Goldcrest Standard

A project proposing the issue of a range of coins and banknotes the value of which is determined by key indicator species.



Regulus Regulus, the Goldcrest weighs the same as a two pence coin. The Goldcrest Standard, proposes coinage with face value proportionate to biomass, pegging biomass to economic value

The first stage of the project was realised as Factory for Currency Failure

The second stage, production of coins is documented here




Since the abandonment of the Gold Standard in 1931, which linked the value of stirling to the global supply of gold, the exchange value of currency has been unrelated to any physical resource. Determining its value is now an act of speculation subject to widely different interpretations, exposing the economy to dangerous fluctuation and misatribution of value (for instance to exotic investments rather than any resource base). The Goldcrest Standard proposes 're-pegging' currency, with its value determined by natural resources; initially adult body mass of key native species. Pegging the value of stirling to ecological resources could offer a more stable economic system. It would also move environmental expenses such as pollution from being what economists term 'externalities', that is having no impact upon the price of exchange goods, to being a true determinant of exchange value.

Scientists speak of 'totemic' species that have an increased value. This is partly due to how their dependence on other species in the food web means they can act as a signal for changing conditions for those other species. But the term is also used to signify their wider public value due to cultural beliefs and affection. How could proposing a Goldcrest Standard affect our totemic understanding of nonhuman species and how we ascribe value to them over time?





A coin die, used to strike coins


In the Goldcrest Standard

3.5g biomass = 2 pence stirling.









Extending the Goldcrest Standard to other species would mean:


2pence = a goldcrest

£1 = a mackerel (0.5kg)

£5 = a great skua (1.3-1.5kg)

£500 = a grey seal (150-200kg)

£50,000 = a minke whale (15000kg)

1/500,000 pence = zooplankton (100 µg)







A roman coin, originally depicting an emperor, has been 'overstruck' with an image of cattle, as the economic regime which uses it to denote value undergoes change. What would a new currency system say about successive economic regimes?







  Other historical precedents include the overstriking of pennies by Suffragettes with the slogan 'Votes for Women'





Coin Die Blank

A Goldcrest Standard overstrike die could be manufactured for two pence peices.

This manufacturing stage will be explored in Currency Failure Factory at number82 on the last Friday of July 2011








Visualisation of a goldcrest tuppence.


  The first stage of the Goldcrest Standard has been completed.


Second stage, overstamping, has also been successful