Latinum was a rare substance which was prized by many civilizations in the Alpha Quadrant, including the Ferengi Alliance. For use as currency, liquid latinum was usually suspended within gold or gold dust which produced gold-pressed latinum. (DS9 episode: "Who Mourns for Morn?"; CCG set: Rules of Acquisition, card: "Gold-Pressed Latinum")
Latinum is usable as a currency specie because it is one of the few materials incapable of being replicated. Gold, which can be replicated, is unusable as a currency specie, and is useful only as a container for liquid latinum, due to gold's non-reactive nature. (TNG novel: Balance of Power)
Denominations and design
Denominations of gold-pressed latinum, in order of increasing value, include the slip, the strip, the bar and the brick. One bar of gold-pressed latinum is equal to twenty strips or 2,000 slips of latinum. (CCG set: Rules of Acquisition, card: "Gold-Pressed Latinum") The exchange rate for bricks is unknown, but Quark implies that bricks are worth considerably more than bars.
A latinum slip measures 2½ x ¼ x 1 inches, a strip measures 3½ x ½ x 2½ inches, a bar measures 5 × ½ × 2½ inches and a brick measures 8 x 1 x 4 inches.
(Star Trek Auction Listings)
Sources and provenance
A Federation survey of the Davon system sometime before 2348 found traces of latinum on the moon Davonia. In 2355, the planets and moons of the Maxia Zeta star system were discovered to be richly endowed with many minerals and materials, including latinum. And in 2370 a group of Horta discovered deposits of latinum on Baraddo, Bajor's outermost moon. Daribund also had latinum deposits. (DS9 novel: Devil in the Sky; TNG - The Lost Era novel: The Buried Age)
Quark in the mirror universe had never heard of latinum, but it was used in the Alliance and previously in the Terran Empire. (DS9 episode: "Crossover", ,ST novels: Dark Passions, Book One, Dark Passions, Book Two, ST short story: "Mirror Universe", "The Greater Good", "The Worst of Both Worlds", "Bitter Fruit")
|Types of currency|
|materials||acta crystal • gold • diamond • latinum • ludugial gold • silver|
|units||bilbok • cent • credit • darsek • decim • dejebbit • dirak • dollar • drokna • ducat • dukor • galorine credit slip • ilec • kern • klon peag • laertian dinar • lek • lita • notch-rock • prime transfer authority • quatloo • sakto • sous • szeket • t'chak • talon • tri-esta|