Hello everyone,

After seeing a certain Game Theory episode, I started wondering: How much is the currency in Middle-earth -- the Silver Coin -- worth in real life dollars?

For this comparison, I am going to use Canadian dollars, due to my living in Canada. As you'll soon see, there are quite a few ways to approach this question.

Using the mass of a coin

An ingot of silver consists of 1/9th of a block of Silver, which measuring 1m3, would have a mass of 10.5. That means that the silver block weighs a total of 10.5 metric tons, and each ingot would weigh 1.167 tons.

Now consider that you can get nine nuggets of silver out of an ingot, and each nugget makes one coin. Therefore, each coin weighs 130kg. With today's silver prices ($767 Canadian/kg), that one coin would cost... approximately $100,000 Canadian, which is more than enough to by Tesla Cybertruck (~$60,000).

Using the price of real-world items

My above calculation leads to some excessively heavy coins that are absurdly valuable. So, for this calculation, I'm going to use traders and compare their prices for items to the real world equivalent.

For example, an iron axe is bought by a Gondor Lumberman for 6-10 coins. A long-handled axe costs around $60. Therefore, each silver coin would be worth ~$6.00-10.00

An iron pickaxe is bought by a Gondorian Stonemason for 6-10 coins. A pickaxe costs anywhere from $20-80, depending on the weight, so each silver coin would be worth ~$3.00-10.00

The Gondorian stonemason also buys a loaf of bread for 2-3 coins. Since bread is worth around $5-$10 (depending on the type), each silver coin is worth ~$1.67-3.33.

When the same analysis is done on the same trader's offer of buying an empty bucket for 2-4 coins, and a corresponding real-life equivalent costs $30, each silver coin is worth ~$7.50-15.00

Averaging the price of these items, each silver coin is worth ~$10.00 Canadian, which seems to be a reasonable value for a coin that you might carry in your pocket.

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