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How Much Loot Did Bilbo Baggins Get from Smaug?

In J.R.R. Tolkein's The Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins became extravagantly wealthy by looting the treasure of the dragon Smaug (which he split with the dwarves). In today's value, how much money was that? Forbes' Michael Noer ran some calculations and came up with $8 billion:

To keep the math relatively simple and to avoid complications like integrating the partial volume of a sphere, we can approximate Smaug’s bed of gold and silver to be a cone, with a radius of 9.6 feet (1/2 the diameter) and a height of 7 feet (assuming the weight of the dragon will smush down the point of the cone by about a foot).

Now we can calculate the volume of Smaug’s treasure mound:

V= 1/3 ? r2 h = 1/3 * ? * 9.62 * 7 = 675.6 cubic feet

But, obviously, the mound isn’t solid gold and silver. We know it has a “great two-handled cups” in it – one of which Bilbo steals – and probably human remains, not to mention the air space between the coins. Let’s assume that the mound is 30% air and bones. That makes the volume of the hoard that is pure gold and silver coins 472.9 cubic feet.

We know that Bilbo eventually takes his cut of the treasure in two small-chests, one filled with gold and the other filled with silver, so it seems safe to assume that the hoard is approximately ½ gold and ½ silver, or 236.4 cubic feet of each metal.


Link via Nerd Bastards | Image by deviantART user Remainaery

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Let's not forget that 2 handled cup that he took home, and got appraised at the Hobbiton Arts Center for 50 million dollars. A priceless elven heirloom that grants everlasting elven life to all those who drink from it.

give it up.
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More like $7 million or so (300 lbs gold and 300 lbs silver). Anything more then 300lbs each and the chests would break, plus he wouldn't be able to haul them.
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Why don't they focus on the only relevant part. He took TWO SMALL CHESTS. All his other meaningless calculations have to be wrong. He is saying two chests of 5'x5'x5'. That is like two U-Hauls... not chests.

Why not figure out how much loot you can maximally cram into a chest whatever you want to call that volume.
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