What has it got in its pocketses? .. Pt 1, Paying your way

Hard Kit is all other accoutrements that are not clothing, weapons or armour. This includes pots and tents, and flint & steel, and other things like that.

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Elleth
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What has it got in its pocketses? .. Pt 1, Paying your way

Postby Elleth » Mon Jan 01, 2018 3:59 am

Yikes!

I’ve been meaning to write this up for some time, and I fear I’ve let the season get away from me. Anyhow, to follow up on the “pocket litter” article from the MERS I wanted to talk - pocket money.

No matter how long you roam the wilds, eventually you’ll need a bit of coin. Maybe you need fresh supplies, maybe need to loosen a tongue - maybe you just really need a warm dry room.

How much to carry is an interesting question: the difference between a medieval economy and our own makes comparisons tricky. Nonetheless, I’m going to mostly stick with my previous estimate of a penny’s worth as somewhere north of $20 and somewhere south of $80 in modern US dollars - likely towards the high end of that range at least in Bree.

Certainly in a world without credit and debit cards it’s common practice to carry more cash than is common today - but the sock-sized purses of television fiction represent small fortunes. A coin purse needn’t be fat to carry a significant store of value. A half dozen pence can easily be counted on to provide a few nights simple lodging - even a month's wages could be kept in a quite small purse and take up little space.

…. And that brings me to the lovely work I’ve gotten from our own Will Whitfoot of Shire Post Mint.

Our interpretations of the Middle earth economy are a little different (some discussion here) but there’s tons of overlap and I do think his research is solid.

I’d asked if I could get a mix of coins of similar weight and purity to silver pennies of medieval Europe. I wanted a hodge-podge that could have come through Bree, but with an emphasis on the Shire pieces. He responded with a “Ranger Purse” of mixed, heavily circulated silver pennies. Mostly “Shire Sixpence,” a notable fraction of “pennies of Dale” that have filtered along the Great East Road with dwarven traders, and a smattering of far-away pieces from Rohan and Isengard that strangely came east from the Shire in circulation. How odd. ;)

merf-ranger-coin-purse.jpg
merf-ranger-coin-purse.jpg (56.09 KiB) Viewed 5862 times


The price is his to give, but it was in line with his “pony purses” from some years ago, and was more manageable than you might expect. I hope eventually to supplement these with similar coins from the Breelands and human realms from down the Greenway, but I’m quite happy with this little purse as it is.
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Re: What has it got in its pocketses? .. Pt 1, Paying your way

Postby Straelbora » Mon Jan 01, 2018 5:26 am

I've bought various clusters of coins from Will over the years, and have a nice little leather pouch with them as well.

I would also carry trade goods. I think of the Mountain Men and other first Europeans to penetrate into the interior of North America. You could easily find yourself where coined money is essentially useless.

This is where I carry thinks like a lump of rather pure copper I found in Michigan's Upper Peninsula years ago, and several mink pelts that I picked up at Goodwill stores. In fact, I think animal hides would be a natural and valuable 'trade good' carried by Rangers, along with maybe Elvish or Dwarvish trinkets that would be less likely to fall into the hands of an outlying Man or Hobbit villager. I'm thinking of using my lathe and drill press (modern cheats) to make some wooden, bone, and antler buttons. I think it's in the Hobbit where Gandalf grumbles about Bilbo brushing him off like 'someone selling buttons at the door.'
Vápnum sínum skala maðr velli á
feti ganga framar því at óvist er at vita
nær verðr á vegum úti geirs um þörf guma
Hávamál
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Re: What has it got in its pocketses? .. Pt 1, Paying your way

Postby Iodo » Mon Jan 01, 2018 9:01 am

Straelbora wrote:I've bought various clusters of coins from Will over the years, and have a nice little leather pouch with them as well.

I would also carry trade goods. I think of the Mountain Men and other first Europeans to penetrate into the interior of North America. You could easily find yourself where coined money is essentially useless.

This is where I carry thinks like a lump of rather pure copper I found in Michigan's Upper Peninsula years ago, and several mink pelts that I picked up at Goodwill stores. In fact, I think animal hides would be a natural and valuable 'trade good' carried by Rangers, along with maybe Elvish or Dwarvish trinkets that would be less likely to fall into the hands of an outlying Man or Hobbit villager. I'm thinking of using my lathe and drill press (modern cheats) to make some wooden, bone, and antler buttons. I think it's in the Hobbit where Gandalf grumbles about Bilbo brushing him off like 'someone selling buttons at the door.'

Amazing idea, I can't say I have ever thought of carrying goods that would have a value similar to or more than money to common people, I think I will give this some thought
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Elleth
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Re: What has it got in its pocketses? .. Pt 1, Paying your way

Postby Elleth » Mon Jan 01, 2018 2:33 pm

I would also carry trade goods. I think of the Mountain Men and other first Europeans to penetrate into the interior of North America. You could easily find yourself where coined money is essentially useless.


That is a really interesting idea. One of my "to-get-around-to-it-someday" projects is inspired by Udwin's descriptions of the Beornings. They're taking trade from the Dwarves of Erebor for keeping the road between Mirkwood and the Misty Mountains open as I recall. I've got to think the Dwarves are have been making some kind of arrowpoint for them as a trade good. I'm curious what they'd look like?

They could be as simple and crude as the ones traded to natives in North America, but the Middle earth romantic in me would love to see something more characteristically Khazad.
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Re: What has it got in its pocketses? .. Pt 1, Paying your way

Postby Zaskar24 » Mon Jan 01, 2018 3:13 pm

This is something that I have started to look at not only for this but for Ren Faires and steampunk as well. I recently bought some sets of coins from Will and I know that I would interested in buying a mixed set like this. Thank you for posting this Elleth.

Straelbora, good point about the trade goods. When in the wilderness and attempting to buy something from a farmstead days or more way from a large city or even a small hamlet I would expect trade goods such as fur or raw unworked metals to be of more value than coins. Another option could be physical labor, helping to clear a field for planting, repairing damaged fences for livestock or even helping to build a new building come to mind.

Elleth and Straelbora, where did you get your coin pouches from? Or did you craft them yourselves?
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Re: What has it got in its pocketses? .. Pt 1, Paying your way

Postby Will Whitfoot » Mon Jan 01, 2018 4:45 pm

Straelbora wrote:....This is where I carry thinks like a lump of rather pure copper I found in Michigan's Upper Peninsula years ago,...'

Ah... good call! Copper from the Copper Country! That is where I got my geology degree (Michigan Technological University in Houghton) and where I did a great deal of rockhounding and exploration of abandoned mines. The raw copper from the region tends to run about 99% copper with the remainder silver! It has superior forming and electrical properties due to the silver content. The so-called "Lake Copper" was specified for highest quality motor windings for decades, and would even be made by adding silver to copper when the real Michigan stuff was not available. Last time I was up there I arranged with Ken Flood at Keweenaw Gem and Gift to smelt some raw copper for me into bars. They were made from small miscellaneous bits from the waste-rock piles at the Isle Royal Mine in South Range and weigh a pound or so apiece... haven't figured what to do with them yet, but they're quite rustically attractive. Trade goods perhaps?

One thing we have done here at the mint is to produce something we call a "Pony Purse".. which is a small pouch of mixed loose circulated coinage totalling 12 silver pennies in value. (144 pence). The amount is chosen, of course, for the funds Frodo had to come up with to purchase a sickly pony in Bree. Typically a Pony purse would include some silver and some coppers, and the coins would be rather more heavily circulated and perhaps include more off-centeredness than the standard run of coins we package for collectors. The Ranger Purse we put together for Elleth was basically a double Pony Purse, with emphasis on as many variations of the silver sixpence denomination as we could come up with, including a few "outlandish" types (from the "outlands" as they say in The Shire).

Much fun! Hoping to introduce some new types this year, including older (pre- The Hobbit) and newer (SR-1419 and SR-1420) types. The SR-1419 types will be occupational currency in iron, issued under the authority of Sharkey and the Big Men... while the SR-1419 series will celebrate the restoration of The King and will (hopefully) be the most beautiful of all.
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Re: What has it got in its pocketses? .. Pt 1, Paying your way

Postby Zaskar24 » Mon Jan 01, 2018 5:05 pm

That is some great information Will! I did not know that about the copper from Michigan being the preferred type for motor windings, having worked in HVAC I have dealt with electrical motors!

I know that I would be interested in a "Pony Purse" if not the Ranger Purse that you put together for Elleth. I like the idea that the coins are circulated and not perfect as many coins of ages past were!
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Re: What has it got in its pocketses? .. Pt 1, Paying your way

Postby Mithdir » Mon Jan 01, 2018 5:18 pm

Will Whitfoot wrote:
Straelbora wrote:....This is where I carry thinks like a lump of rather pure copper I found in Michigan's Upper Peninsula years ago,...'

Ah... good call! Copper from the Copper Country! That is where I got my geology degree (Michigan Technological University in Houghton) and where I did a great deal of rockhounding and exploration of abandoned mines. The raw copper from the region tends to run about 99% copper with the remainder silver! It has superior forming and electrical properties due to the silver content. The so-called "Lake Copper" was specified for highest quality motor windings for decades, and would even be made by adding silver to copper when the real Michigan stuff was not available. Last time I was up there I arranged with Ken Flood at Keweenaw Gem and Gift to smelt some raw copper for me into bars. They were made from small miscellaneous bits from the waste-rock piles at the Isle Royal Mine in South Range and weigh a pound or so apiece... haven't figured what to do with them yet, but they're quite rustically attractive. Trade goods perhaps?

One thing we have done here at the mint is to produce something we call a "Pony Purse".. which is a small pouch of mixed loose circulated coinage totalling 12 silver pennies in value. (144 pence). The amount is chosen, of course, for the funds Frodo had to come up with to purchase a sickly pony in Bree. Typically a Pony purse would include some silver and some coppers, and the coins would be rather more heavily circulated and perhaps include more off-centeredness than the standard run of coins we package for collectors. The Ranger Purse we put together for Elleth was basically a double Pony Purse, with emphasis on as many variations of the silver sixpence denomination as we could come up with, including a few "outlandish" types (from the "outlands" as they say in The Shire).

Much fun! Hoping to introduce some new types this year, including older (pre- The Hobbit) and newer (SR-1419 and SR-1420) types. The SR-1419 types will be occupational currency in iron, issued under the authority of Sharkey and the Big Men... while the SR-1419 series will celebrate the restoration of The King and will (hopefully) be the most beautiful of all.


I am curious... where can I order the Pony Purse or the Ranger Purse? I have been browsing your website but cannot find it. Is it a special product?
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Re: What has it got in its pocketses? .. Pt 1, Paying your way

Postby Elleth » Mon Jan 01, 2018 5:56 pm

Thinking on trade goods a bit more....

.. I think it radically depends on where you are and where you're planning to be.

For most people in Eriador along the Great East Road, I expect coinage to be the order of the day, especially in Bree and points west into the Blue Mountains. If a person isn't in a settlement with a market economy, they likely travel to one often enough to trade that coin is usually readily accepted.

I think things start to get dicey a day or two east of Bree (if memory serves, the last roadside inn is somewhere along there), and coin becomes largely useless pretty much between Rivendell and Dale.. the elves of Mirkwood possibly excepted, if they can be convinced to actually stick around long enough to talk. Certainly they do carry on commerce with the men of the Long Lake, and so coinage isn't without utility to them.

I expect something similar going south from Bree - not much to speak of or people to trade with until you get into the lands of Gondor, at which point coinage becomes fairly ubiquitous again.

From the perspective of a Dunedain in the Angle, I don't think I'd carry much trade goods per se - but I'd expect a sort of "mutual favor / mutual aid" economy with the shepherds near the Trollshaws. A cask of mead or two sent up as a Yule gift now, some offered shelter in need then - so forth and so on. I'd expect relations with Rivendell to be diplomatic than commercial, and those with the Breelands and the Shire largely in cash-denominated barter. Sort of the "Ma Ingles goes to the country store" model.

Were I planning to travel through the Anduin Vale or the land of the Druedain, that's another story.
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Re: What has it got in its pocketses? .. Pt 1, Paying your way

Postby Straelbora » Mon Jan 01, 2018 6:11 pm

Zaskar24 wrote:This is something that I have started to look at not only for this but for Ren Faires and steampunk as well. I recently bought some sets of coins from Will and I know that I would interested in buying a mixed set like this. Thank you for posting this Elleth.

Straelbora, good point about the trade goods. When in the wilderness and attempting to buy something from a farmstead days or more way from a large city or even a small hamlet I would expect trade goods such as fur or raw unworked metals to be of more value than coins. Another option could be physical labor, helping to clear a field for planting, repairing damaged fences for livestock or even helping to build a new building come to mind.

Elleth and Straelbora, where did you get your coin pouches from? Or did you craft them yourselves?


The labor is a very good point. In my project of converting an old house to a Middle-earth inn, a lot of what has held me back is that I'm normally at the place alone, or with my 100 pounds soaking wet wife or my boys who are still in elementary school. I made a door out of salvaged barn wood 2x4s (actually two inches by four inches!) and had to wait a month to hang it until my strapping nephew came down from Detroit to hunt.

I made my coin pouch. I'm terrible at sewing and have many several pouches of various designs. Private message me your address and I'll see if I can't slap to gether one from a nice piece of doe hide I have.
Vápnum sínum skala maðr velli á
feti ganga framar því at óvist er at vita
nær verðr á vegum úti geirs um þörf guma
Hávamál
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Elleth
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Re: What has it got in its pocketses? .. Pt 1, Paying your way

Postby Elleth » Mon Jan 01, 2018 6:16 pm

labor: absolutely! Strong backs with quick minds are always useful on a farmstead. Provided you can get them to trust you. :)

Elleth and Straelbora, where did you get your coin pouches from? Or did you craft them yourselves?


Ooops! Forgot to say - yes, I made mine as well. But coinpurses are quite simple to sew. I use goatskin I purchase from rolipel via etsy or ebay, sew them with linen, and treat with dubbin. If I dye them, I tend to use walnut or vinagaroon prior to dubbining, but I've been meaning to experiment with other colors.

If you don't want to go through the bother, Karl Robinson in the UK does some amazing work at very reasonable prices:

http://www.karlrobinson.co.uk/other_bag ... _purse.php
http://www.karlrobinson.co.uk/other_bag ... _purse.php

Period materials, I think period techniques.. I truly don't think you can do better, especially for the money.
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Re: What has it got in its pocketses? .. Pt 1, Paying your way

Postby celegon » Mon Jan 01, 2018 7:51 pm

That's awesome, I was wondering myself on if they would be willing to sell me a mixture of coins like that, I guess you answered my question :D
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Re: What has it got in its pocketses? .. Pt 1, Paying your way

Postby Zaskar24 » Mon Jan 01, 2018 8:42 pm

Thank you very much for the offer Straelbora. I appreciate the offer but think that it is time that I try my hand at making things like this for myself! At least until I get frustrated and just buy it that is! I have to see about making a trip down there one day as you are not that far away. I really need to start working on acquiring things besides weapons, like soft kit and other additions.

Elleth, thank you for the links as well as the information on how you make coin purses. While it is nice and cold here in the Chicago area I will start to try my hand at this. Especially since the strong back is not as young as it once was!

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