Just the other day, I was pondering the 12 silver pennies that Barliman Butterbur uses to buy Bill the Pony for Our Heroes in Bree. That, and the coins that he gives Merry as recompense for the ponies that fled Prancing Pony stables and eventually made their way back to Tom Bombadil.
It’s interesting because this is one of the very few times a unit of currency is directly mentioned in the main text of The Lord of the Rings. In fact, the further we get from The Shire, the less money (and economics) becomes a factor within the story.
But how do economies work in Middle-earth? We know that, at least in the Third Age, trade of a sort occurs. Tobacco and other goods make their way to Isengard from The Shire. Bilbo purchases goods from Dale and Erebor for his farewell party. And the elves of Mirkwood do business with Lake-town and the mysterious region of Dorwinion. Continue reading “Where is the money in Middle-earth?”