Money in Middle-Earth


In Middle-earth seve­ral dif­ferent cur­ren­cies are in use. Cultures who do not use coins, trade in goods but often use metal bars as a sub​sti​tute​.In fact the first coi­nage was inven­ted by the Dwarves and ori­gi­nally deve­lo­ped out of very small, ela­bo­rate shaped, metal bars and later Medals and Amu­lets ori­gi­nally given away as Tokens.

This assump­tion is based on the hypo­the­sis that Middle-Earth’s Cur­rency or Money-system is based on the real world cur­rency of medie­val and late roman Bri­tain :

Other medie­val cur­ren­cies

Arnor and Gondor

The King­dom of Gondor and most of the former pro­vinces of Arnor pre­serve the ancient Núme­no­rean cur­rency :

In times of need the Lords of the West­lands also often intro­du­ced neces­sity money, made of tin (often 1 ounce tin), lead (often 0,01 ounces lead) or zinc (0,12 ounces zinc). For small bar­gains people also often cutted grea­ter coins into pieces and paid with hack-silver or even hack-copper. As eve­ryw­here purity and worth of the dif­ferent coins could differ signi­fi­cant throu­ghout the ages.

Northmen of Rhovanion

The Nor­throns rely mostly on simple barter trade, but some more influen­tial nor­thron Lords, as the Kings of Dale have also begun to emit coins, mostly imi­ta­tions of gon­do­rian exem­plars.

Rohan

The Rohir­rim use gon­do­rian cur­rency as well as their own Pen­ning-coin.

Dorwinion

The Dor­win­rim use gon­do­rian cur­rency as well as their own high-value ivory-coin, the Kysûri.

Harad

The Hara­drim use their own cur­rency of Harmîr or gold- and bronce-rings as well as Shell-money (sea-shells, often in the form of necklaces).A few of the former black númenó­rean Colo­nies and former gon­do­rian puppet-rulers have also pre­ser­ved coi­nage (mostly imi­ta­tions of Númenó­rean mint).The best known Hara­drim-coi­nage are those from Tûl Isra and Tûl Harar.

Tûl Isra Coins

Tûl Harar Coins

The Dark Lands

The Dark Lord has imi­ta­ted númenó­rean coi­nage for a long time and emit­ted his own cur­rency among his vassal-kings, but most Men of Dark­ness still rely on simple barter trade.


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