Shire Post News

A Quick History of the New <i>Shirepost.com</i>!

A Quick History of the New Shirepost.com!

Welcome to the new Shirepost.com! We've worked quite a lot on this new website and we hope it works well and is enjoyable for you. Shire Post Mint actually has a long history on the web and I think it's quite interesting to see how we got to where we are today! Let's take a quick trip in the Wayback Machine and look at a little history of Shirepost.com before we talk about some of the neat features of the new website.

 

The Old Shire Post

In the beginning, Shire Post was created by Tom Maringer as a kind of newsletter for for fans of THE LORD OF THE RINGS™ and THE HOBBIT™ to correspond via actual postal mail. But perhaps that's another blog post.

When Shire Post moved to the world wide web in the early 2000s, it was primarily a fan site for like-minded fans to congregate, converse, make art, and have fun.

Old Shire Post website banner: "You have found your way to: Shire Post - Located prominently on the South-East corner of the central square of Waymoot, West Farthing...""

As you can see below, message boards were added where all sorts of intricacies of life in The Shire could be discussed.

Old message boards with sections reading: "Office of the Post: Discussions related to the Postal Service. Office of the Watch: Shiriff business: Conflict resolution, complains, stray animals, wolf sightings etc. Office of the Survey: Discussion of maps, towns, street names etc. Office of the Shire Mint: Matters having to do with the coin of the realm. The Leaning Tree Inn, Waymoot: Relax, sip the beverage of your choice and discuss anything at all. Larry Lakebridge: Moderator."

Not long after this, Tom bought his first press and started experimenting with minting coins as they would have been made in the The Shire. A picture of one of these early was shared with the community in late 2001:

A screenshot of an old webpage from shirepost.com showing a very early coin

 Fast forward to 2003, and Tom's coin minting experiments had been noticed by another fan and creator of fantasy worlds: George R. R. Martin! George was interested in bringing some of the currencies from his A Song of Ice and Fire novels into the real world. They started working together and developing the coinage of Westeros further. The Robert Baratheon Star was the first coin struck, and by 2004 coins from the several of the Seven Kingdoms, as well as a few other interesting coins, were available for fans on Shirepost.com.

Screenshot of old shirepost.com with image of our Robert Baratheon Star and link: "Coins inspired by the fictional works of George R. R. Martin"

Shire Post was now Shire Post Mint, and it continued to grow as it took a greater focus on minting fantasy coins. Tom was able to work with more great fantasy authors, and mint more and types of interesting coinage. The website was redesigned several times, and many of our fans probably remember when it looked like this, circa early 2015:

Shire Post Mint older website header

Not long after this, in the middle of 2015, Shire Post Mint got the license for Tom to design, mint, and sell official coins from The Lord of the Rings™ and The Hobbit™. As a huge fan of these books that inspired his coining quest, this was a hugely exciting moment that in some ways brought Tom's journey full-circle.

 

The New Shire Post

That brings us up to today! We have an entirely new website built on the Shopify platform which should provide an elegant and more robust browsing and checkout experience. Here are some neat new features we've added to the new site that I hope you find helpful.


Navigation

One of the first aspects you'll notice is improved navigation. We make licensed coins from the worlds of many different authors, and it's important to us you're able to easily get to the coins you're most excited about. Our drop down 'Catalog' menu lets you quickly view product categories of all of the different coins we make.

 

Flipping Coins

We've taken the time to re-photograph each side of our entire catalog of coins with consistent lighting and in very high resolution. Once you start browsing coins, you'll notice that you can quickly view the reverse of each coin simply by mousing over the product. If you're on mobile, a quick tap-and-hold accomplishes the same effect.

 

Animated .GIF of Shire Post coins flipping as they are moused over

Coin Size

Another issue our customers have when buying our coins online is getting an accurate sense of what they're buying. Unfortunately, no online representation will ever equal holding the coin in your hand. We can give you coin size measurements in inches or centimeters, but even if you do get out the ruler, it can be hard to tell how big the coin feels. In order to easily answer the question, How big are the coins really?, every product listing includes a comparison image that compares the coin or coin set to a United States quarter as well as a 1 Euro coin. We hope this gives the majority of our customers a quick indication of what they're buying. Check out the example image of our Nymeros Martell Copper Star below:

Size Comparison image of Nymeros Martell Copper Star

Zoom

A great feature for evaluating coins online in detail is the zoom. You can quickly view any of our coin images in even greater detail by clicking on the images and moving the mouse. It's a nice way to see the small details and texture of the coin without having to pop open new windows or take up too much time.


Animated .GIF of Be Good/Stay Evil Decision Maker being zoomed in on

Search

Be sure you don't miss our search feature! It's just a small box in the top-right, but you can do some interesting things it. You can search by product name or type, of course, but you can also search for an author, a character, a coin's metal, or even denomination.

Search is a useful feature if you want to see all coins struck in nickel silver, or maybe all of our products related to Daenerys Targaryen. You can also search for blog posts like this one if you want to find them again easily.

Blogs

The final thing that makes the new Shirepost.com different are blog posts like the one you're reading right now. We want these to be more than just announcements, but to also be informative and interesting. Some posts will talk about the technical details of the coining process, while others will go into more depth about the lore and history surrounding the coins that we make.

Check back here often or follow us on social media if you want to know keep up with the latest developments at Shire Post Mint.

I hope you enjoy the new website. We'll be adding to it going forward, so don't hesitate to contact us if you have any issues or suggestions. Thanks again, friends!


Header image based on great Amiga 1000 photo by Blake Patterson

1 comment

May 20, 2017

It is good to see you guys again! I miss the letters and parties from the old days. It was such fun. Best wishes.

Audra A Lowery

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