Currency

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This is an overview article which contains background information and cross-game comparisons. For game-specific information and stats, see the articles linked on the right.
Gameplay articles
FalloutBottle caps
Fallout 2$1 NCR
Morningstar mine scrip
Kokoweef mine scrip
Bottle caps
FO TacticsBrotherhood Scrips
Ring pulls
Fallout 3Bottle caps
Pre-War money
FO: New VegasBottle caps
Legion currency
NCR dollars
Pre-War money
Casino chips
Fallout 4Bottle caps
Pre-War money
 ... 
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The currency in the Fallout world varies from area to area and even faction to faction.

Pre-War money[edit | edit source]

The following section is transcluded from Pre-War money. To modify, please edit the source page.
Pre-war money.png

United States dollars (USD) were the pre-War currency of the United States of America.[1][2] The inflation presumably caused by the Resource Wars was severe, leaving banknotes as the primary medium of exchange. Although the Great War eliminated the United States and its economy, reducing stacks of green bills to little more than collector's items and scrap parchment, certain pre-War devices continue to recognize them as valid currency. These are typically limited to areas like the Sierra Madre casino or the Nuka-World amusement park.[3]

Bottle caps[edit | edit source]

The following section is transcluded from Bottle cap. To modify, please edit the source page.
Botlcaps.gif

Bottle caps are one of the symbols of the post-nuclear economy. While widely available, they are also in limited supply, as the technology necessary to manufacture them was largely lost to time and the Great War, and difficult to produce by hand. The paint used, machining, and metal type all have to be very specific in order for a bottle cap to be genuine.[4][5]

These factors led to their adoption by Hub merchants in New California as common unit of exchange, backed by water.[6] The adoption took place rapidly, as within ten years of Hub's founding in 2093,[7] caps became the standard currency of the wasteland.[8] For similar reasons, the merchants in the Capital Wasteland also adopted bottle caps, although it is unknown who backs their value.

In the 23rd century, the venerable western bottle caps were eventually supplanted by minted and printed currency, New California Republic (NCR) dollars, backed by gold, rather than water.[9] However, during the Brotherhood War the Republic's gold reserves were destroyed by Brotherhood raids to the point where new gold coins could not be minted and paper money could not be properly backed with gold. NCR citizens panicked and rushed to reclaim the listed face value of currency from NCR's remaining gold reserves. Since the NCR was unable to realize these withdrawals, particularly towards the frontier, faith in their currency considerably dropped. To protect against actual economic collapse, the NCR government abandoned the gold standard and established fiat currency, not payable in specie. Since then many wastelanders lost faith in it as a medium of worth, both as a result of it not being backed by anything but the government's word and the inevitable inflation. In response to the loss of faith, merchant consortiums of the Hub established their own currency, the veritable bottle cap, backing it with water (exchanging a standardized measure of water for caps).[10][11][12][13]

The actual process was very deliberate. The merchants conspired to reintroduce the bottle cap as a currency, out of frustration at NCR's ineptitude in handling the currency crisis. Furthermore, since Hub bridges the NCR core region with the Mojave and lands beyond, the cap was meant to bridge the gap between NCR and Legion territories by providing a neutral form of money. In the time leading up to the introduction the merchants laid the foundations for bottle caps as a currency, establishing control of or destroying facilities that could fashion new bottle caps and seizing excessively large caches of old bottle caps (smaller ones in private hands were left alone, as their owners would readily embrace the returning bottle cap).[13]

To protect their monopoly on the currency, Republic merchant companies, particularly the Crimson Caravan Company, seek to control all bottle cap production and ensure that no one can mass produce them and inflate the currency. Controlling bottle cap presses also allows them to replace worn out and damaged bottle caps, keeping the pool of currency stable. Due to the challenges of the bottle cap production process, small scale counterfeiting is ignored, as it's impossible to manufacture enough caps by hand to truly upset the balance.[14][4][15]

Bottle caps, NCR dollars and Legion currency are all considered legal tender by the various caravan companies and on the New Vegas Strip. Mojave merchants also accept nonstandard variants, such as Sunset Sarsaparilla bottle caps.

NCR dollars[edit | edit source]

The following section is transcluded from NCR dollars. To modify, please edit the source page.
FNV 100$ bill.png
F2money.gif

The NCR introduced its own money around the turn of the 22nd century and initially it relied on coins minted from gold. By 2241, the economy of NCR dominated the West Coast and coins became universal currency, used by the three regional powers: NCR, Vault City and New Reno. During this time bottle caps had become worthless in these regions.[16]

During the conflict with the Brotherhood the Republic's gold reserves were destroyed by Brotherhood raids to the point where new gold coins could not be minted and paper money could not be properly backed with gold. NCR citizens panicked and rushed to reclaim the listed face value of currency from NCR's remaining gold reserves. Since the NCR was unable to realize these withdrawals, particularly towards the frontier, faith in their currency considerably dropped. To protect against actual economic collapse, the NCR government abandoned the gold standard and established fiat currency, not payable in specie.[10] Since then many wastelanders lost faith in it as a medium of worth, both as a result of it not being backed by anything but the government's word and the inevitable inflation.[11] In response to the loss of faith, merchant consortiums of the Hub re-established their own currency, the veritable bottle cap, backing it with water (exchanging a standardized measure of water for caps). [17][13]

By 2281, the NCR dollar is valued at about 40% of a water-backed cap[18] and only 10% of a silver Legion denarius. In the Mojave Wasteland, these notes can be seen in the $5, $20, and $100 denominations. The notes are issued by the Republic Reserve Bank located in Angel's Boneyard. In 2281, the current Treasurer of the Republic and head of the NCR Treasury is John Michael Henderton; his signature can be found on the front face of all NCR notes found in the Mojave Wasteland.[19]

Mine scrips[edit | edit source]

The town of Redding uses Morningstar mine scrips and Kokoweef mine scrips as secondary currency, supplementing NCR dollars.

Legion money[edit | edit source]

The following section is transcluded from Legion coinage. To modify, please edit the source page.

Caesar's Legion uses two types of coinage, the denarius and aureus, as their main form of currency, which were also used in Roman times. They are minted by the Legion from scavenged[20] silver and gold, with each coin bearing the profile of Caesar. Despite Caesar's poor relations with the other factions in New Vegas, Legion currency is still accepted as payment in the Mojave Wasteland, even from NCR merchants owing to the precious metals the denarius and aureus are minted from. The exchange rate is 4 bottle caps to 1 denarius, and 100 bottle caps to 1 aureus.

Denarius

The denarius (silver), which bears an image of a younger Caesar on the obverse and Caesar, Joshua Graham and Bill Calhoun on the reverse. The inscriptions are in Latin, "Caesar Dictator" meaning "Dictator Caesar" or "Absolute Ruler Caesar" on the front and "Magnum Chasma" meaning "Great Abyss" or "Great Fissure" on the back, referring to the Grand Canyon. The symbolism is simple - the denarius commemorates young Caesar's journey to the Canyon and his first victories as a dictator of the Grand Canyon tribes.

Aureus

The aureus (gold), which bears the portrait of the older Caesar on one side and the symbol of the 10th Legion (the bull) on the other. The inscriptions are in Latin, "Aeternit Imperi" meaning "For the eternity of the empire" on the front and "Pax Per Bellum" meaning "Peace through War" on the back.

Casino chips[edit | edit source]

Yellow poker chip.png
Red casino chip.png
Blue poker chip.png

While not technical currency, casino chips are used by the casinos of New Vegas and its surrounding environs. Casino chips can be bought from vendors inside the casino and used to play games such as blackjack, roulette or slots. Depending on the outcome of these games, gamblers can gain or lose chips which can then be redeemed at their respective casino for bottle caps, NCR dollars or Legion coins.

List of Casino chips[edit | edit source]

Brotherhood scrips[edit | edit source]

Mini-FOT Logo.pngThe following is based on Fallout Tactics and some details might contradict canon.
The following section is transcluded from Brotherhood scrip. To modify, please edit the source page.
BrotherhoodScrips.png

Brotherhood scrip is legal tender within the Brotherhood of Steel of the Midwest, for trading within the organization. The currency itself bases on printed banknotes, issued by the Brotherhood Treasury.

Ring pulls[edit | edit source]

Mini-FOT Logo.pngThe following is based on Fallout Tactics and some details might contradict canon.
The following section is transcluded from Ring pull. To modify, please edit the source page.
RingPulls.png

Ring pulls are used as currency by people in the vicinity of Chicago. They are pull-tabs from soda cans. Ring pulls can be found all over the settlements in early missions and traders will accept them. There are usually some outsider traders in Brotherhood bases who will accept ring pulls as well.

Behind the scenes[edit | edit source]

Fallout: New Vegas[edit | edit source]

Unlike Pre-War money, Legion Money and NCR Money are not affected by the Barter skill. I.e. $5 NCR is always worth 2 caps and a Legion Aureus is always worth 100 caps. I don't think I ever suggested some Bardi-esque currency inflation/speculation gameplay, just that the different factions had different forms of currency and that each was "backed" differently: caps are water-backed by Hub merchants due to the decline of the inflated NCR fiat currency and Legion money is not "backed" at all, but of value due to the use of commodity rare metals. The currencies are there for flavor and to reflect something larger about the societies that use them.

J.E. Sawyer

References[edit source]

  1. The Courier: "I have a right to know more."
    Robert House: "That's simply not true. I am the only person to hold any rights pertaining to the Chip. I designed it, and I paid for it - dearly. To develop that Chip, I spent a sum of U.S. dollars - not the bottle caps that pass as currency these days - but a sum beyond counting. For decades, I paid salvagers to comb the ruins for it. And when it was finally discovered, tens of thousands of caps spent to have it brought here. We know how that turned out. Complete your contract and it will be the last time I pay for the Chip. Save your questions for then."
    (Robert House's dialogue)
  2. Presidential sub level terminals; Maintenance Department Terminal, Log Entry AK197872: "After debating for a few days, the powers that be have decided to change out the vocal interface on the Xoted Mainframe from male to female. Why? So they can give it a cute acronym and name it "Margot." Then they can trot it around for the press so we can all see where our hard-earned taxpayer dollars went. Wow, what a colossal waste of my time. Now I have to pull the mainframe's circuit array and flush the memory all to get a new voice installed... great, just great"
  3. Gameplay use of pre-War money.
  4. 4.0 4.1 The Courier: "What makes a bottle cap genuine?"
    Alice McLafferty: "Lots of little things - the paint on the label, the machining, the type of metal it's made from. I know there's counterfeit caps floating around, of course. Fortunately, they're very time-consuming to make, so the numbers are small."
    (Alice McLafferty's dialogue)
  5. Pressing Matters
  6. The Vault Dweller: "{134}{}{Tell me more about bartering.}"
    Katrina: "{139}{}{Bartering is the exchange of goods. You give me some items, and I give you items in trade. Since you initiated the barter, I will let you pick and choose what you want. But the deal must be one that I think I will like, so you will probably want to give me more valuable goods that you don't need in exchange for less expensive things that you want. And if you don't have enough items to trade, there are always caps. Bottle caps are the only common money found out here. The caps are backed by the merchants of the Hub, so you can trade them anywhere.}"
    (SSGUIDE.MSG)
  7. Fallout Bible 0: "2093 The Hub is founded by a man named Angus, who sets up camp around a filthy oasis in the desert, and he proceeds to begin trading with other settlements."
  8. Fallout Bible 0: "2102 May 22 Increasing mutant attacks on Harold's caravans cause Harold to get so pissed he finances one of the first adventuring parties of Fallout to try and find out where these dagnab mutants are coming from. Consulting with a scientist and doctor at the Hub, a man by the name of Grey, the two of them decide to join forces."
    "2102 June 23 Richard Grey's Expedition [including Harold] finds the Mariposa Military Base and the Expedition is scattered and defeated by mutants at the base. Grey is knocked into one of the vats of FEV by a robotic arm, and Harold is knocked unconscious, only to awaken later out in the wasteland."
    "2102 June 27 Harold, already mutating, is found by traders and taken back to the Hub. His former caravan partners and employees, horrified by his condition, abandon him and he is soon left without even two bottlecaps to rub together."
  9. Fallout 2
  10. 10.0 10.1 J.E. Sawyer src: "And this is discussed in-game: BoS raided NCR's gold reserves until NCR could no longer generate gold coinage nor back their paper money. They abandoned the gold standard and established fiat currency, which is why its value is inflated over both caps and (especially) Legion coinage. (...) People in eastern NCR and the Mojave Wasteland lost faith in the NCR government's a) ability to back the listed value of paper money and b) stability overall. If you're living in Bakersfield, staring at a piece of paper that says "redeemable for value in gold" and you have no faith in the government's ability or willingness to do that -- or if you see that the government has changed the currency to say that it is not able to be exchanged for a backed good -- you may very well listen to the strong consortium of local merchants offering to exchange that paper note for currency backed by water." Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "Sawyer1" defined multiple times with different content
  11. 11.0 11.1 J.E. Sawyer, src: "Traders from the Mojave travel the Short Loop into NCR, which means that they have to go through a few hundred miles of solid desert. Carrying enough water to travel from New Vegas to the Boneyard (or vice versa) would undercut cargo capacity significantly. Even the communities around the Mojave Wasteland (other than New Vegas itself) have water brought in and stored in local towers. Of course, the Colorado River is nearby as long as you don't mind walking through an active war zone." Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "sawyer2" defined multiple times with different content
  12. "How does the Hub 'back' caps? Can you exchange a certain number of caps for a standard measure of water? Yes." J.E. Sawyer src
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 J.E. Sawyer src: "It happened during the BoS-NCR war. I believe Alice McLafferty mentions it, but I'm not positive. She doesn't detail the events in this much detail, but here they are:
    The attacks caused NCR citizens (and others who held NCR currency) to panic, resulting in a rush to reclaim the listed face value of currency from NCR's gold reserves. Inability to do this at several locations (especially near the periphery of NCR territory where reserves were normally low) caused a loss of faith in NCR's ability to back their currency.
    Though NCR eventually stopped the BoS attacks, they decided to protect against future problems by switching to fiat currency. While this meant that BoS could no longer attack a) reserves or b) the source of production (all NCR bills are made in the Boneyard), some people felt more uneasy about their money not having any "real" (backed) value. This loss of confidence increased with NCR inflation, an ever-looming spectre of fiat currency.
    Because the Hub links NCR with the Mojave Wasteland and beyond, the merchants there grew frustrated with NCR's handling of the currency crisis. They conspired to re-introduce the bottle cap as a water-backed currency that could "bridge the gap" between NCR and Legion territory. In the time leading up to the re-introduction, they did the footwork to position themselves properly. If some old-timer had a chest full of caps, they didn't care (in fact, they thought that was great, since the old-timers would enthusiastically embrace the return of the cap), but they did seek to control or destroy production facilities and truly large volumes of caps (e.g. Typhon's treasure) whenever possible." Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "THEWAR" defined multiple times with different content
  14. The Courier: "Are new bottle caps ever made?"
    Alice McLafferty: "Certainly. Bottle caps do wear out or get damaged. Some people even insist on using bottle caps in explosive devices for some reason. We make it a point to scour Pre-War bottling plants and recover or disable the bottle cap presses. It seems we missed one."
    (Alice McLafferty's dialogue)
  15. Pressing Matters
  16. Fallout 2
  17. "How does the Hub 'back' caps? Can you exchange a certain number of caps for a standard measure of water? Yes." J.E. Sawyer, src
  18. The Courier: "You don't get paid in caps?"
    Chomps Lewis: "Nope. The NCR's been trying to switch over to using paper money, like in the Pre-War days. Trouble is that the exchange rates ain't exactly fair. For example, a hundred bucks in NCR money is valued at roughly half that in caps around here. Seems like a rotten deal for us, but work is work."
    (Chomps Lewis' dialogue)
  19. Appearance of NCR dollar bills.
  20. "Gold and silver have low melting points. They don't need to mine for it if they find it in some other form." - J.E. Sawyer, src
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