Name change

A suggestion - consider giving this page a slight rewrite and moving it to just "Latinum", then have "Gold pressed latinum" redirect there as well. Alex Peckover 08:38, Jul 21, 2004 (CEST)

Gold Worthless?

Did they actually say that Gold is worthless to the Ferengi? If so that's an error, given in the ep "The Last Outpost" the Ferengi called it valuable. I'd like to know the exact line. --TOSrules 23:03, Nov 18, 2004 (CET)

The most significant statement is from "Who Mourns for Morn?", in which Quark explicitly states that gold is the worthless part of gold-pressed latinum (and at the end of the episode he's grossly disappointed when a shipment of bricks turns out to be just gold) I think it's reasonable to assume that in previous episodes when the Ferengi mention "gold" ("The Last Outpost", "Captain's Holiday") they're actually just abbreviating for gold-pressed latinum. -- EtaPiscium 00:05, 19 Nov 2004 (CET)

I believe the line was, "And they adorn themselves with gold, a waste of the valuable metal". If gold was valueless in "the Last Outpost" they would have no reason to call it Valuable. Clearly Gold is valuable without the Latinum. --TOSrules 00:47, Nov 19, 2004 (CET)

"Who Mourns for Morn" makes it absolutely clear that gold by itself is worthless. In "The Last Outpost", the Ferengi were referring to a combadge, which is composed of a composite that includes gold in it (see "Time's Arrow"). Since the Ferengi are familiar with advanced technology, it is likely they were just saying "gold" as an abbreviation for the alloy. This is supported by the fact that Riker says "it is gold" in response, when he certainly knows that combadge casings are composed of more than just gold. -- EtaPiscium 00:53, 19 Nov 2004 (CET)

"The Last Outpost" makes it clear gold is valuable, and "Whom Mourns for Morn" Makes it clear gold is not valuable. But their admiration of gold when they first find it out, and the line I quoted clearly say that. He said that wearing gold is a waste of the valuable metal. Your explanation only works if you do not read it with the line. He made NO reference to the other metals. If I thought it was strange for a valuable Diamond to be in a gold ring would I say, "You wear gold, that is a valuable waste of the metal" (or rock). It's as clear as night and day. --TOSrules 02:29, Nov 19, 2004 (CET)

What I'm saying is that it IS possible to interpret the line in "The Last Outpost" to mean that gold is not valuable, where it is NOT possible to interpret the events in "Who Mourns for Morn?" to mean that gold is valuable. Their "admiration" for the supposed gold in the combadge would be exactly the same as if the combadge was made of gold-pressed latinum. As for the "waste of the valuable metal", for all we know latinum is a metal (it certainly looks metallic) and that's what they're referring to, or maybe they mean that it's pointless to use gold in combadges when it's better used to suspend latinum with. The point is that the line CAN be interpreted differently, and so there is no need to think that it represents a contradiction. -- EtaPiscium 03:44, 19 Nov 2004 (CET)

I understand what you are trying to do. Allot of errors can be worked out if you make it out as vague. But there is no mention of Latmum or the other metals in the com badge. You have to take the sentence as a whole, wearing gold is a waist of the valuable metal. There is only one way to read that sentence, (Cap Mike do you agree?). Your explanation has little canon evidence to it, only data's mention of the make up of the com badge which does not apply because they make no note to them.

I'm sorry, but Gold is Valuable in TNG, and valueless in DS9. Ex. (Steal ring with gold in it), They adorn themselves with Steal, a waste of the valuable metal. Even if we had steal pressed gold, that still does not work, because steal would have NOTHING to do with the issue. I think we need others on MA to give there opinion on the issue. --TOSrules 04:31, Nov 19, 2004 (CET)

Let me repeat my first response: the most likely interpretation is that "gold" is a contraction for "gold-pressed latinum", because that's the valuable form, and that's the form it almost always appears in. Maybe the Ferengi didn't know that the combadge wasn't made of gold-pressed latinum, but I think there is definitely room for interpretation. There is evidence that latinum has been used as a currency for centuries (see "Acquisition"), not to mention that it doesn't even make sense for gold to be valuable in an era with replication technology. Also note that in all episodes of TNG where gold is mentioned, Picard never mentions the option of replicating it even when it would've given him an advantage. This either means that for some bizarre reason Federation replicators can't make gold when they can make virtually every other element, or that when the Ferengi say "gold" they mean something else. -- EtaPiscium 04:42, 19 Nov 2004 (CET)
More canon evidence that "gold" is a contraction for "gold-pressed latinum": In the episode "Acquisition", the Ferengi aboard the ship use "gold" and "latinum" interchangeably throughout. When they're looking for Archer's "vault", they say both lines like "that's where you (Archer) keep your latinum, hmm?" and "I plan to count every bar of that gold myself." Obviously they're referring to gold-pressed latinum when they say either "gold" or "latinum". -- EtaPiscium 05:02, 19 Nov 2004 (CET)
At the core of your argument is that the word gold is a contraction for Gold Pressed Latinum, which only works if they think there is Latinum inside the Communicator. But if this was the case, they would have favored Latinum over gold in the final sentence, "The adorn themselves with Latinum, a waist of the valuable metal.". For sake of argument if we had Steal Pressed Latinum today and you were to say that sentence, "And they adorn themselves with steel, a waste of the valuable metal", it still does not work. You'd name the valuable part, not the valueless part.
Why would they have favored using "they adorn themselves with latinum" over "they adorn themselves with gold" if both "gold" and "latinum" are acceptable contractions for "gold-pressed latinum"? I've already shown an example where the Ferengi use both contractions equally to refer to the same thing. Saying that "you'd name the valuable part, not the valueless part" is a value judgment on their language, which is contradicted by the onscreen evidence anyway. -- EtaPiscium 05:16, 19 Nov 2004 (CET)

I've accepted the contraction theory, but think about it, "they adorn themselves with steal, a waste of the valuable metal". Your explanation strains believability, it is a clear cut ERROR. --TOSrules 05:23, Nov 19, 2004 (CET)

A+. This would make a good footnote. -- Captain Mike K. Bartel 03:52, 19 Nov 2004 (CET)
We've already noted as such, it is an error. But the explanation, and the footnote, will portray that. I don't see what else you are trying to argue. -- Captain Mike K. Bartel 06:26, 19 Nov 2004 (CET)

I meant to direct that to Eta, he still believes that it is not truly an error. --TOSrules 06:35, Nov 19, 2004 (CET)

I have inferred from the series looking back that gold is truly worthless, a replicator can recreate it since federation combadges have been said to be replicatable. Gold cannot be made into an alloy it is physically impossible, gold is is a type of "noble" element. except in the case of Gold the outer electron shell is completely empty. It cannot combine with other elements. in other words no Alloys. Gold in electronics provides great conductability hence why the federation or rather any race would use it in their technology. Gold Pressed Latinum: the only reason its gold pressed as it's been said is for ease of trade, latinum itself is liquid. i surmise its pressed with gold is because gold will not combine with other elements. btw i've been doing some math calculations. I have suggested that a bricks worth.
200,000 slips = 2,000 strips = 100 bars = 1 Brick. My reasoning is that when you calculate 2,000 slips, 20 strips, 1 bar. its Odd number, Odd number, Even number 0 is considerd a even number. since nothing can be split evenly so when you keep adding zeros, until you get another ODD ODD Even, which is my previous figure. Its just a suggestion but monetary systems usually have a decernable pattern. Just seeing what other people think --AgentExeider 12:56, May 2, 2006 (CST)
Hate injecting real science into this conversation, but gold readily alloys with just about any metal, and I doubt it behaves differently in the Star Trek universe. In fact, most gold in jewelery is in alloy. 14k gold, for example, is 58.3% gold and the rest is usually copper, silver and zinc. It is true, however, that gold won't tarnish under natural conditions. Gold is indeed one of the least reactive metals, but it will form compounds, including compounds with oxygen under the right conditions. All that said, since latinum is a liquid, if it has metallic properties, perhaps gold pressed latinum is actually an amalgam that is pressed into shape before it hardens, much like a dental amalgam? If this would be the case, I can picture a very wealthy Ferengi using latinum dental amalgams! --Anonymous 17:50, Mar 16, 2007 (PDT)
A little late in the conversation but could it be possible that after the Ferengi had several run-ins with the Federation they finally acquired the replication technology that made gold worthless...within the span of a couple years? I don't think it's out of the realm of possibility. It's a fundamental shift but I'm sure it's one that the Ferengi could easily make since they're all about profit and when your money is worthless you find another source pretty quick. Latinum could have been known about for a long while but since it was a liquid it was deemed worthless, except maybe as a lubricant as it flowed really well in that glass Morn had put some in, until it's anti-replication were realized and...poof...instant currency...it could have changed the Ferengi culture and caused a lot of changes in wealth and power. Anyway, just lots of speculation. --Morder 09:36, 7 May 2008 (UTC)
Looks like I should have read the Gold article first (Stealth Edit: You're darn fast cleanse) --Morder 09:51, 7 May 2008 (UTC)
Well, your comment did lead me to read the Gold article (and thus format it), but I didn't add the note, if that's what you're suggesting. :-) The note's actually been there since 2005.– Cleanse 10:04, 7 May 2008 (UTC)
Yeah, I see that now. The Difference Engine showed it to me but marked it as new since you added stuff in between. --Morder 16:35, 7 May 2008 (UTC)

This may be late on the topic but I always understood the whole quote differently. For me at least, when Quark goes like, "it's just worthless gold", crying, it's clearly just disappointment. Like if someone gives you a stack of money, with $100 bills on the sides. You separate them to find all the bills inside the huge stack are $1 bills and you'd be like, "Damn! They're one dollar bills!". Or if you find a map that leads to a chest full of diamonds, pure cut diamonds. You open it and there's gold and you think, "Crap! It's gold, stupid... worthless... gold!". Like you're mad. It doesn't mean gold or $1 bills are worthless, just that by comparison they're like nothing. To a Ferengi everything is worth something. Gold, Silver, stones, anything that you might make a profit off of. It's just that Latinum is far more rare than anything else. When Ferengi ignore gold and only mention latinum, it's just another way of them trying to look like they don't even bother with the small stuff. If they could make a profit off dirt, even that would be valuable to them at that moment. Just think of it this way. If gold really meant nothing to them, why would they make GOLD-pressed latinum? – Saphsaph 07:34, 29 October 2008 (UTC)

Removed from article

I've removed this speculation on conversion to modern-day currency:

Conversion to modern currency

How to judge the exchange rate 
Probably the best item to use if you want to try and get a currency conversion for latinum is the 189 bars for 2,000 tons of Kohlanese barley. A bulk commodity is always easiest to use for this. While we don't know what Kohlanese barley is, it's probably not too off kilter to equate it to today's barley. Right now (July 2004), a ton of malting-grade barley is sitting around the $150 USD mark. That would make 1 bar = $1587 USD. If you were to think that freight costs were included in that 189 bar for 2000 ton quote, then it's perfectly reasonable to think around the $2000 USD per bar. This makes a very easy conversion:
  • 1 slip = $1 USD
  • 1 strip = $100 USD
  • 1 bar = $2,000 USD
  • 1 brick = $40,000 USD (not verified)

Exchange rate applied to canon references: This means that other items above cost as follows:

$10 USD for a case of root beer 
Reasonable especially for no-name or bulk
$500 USD for a military uniform 
About the price of a mid-range suit.
$1700 USD for a tailored dress 
Any woman will tell you that you can pay a hell of a lot more for a nice dress
$10,000 USD for a parcel of land on Bajor 
Depending on the size and location, this is reasonable - many city house lots are in this price range.
$10,000 USD for Nog's life savings 
A fairly decent amount for someone of Nog's age
$1.2mil USD for Quark's life savings 
Again, for the life's savings (probably meant to mean as ready-cash) of someone like Quark, this isn't unreasonable.
$10mil USD for Quark's bar 
A profitable bar could be worth that much today.
$40mil USD for the Lissepian Lottery 
Lotteries today range in the 1mil to 100mil range.
I totally agree. I've been using 1 slip = $1 USD, 1 strip = $100 USD and 1 bar = $2,000 USD, as my standard as well. It makes sense for most things, especially if we give some leeway for the alien markets. I especially like Quark selling a sick Changeling to Odo for just 8 bucks. I could see it costing $7 to ride the elevator at the Tower of Commerce. It's triple that at the Eiffel Tower. $50 a spin at the dabo wheel (1 strip/2) seems reasonable at Quarks. $1,000-$2,000 for a holosuite program. $100,000 to get Ishka back. $1 million for Quark's remains, quickly sold. All very reasonable.--Brumagnus 18:08, May 21, 2010 (UTC)

Effect of technology on prices

This is a good guide, but remember, as technology increases, prices skew. Natural resources, genuine food items, and labour-intensive or crafted articles become relatively more expensive, while manufactured goods or highly automated processes become relatively less. So, while a high-end SUV might cost $50,000 USD now, in 400 years when much of the stuff in a personal shuttle is replicated, you might pay a lot less than 25 bars for it.

Not to mention with how much the US$ is currently jumping around by, all the fictional currency exchange rates are probably gonna go off-kilter.

20 bars to the brick - says who?

The page claims that "One brick equals 20 bars". It doesn't reference the claim, and I can't find it in any episode - I did a search of all the scripts for the word "brick", and not one of them mentions an exchange rate. Is this just some wild guess or is it an established fact? -- <unsigned>

  • Yeah, I agree, I can't seem to find that anywhere either. --Alan del Beccio 16:56, 27 Sep 2005 (UTC)

Okay, I've deleted the 1 brick = 20 bars thing.

it comes from the Last unicorn games RPG The preceding unsigned comment was added by 76.67.80.10 (talk).
Which is apocrypha and doesn't belong here as a canon value. — Morder 07:02, 21 September 2008 (UTC)

Where do the Federation types get their latinum?

A question that's always bugged me. Since the Federation has no money system, how can they obtain latinum?

  • Trading rations etc with Ferengi, obviously.

How is latinum currency authenticated?

If latinum as currency is suspended in gold and the latinum itself is never actually seen, why does everybody seem to assume that what is presented as Latinum is authentic? How do they know a latinum "bar" really has latinum in it, and not lead, or water, or caramel nougat? As far as I can tell the question never even comes up, although on one occasion Bashir eats at the Klingon restaurant and pays with a metal object, presumably latinum, which the Klingon host bites (like pirates used to do with doubloons in old movies). The only thing I can think of is the Ferengi hold latinum in such a high regard, almost religiously, that it's literally unthinkable that any of it might be fake. Anyone know more? If there's an answer, it would make a good addition to the article. Andrew Lenahan - Starblind 19:30, 8 November 2006 (UTC)

Maybe it is much like our authentication for bills. Depending on the quality of the fake, the general population wouldn't be able to tell the difference between an authentic 1 dollar bill and a fake. But then again, who would go to the trouble of faking a 1 dollar bill? With increasing technology, the more unsavory elements of society will have to advance as well. There was also the sound that the gold-pressed latinum made. In the episode Who Mourns for Morn?, in the beginning, Quark klinks two strips together. It makes, in his oppinion, a very nice sound. Later, when he is in the cargo container with the bricks, he says to Odo "What you are about to hear is the most beautiful sound in the universe," or something to that effect. When he klinks the bricks together, they make a more thuding sound than the slips. This leads to Quark breaking open all the bricks, finding that the latinum has been extracted. This seems to me that sound would be an authentication procedure. Also, IIRC, when Quark bribed a secritary in the Tower of Comerce, the secritary tapped the slip on the collection box before putting it in his pocket. With the size of Ferengi ears, maybe they can hear the latinum inside the gold when it moves and can determine if it is genuine. My two slips. --- Willie 11:06, 9 November 2006 (UTC)

Also, if they can tell if there is a single life form on a planet from a 10,000 mile orbit with ship's sensors or a handheld tricorder, as well as identify what species it is ("there are three life forms on the planet, two human, one Romulan") I think authenticating a bar of latinum shouldn't be much of a stretch. Mal7798 17:12, 30 December 2008 (UTC)
    • That's very interesting. I haven't yet seen "Who Mourns For Morn?" but it sounds like it pretty much answers the authentication question. Thanks a lot! Andrew Lenahan - Starblind 16:39, 9 November 2006 (UTC)

I personally feel it makes a rather nice sound too, I sometimes have a habit of dropping loonies on each other just to hear the sound, I like coins and other "solid" currencies, they just "feel" more like money should.

Main image

Erk! Who changed the main image!--The All-knowing Sith'ari 21:14, 12 May 2007 (UTC)

Since this is a wiki, anybody can change the main image on this page as long it is related to the topic. ;) - Adm. Enzo Aquarius...I'm listening 21:35, 12 May 2007 (UTC)

Another Latinum Theory

Is it possible that latinum is a stable post-actinide chemical element, and can technically be replicated, but such heavy elements require so much energy to replicate (picture a starship's entire energy output to produce one gram) that it is not feasible or efficient to replicate it. However, enough latinum exists naturally to keep it from being prohibitively expensive. Gold-pressed latinum could just be an alloy of gold and latinum, made so that latinum can exist in a solid form.

Can a non-contradictory canon idea be introduced or suggested by this site?

Mal7798 06:43, 25 May 2007 (UTC)

Does anyone know whether latinum can be transported? I've only seen a few episodes of DS9. If it can be transported it can be replicated, but of course most of the energy used to form it at the destination would have been provided at its dematerialization at the beginning - right? And likewise a replicator would use as much bulk matter as required to equal its high mass. Objections to heavy-metal alchemy ought to hinge on the energy consumed in the act of constructing the atoms, rather than the potential energy of the final material. The amount of energy available by converting matter entirely to energy is huge (mass times the speed of light squared), and if you had a few extra moons lying around you could construct pretty much whatever you wanted out of them, burning off most of the matter to feed the process. So the inefficiency of the process must be very great indeed to make it unprofitable, in which case wouldn't it take a prohibitively high amount of energy to rematerialize it if transported? Latinum seems to be a desperate grab for something to use as currency. -AndromedaRoach 05:36, 16 July 2007 (UTC)
Since Morn carried latinum in his stomach, if Morn was ever transported without much ado, then that means latinum could also be concievably replicated. Perhaps that is why Morn almost never left the station.96.51.87.4 19:15, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
Transporters work at the quantum resolution, replicators work at the molecular resolution. That is why replicators can't make living beings. Perhaps the same argument can applied to gold pressed latinum. If that was true then theoretically it would be possible to replicate latinum by scanning it with the transporter, sending in any old lump of mass, transporting it and reassembling it with the latinums pattern (which is actually how replicators work but, like I said, they only scan and reassemble at the molecular level, not quantum).212.74.27.54 12:33, September 22, 2009 (UTC)
Yes, that's how I've always figured it worked, too. Probably the same goes for the "non-replicatable vaccines" that have shown up in a variety of episodes. And as for your idea of replicating latinum with the transporter--ironically enough, I'd thought of the same thing myself. :-) It seems that it hasn't occurred to anyone in Star Trek to do that, as even though the Federation folks wouldn't have much use for latinum, they could still put it to very good use with those non-replicatable vaccines and things like that. But, I guess if they can theoretically replicate anything that could be transported (including antimatter, if you think about it, since we know that photon torpedoes have antimatter in them and can be transported), then the whole dramatic element of needing to get that non-replicatable vaccine to a plagued planet would be lost. :-) Heck, if you think about it, you could even replicate lifeforms that way, too, which would be really wacky...sort of like what happened with Thomas Riker. -Mdettweiler 14:18, September 22, 2009 (UTC)

Image of strips

Are those just strips of Gold pressed Latinum? or bricks? They look fairly large to be just small strips. 207.81.201.213 11:26, 19 September 2007 (UTC)

Strips, which are larger than slips and smaller than bars. This is confirmed in a photo later on, where all three can be seen. We only see bricks once, and they are much larger, as well as differently shaped. --OuroborosCobra talk 06:43, 21 September 2008 (UTC)

Liquid

How is latinum a liquid if Rom said that it is smooth to the touch in the episode called Ferengi Love Songs? SilentRage 22:47, 11 January 2009 (UTC)

Obviously he was speaking about its standard currency form, suspended in gold. That form is rather synonymous in language with just "latinum". --OuroborosCobra talk 23:28, 11 January 2009 (UTC)


Gold Pressed Dylithium

This is a mild meandering of the topic but wouldn't the creators of the show have been better off making gold pressed dylithium the currency en vogue? Dylithium is much sought after for intergalactic travel for all spacefaring races (like the spice of Dune) and it is basically the archetypal Star Trek plot that in crisis, ships need dylithium and the crew simply can't replicate it out of nowhere. It makes much more sense as a valuable commodity and volatile, high-energy, non-replicatable resource. --96.51.87.4 19:26, 5 April 2009 (UTC)

Depends what you mean by "better off", but No. --bp 19:28, 5 April 2009 (UTC)

Removed.

I removed the following.

Value and worth There are two types of currencies. The first is "paper currency", like the US dollar. A currency whose value is entirely determined by supply and demand (of the currency itself, and of the products and services the currency can buy within its area of influence, and beyond through international trade). Pure capitalist theorists describe this type of currency as a "weak currency" because it consistently devalues, as governments can issue (print) new currency out of thin air without having to balance supply and demand.
The second kind of currency is "hard currency", like gold for the ancients. It is a currency whose value is also determined by supply and demand, but where supply is finite. Therefore, the value of the currency seldom changes. It usually is a hard metal that is only available from mining, (again, like gold, silver or aluminum).
It stands to reason that Ferengi would be pure capitalists and thus would prefer a "hard currency". However, in the 24th century, the existance of replicators render almost any currency "worthless" because supply can be infinitely expanded (hence Quark's remark that "gold is worthless"). Latinum, however, cannot be replicated, and thus is the ideal form of hard currency for such an era. Gold-pressing is probably only a mechanism to keep the latinum in solid state, and does not add value to the currency itself.
If we assume that a Starfleet cadet uniform is worth 5 Strips of Gold Pressed Latinum (DS9: Facets), and convert it to 2009 prices, adjusted for inflation, 5 strips would be worth about $50 dollars. One strip would be worth $10 dollars. If 100 slips are equal to 1 strip, then 1 slip of latinum is worth $0.10 dollars, or a dime. Also, if one bar of latinum is equal to 20 strips, one bar would be equal to $200 dollars. Five bars would be $1,000 dollars, and 10 bars would be $2,000 dollars.

This might be interesting, it might be insigtful, but it's also speculative and not very encyclopedic.— Vince47 23:46, 6 April 2009 (UTC)

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