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Topic: currency

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Elf of Rivendell - Rank 2
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Date: Jan 26, 2007
currency

Can anyone tell me if they used any form of money in the Shire as no mention is made of this, although Bilbo was always having food delivered to him?

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Fundin, Lord of Moria - Rank 5
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Date: Jan 26, 2007
In A Long-Expected Party Bilbo gave a few pennies away at one point... and later (though not in the Shire) there is mention of Butterbur's 'thirty silver pennies', for a couple examples in general.

Galin

-- Edited by Galin at 12:09, 2007-01-26

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Witchking of Angmar - Rank 10
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Date: Jan 26, 2007

I would expect that earlier in the Third Age each more developed community had its own currency.

However after the Shire, Esgaroth and other areas came under the control of the Reunited Kingdom I would expect that only currency was chosen for everyone.

I don't think that Tolkien gives us much detail on currency and prices in Middle-earth, though one could for example take examples from the European cultures from the Middle-Ages.

We know gold and silver were used as metals for currency, as we see these metals in the treasuries of the Dwarves, though their exact value is not made certain. Anyway, it's pretty clear the Dwarves also made a lot of profit from selling raw gold or silver ore to other people who needed it for currency. I would expect that not so well developed people like the Woodmen or the Easterlings only traded by exchanging different products, and that they did not have well established currencies.

Interesting question btw 

 



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Honor, Freedom, Fatherland
Fundin, Lord of Moria - Rank 5
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Date: Jan 26, 2007
An interesting bit in The Peoples of Middle-Earth (in The Appendix on Languages) reads...


'Similarly farthing has been used for the four divisions of the Shire, because the Hobbit word tharni was an old word for 'quarter' seldom used in ordinary language, where the word for 'quarter' was tharantín 'fourth part'. In Gondor tharni was used for a silver coin, the fourth part of the castar (in Noldorin the canath or fourth part of the mirian).'

Galin



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Witchking of Angmar - Rank 10
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Date: Jan 26, 2007

Very interesting quote, I really like the topic...

Please do post any other quotes on currencies that you find. 



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Honor, Freedom, Fatherland
Anarion, Son of Elendil - rank 8
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Date: Jan 27, 2007
"When the old man, helped by Bilbo and some dwarves, had finished unloading. Bilbo gave a few pennies away; but not a single squib or cracker was forthcoming, to the disappointment of the onlookers."

"Bill Ferny's price was twelve silver pennies; and that was indeed at least three times the pony's value in those pans."

A couple more quotes from LOTR.


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Samwise Gamgee - rank 9
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Date: Jan 28, 2007
This also brings the question as to what other currency amounts were there apart from pennies. perhaps chillings, half crowns, groats, pounds etc. In fact I am sure I have heard of Chillings somewhere in there...

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Hobbit youth - Rank 2
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Date: Jul 28, 2010
Shire currency and that of other realms in ME happens to be a topic very dear to my heart.

Please see the thread "Hobbit Origins" for a more complete discussion.... but yes, the "penny" and "silver penny" are the two denominations actually mentioned by Tolkien. When I first encountered the idea of Bill the Pony being worth only four silver pennies I was rather shocked as that seemed a small price for a pack animal. On further research the medieval English silver penny turned out to be equivalent to a week's wages for a skilled laborer. That placed an entirely different value upon it!! The other non-silver "penny" that was mentioned was obviously not so valuable since Bilbo was giving them away to children who ran off to buy candy. So it's clear that this one was copper or perhaps some other base metal.

It appears that early in the 1400s by the Shire Reckoning the mayor was able to obtain a coining press that was made by the Dwarves and brought down to Michel Delving in a sturdy wagon from the Blue Mountains. From that point onward the hobbits have created their own metal currency and within a few years the motley assortment of other coins disappeared from ciurculation. My avatar is the obverse side of the 1402 Shire silver penny... with an oak tree on obverse and the inscription "Suza Bar Kuduk, Belegroth" on obverse. (Translation: "Shire, abode of the Hobbits, Michel Delving Mint") where the Hobbits by tradition used the tengwar lettering in an ancient mode for their inscriptions, but used their own Kuduk language and the Elvish place names. (much as the English continued to use latin inscriptions on their coins for over 1500 years after the Roman legions departed).



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Will Whitfoot
Mayor/Postmaster
Central Post Office
#1 Delving Street (Just by the Inn)
Waymoot, WF, The Shire
Samwise Gamgee - rank 9
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Posts: 2372
Date: Jul 30, 2010
Interesting coin Will. Is that genuine Tolkien work, or just some fan-art or some such? I didn't know Tolkien had gone so far as to draw his own coins.

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Hobbit youth - Rank 2
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Date: Jul 30, 2010
Ah... so you really have not seen these? As Mayor I also double as postmaster and mintmaster. We got a very nice vintage manual coining press from the Dwarves back in 1401 and started making our own coinage. My avatar is the classic 1402 silver penny... in 6.2 grams of 90% silver... struck while we were still on the duodecimal system. In the monetary revision of 1404 we switched to the octal system in order to accord with the Gondoran system of tharni and kastari so the actual values of the coins becomes a little confusing. Generally it is easiest to think of them in terms of the most basic unit of value, the penny.

Shire coinage is of the following types, in order of increasing monetary value (not considering numismatic scarcity or emergency provisional issues. Note that the highest two denominations have never actually been made, examples of all others are known to exist in collector's hands):

farthing: value of 1/4 penny. copper or brass, at least ten types knowne
haypenny: value of 1/2 penny. copper or brass, at least eight types knowne
penny: value of 1 penny, copper or brass, at least eight types knowne
tuppence: value of two pence, copper, four types knowne
thrupny bit: value of three pence, copper, three types knowne
sixpence: value of six pence, silver, four types knowne
tharni: value of eight pence, silver, four types knowne
shilling: (aka silver penny), value of twelve pence, silver, three types knowne
half kastar: value of sixteen pence, silver, four types knowne
kastar: value of thirty two pence, silver, four types knowne
quarter crown: gold, value of sixty four pence, three types knowne
half crown: gold, value of one hundred twenty eight pence, one type knowne
crown: gold, value of two hundred fifty six pence, planned but never struck
dragon: gold, value of five hundred twelve pence, planned but never struck

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Will Whitfoot
Mayor/Postmaster
Central Post Office
#1 Delving Street (Just by the Inn)
Waymoot, WF, The Shire
Hobbit youth - Rank 2
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Posts: 38
Date: Jul 31, 2010
A collector has created this site as a stab at trying to catalougue the Shire Post coins. It is NOT a sales site but more of a museum. He's taken some very nice photos and collected a lot of information. Many of the FAQs can be answered here.

http://www.less-than-zero.co.uk/coins/index.php



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Will Whitfoot
Mayor/Postmaster
Central Post Office
#1 Delving Street (Just by the Inn)
Waymoot, WF, The Shire
Rohirrim of Edoras - Rank 4
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Posts: 395
Date: Jul 31, 2010
Wow, Master Whitfoot. I'm impressed with the knowledge. Having no interest in the monetary intricacies of the lore I never thought about it before. I'm always amazed at the richness and diversity that I see here on the forum concerning the works of Tolkien. Here is my official welcome to you and I look forward to reading more of your posts!

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Fundin, Lord of Moria - Rank 5
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Date: Jul 31, 2010
Well, and I don't mean this to be negative, but some of this is mixing fan-fiction with attested Tolkien.

Again, no problem with that, but when MOS asked: 'Is that genuine Tolkien work, or just some fan-art or some such?' I think he was wondering along those lines maybe.

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Rohirrim of Edoras - Rank 4
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Date: Jul 31, 2010
Oh, I see. I'm more of stick to the books sort of gal. Interesting stuff though.

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Hobbit youth - Rank 2
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Posts: 38
Date: Jul 31, 2010
Galin wrote:

Well, and I don't mean this to be negative, but some of this is mixing fan-fiction with attested Tolkien.

Again, no problem with that, but when MOS asked: 'Is that genuine Tolkien work, or just some fan-art or some such?' I think he was wondering along those lines maybe.



Fair enough. I won't break character often, but yes it's important to be clear. I was tremendously impressed by Tolkien's "voice" as narrator and  chronicler... as if the entire tale was true history and he was just putting it down. I tend to follow that lead. I generally assume that people who are fanatic enough about Tolkien to haunt these boards have at least read THE HOBBIT, all three volumes of THE LORD OF THE RINGS, (plus at least skimmed the appendices and have an idea what's there... and hopefully the SILMARILLION, and have of course seen the Peter Jackson film adaptations as well.  If folk have that much background then they know enough that they don't have to ask the question... they KNOW that these are fan-art productions (though the phrase "just some fan-art or some such" has a rather dismissive tone).  In this case I think Tolkien sketched out a wide panel and expects us to fill in the details. I would gladly have purchased Shire coins if any had been available when I first thought about it... but there were none and apparently nobody had ever even thought to make any. So I took it upon myself to do so, even though at the time I knew little about coinmaking (being mostly a knife and sword maker). I worked with master engravers, Tolkien linguists, medieval coin experts, and master machinists to learn the process and create something as real as conceivably possible... coins FROM the fantasy realm... not coins ABOUT the fantasy realm. It was all done using antique equipment, traditionally made tooling appropriate to the technological status of the realm, and real coining materials, including custom alloys and the exotic metals titanium, niobium, hafnium, and tantalum as stand-ins for the mythical metals; mithril, ithildin, and galvorn. The effort was epic and consumed several years of my life. It exists now as a body of work that is widely distributed out there in the universe of fans.

I have no problem at all, ever, with fan-art, as long as people are putting their best efforts forward and grounding their work in literary scholarship. (I don't particularly care for movie based fan-art. My biggest complaint with the Peter Jackson films is that his particular vision has now contaminated and narrowed the imagination of millions.)

So back in character... these coins are all actually FROM Middle Earth you see (wink wink) and were transmitted to our world via an interdimensional technique that is more than likely the same or similar to the one that The Professor used to learn all about ME and its stories. He had wisely kept secret the fact that actual artifacts (or "artyfacts) could be translated as well as pure text. My apologies for blowing the secret... but it's just too much FUN!

In service to Eru

Will.

 



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Will Whitfoot
Mayor/Postmaster
Central Post Office
#1 Delving Street (Just by the Inn)
Waymoot, WF, The Shire
Lord Elrond of Rivendell - Rank 9
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Posts: 2960
Date: Jul 31, 2010
All,
Seems to me we have room for "artyfacts", "mathoms", and imagination.
And we "need" at the same time to honor what Tolkien actually created.
But isn't it in our best interests to have a little fun?
Will - thank you for honoring our boundaries and providing a bit of imaginative fun.
And clapping my Bear paws together for mouth of sauron and Galin for maintaining the integrity of our site and the authenticity of Tolkien's real work ...

There appears to be a balance between imaginative play and "counterfeiting"
And it also appears that by breaking character for a moment Will Whitfoot has made that border clear.
Seems to me we have room for "artyfacts", "mathoms", and imagination.
And we "need" at the same time to honor what Tolkien actually created.
But isn't it in our best interests to have a little fun?
Will - thank you for honoring our boundaries and providing a bit of imaginative fun.
And clapping my Bear paws together for mouth of sauron and Galin for maintaining the integrity of our site and the authenticity of Tolkien's real work ...

There appears to be a balance between imaginative play and "counterfeiting " Middle-earth.

And it also appears that by breaking character for a moment Will Whitfoot has made that border clear.


I think what is important here ... really the
HUGE backdrop ... is the issue of RESPECT; for Tolkien's work and the work of Will Whitfoot.
Both are welcome in my eyes.
What "Will Whitfoot" is doing is a little deeper "role playing".
About the same as visiting "The White Dragon" with Sam Gamgee tending bar and Rosie cooking while little Elanor sits on my bear lap begging me to tell her stories about Elves and Dwarves.  The fireplace, my chair beside it, and a mug of hot hard cider seems to me a beautiful place to enjoy Tolkien's world ... though it is not his authentic words.

With "Will's work" I can manage to pay and "know" what size tip to leave Rosie ... and play a little more ... having fun.

STILL ...

"The watch must be kept on the boundaries or soon you will have none ..."
AND
"All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy ..."


And for what it is worth ...
Maybe a haypenny?


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Fundin, Lord of Moria - Rank 5
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Date: Jul 31, 2010
As far as I know, in the 'lore forums' one can be in character and post about anything.  But stuff that's invented -- invented in fun and out of love for the tales no doubt -- to fill some gaps, I assume that goes in roleplaying forums.

I'm no MOD but I think that's the way of things at most Tolkien chat sites. Again, there seems to be nothing negative about keeping the two apart, it just helps with clarity I think.

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Lord Elrond of Rivendell - Rank 9
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Posts: 2960
Date: Aug 1, 2010
Galin,
As I "live" on this Forum as a "Bear" I agree.
Sometimes, in my work, I meet patients who pretend they are someone else.
As long as they know they are playing at being "someone else" it is OK.
If they believe they are that "someone else" that my warning bells go off.

I think this is a Forum where it is "OK to play".
But I agree ... we have to know what is play and what is real.
Perhaps Lady Arwen or the One can help us where this thread belongs?

I want to encourage "Will Whitfoot" that this is a place where he "can play and still be OK".

How about you?
Sincerely,
Bear


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Thorin Oakenshield - Rank 6
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Date: Aug 1, 2010
I can't see any problem with an in-character member, it is just something we are not used to.wink.gif.

Perhaps if something does involve a direct out-of-character comment one could just provide a "OOC:...." at the bottom of their post?

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Lord Elrond of Rivendell - Rank 9
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Date: Aug 1, 2010
Mr. Baggins,
The Bear agrees.
"OOC"? An interesting suggestion.
For use when we need it?


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Hobbit youth - Rank 2
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Posts: 38
Date: Aug 1, 2010
OOC

Thanks for the comments and I like the idea of being able to stay in character as much as possible and just tagging certain posts with OOC as needed. Perhaps it might be best to both start and end a post (i.e. "bracket") with OOC so it's clear.

There was one particular event that cemented in my heart and mind why I do what I do. A person had received some of the coins I'd made as a gift from a friend and eventually found his way to my website and emailed me. Their comment was "I don't understand... I've read the books, but I thought they were just stories... but these coins are real!"

That sums up what it's all about for me... if for even a moment we can suspend disbelief and hold Middle Earth in our hearts as REAL, then everything in it becomes real as well. The heroic struggle, the joys, the adventure, the respect, the surges of valor, the pain of doubts, and perhaps even the horrors. It adds to our inner experience in a way that touches something deeper than the calculative mind and can perhaps even inform the development of our own personalities. Creating small everyday objects that can function as talismans or touchstones or mind focalization points... whatever you want to call them... items that can aid in the suspension of disblief... that's what I do.

OOC

All the Best!

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Will Whitfoot
Mayor/Postmaster
Central Post Office
#1 Delving Street (Just by the Inn)
Waymoot, WF, The Shire
Rohirrim of Edoras - Rank 4
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Posts: 395
Date: Aug 1, 2010
All,

I have no problem with Will Whitfoot operating "in character" while on this forum. I think, to some extent, we all do. I do, however, come to this forum for affirmation and knowledge. I enjoy the discussions because they usually clarify an idea or open a new one for me that I can research using the works of Tolkien. That I may or may not be able to hold something as a truth, when it is presented as one, does bother me a bit. The truth of the matter is, we do have members that are new enough to Tolkien that they wouldn't know that the coin list given was actually never made by Tolkien. I am continuously amazed by the depth of knowledge of the members on this forum and did not myself know that there was inded not a book with this info in it. I have read Tolkien extensively but do not begin to imagine that I a) have read everything he wrote or b) remember everything I've read. Definitely I feel there needs to be a seperation of role playing and serious discussion. I'm not a member of this forum because I need to believe this is a real place. I'm a member of this forum because I love the works and want to learn all I can about them. Not all of the members have access to every book Tolkien wrote and this is where they come for exposure to the work. I do not feel that members should be limited in thier interaction but that the intent of thier interactions should be clear. Looking back on Master Whitfoot's post, I probably should have not taken it as Tolkien based. I thought that it was an "in character" post based on the actual work. I'm not sure what the solution is, which is why someone else will work out this snafu but I'm sure there is one.



-- Edited by lomoduin on Sunday 1st of August 2010 09:21:47 PM

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Anarion, Son of Elendil - rank 8
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I think the ooc idea will prevent any further misunderstandings.

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Auta  i  lómë! 
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Rohirrim of Edoras - Rank 4
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Date: Aug 4, 2010
So after every post that is not a character post but rather an informtional post I should type ooc. How many of these fantastical ic post will there be?

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Samwise Gamgee - rank 9
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I think as Will Whitfoot is the only one to post in-character I suppose this really only applies to him?

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Rohirrim of Edoras - Rank 4
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Date: Aug 5, 2010
Just clarifying so I know what is expexted of all of us. I don't think many more of us post quite as "in character" but want to be sure.

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Lord Elrond of Rivendell - Rank 9
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Posts: 2960
Date: Aug 5, 2010
Maybe you should join the Bear at the "White Dragon" for some of Sam Gamgee's brew and Rosie's lembas ... by the fire ... listening to the Gaffer tell us what is wrong with the Shire?

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Being lies with Eru - Rank 1
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Date: October 4th
Greetings all: Returning once more as Mayor Will Whitfoot. The difference is that Shire Post Mint is now formally licensed! Formerly (as in the thread above) my coinage work for Middle-earth was simply fan art and created by myself and for myself and with the help of several other scholars and craftspeople. The coining operation grew from those small beginnings to include several other fantasy series, including the A GAME OF THRONES series (A Song of Ice and Fire) by George R.R. Martin, as well as CONAN the Barbarian by Robert E. Howard, The KINGKILLER CHRONICLE, by Patrick Rothfuss, and several others. In 2015 we were able to secure a formal licensing agreement with Saul Zaentz inc. to make book-based coinage for THE HOBBIT and THE LORD OF THE RINGS. The result is that we are now able to create officially authorized and licensed coinage for the realms of The Shire and other places of Middle-earth, subject to the approval of the licensor. The fact that we must perforce create new art where none existed is simply due to the fact that the professor had not enough time to create the richly immersive detail fans, such as myself, enjoy. I now have eight presses and six employees. Three of us are in the mint workshop five days a week, where we labor to create fantasy coins for a number of fictional worlds. The Shire is still dearest to my heart of them all. At the moment I have made something like forty different coins of The Shire, denominations of farthings, haypennies, pennies, tuppences, thrupnies, sixpences, shillings, double shillings, and half crowns. We've done those from various years from SR-1401 to SR-1407, leading from the year of Bilbo's 111th birthday party onward towards the events of the War of the Ring. Coin inscriptions are in Tengwar, in the Kuduk tongue. Some varieties are obsolete (broken dies), but most of them can still be purchased in sets or singles at the Shire Post Mint website. Currently we are working on the occupational currency of the bad-year, SR-1419, when the Big Men overran the administration of The Shire, first under the authority of Lotho, but later under Sharkey. Those coins are made of iron, as are all the orkish coins of Angband and Mordor. The tree that has always graced the obverse of every Shire coin was replaced by a stylized "S" and the denomination revised to decimal. These occupational coins are ugly by design, inspired by the real-world occupational iron coinage of WWII in northern Europe. They are intended to give the nod to THE SCOURING OF THE SHIRE, a chapter of the book that was left entirely out of Peter Jackson's film adaptation, and form a counterpoint for the upcoming 1420 series, due to release early next year.

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