Saturday, June 28, 2014

Tolkien Spotting (COINAGE MAGAZINE)

So, in the long-ago I was a coin collector (I still carry my favorite coin, which my father bought for me when I was in second grade, in my pocket every day*). So of course I was interested when I heard of a stash of old gold coins found out in California last year, but the few news reports I saw were more speculative than informative. So when I saw that the June issue of COINAGE magazine had not one but two features on what they're now calling 'The Saddle Ridge Hoard", it seemed a good enough reason to pick up the magazine and see what coin collecting's like these days (when it seems more about bullion value than anything else).

The articles were both quite interesting, both in their detailed accounts about the finding of the hoard and also details about the coins themselves. But what wound up interesting me most was an unexpected Tolkien reference right in the middle of the first piece, "Gold Is Where You Find It: The Saddle Ridge Hoard" by Tom DeLorey.

After recounting how the finders discovered the hoard, how the coins were stashed, and how much they were worth, the author explains how

The finders prudently wish to remain anonymous, lest would-be plunderers with their own metal detectors descend upon their property in the manner that certain inhabitants of Hobbiton descended upon Bag End at the start of "The Lord of the Rings" This is a very wise precaution on the couple's part, for as J. R. R. Tolkien wrote: "legendary gold (mysteriously obtained, if not positively ill-gotten) is, as every one knows, any one's for the finding -- unless the search is interrupted.   (p. 11)

I was delighted by how apt the citation was, and pleased that it derives entirely from the book, as no such scene appears in the movie.

--John R.

*I also usually carry three more in my back pocket: a 1907 Indian Head Penny, a 2001 Sacajawea, and whatever's the latest presidential dollar (I'm working on having the only circulated set anywhere) -- though I'm lagging behind, my current coin being Wilson -- probably from a reluctance to carry around a coin devoted to a president as bad as Harding.


David Bratman said...

There were worse presidents before Harding. He wasn't all bad: the half of his cabinet who weren't crooks were outstandingly good.

John D. Rateliff said...

Not all bad, no. But definitely a stinker, way down at or near the bottom of the presidential list. And I don't think much of the non-criminal element among his cabinet, who like Harding himself did a lot to set up the disasters that came home to roost in the following quarter-century. Plus, on a personal level, he's the kind of glad-handing hypocrite I particularly dislike, so there's a personal element in there as well.

--John R.