
called "the Dollar of the Middle Ages", which is perfect info for the
answer I need.

If I keep digging, I may be able to bridge this to the British Pound
Sterling, which began its life in the 1200s -- though the Florentine
looks like the centre of attention until the rise of the British
Empire, and so on to the US becoming today's reserve currency and the
Euro unifying past empires.

There is no answer at this time.

Subject: Re: Historical currency exchange rate data back to antiquity
From: keystroke-ga on 07 Dec 2006 21:32 PST
Hello ckent--

If you've enjoyed GA and its researchers in the past, you may want to
join the GA Alumni group:

Look forward to seeing you there!


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