What started as a fan-art project to encourage immersive fantasy has grown into a company that invites fans to hold artifacts from worlds that never were.
Though the origins of this company began in the 60s, it was in September of 1987 when Shire Post Mint began its evolution into the business we know today. Located in Springdale, Arkansas, Tom Maringer launched Shire Post based on a desire to explore the world of fantasy by taking it in a new, tactile direction. He envisioned a company that would specialize in products that had the goal of “making fantasy realms tangible” through trinkets and collectibles that brought the stories to life. Since that time (well over 25 years now) he has been doing just that. Along the way Shire Post became officially licensed to do work for George R.R. Martin’s “A Game of Thrones” series, Robert E Howard’s “Conan” series, Robert Jordan’s “The Wheel of Time” series, L.E. Modesitt’s “The Saga of Recluce” series, Patrick Rothfuss’ “The Kingkiller Chronicle” series, Edgar Rice Burroughs’ “John Carter of Mars” and “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien.
That said, Shire Post Mint wasn’t actually Maringer’s first company. In 1975 he started Maringer Custom Cutlery and made hand-crafted knives and swords for many years, gaining quite a reputation for quality at knife shows throughout the United States and Europe. He’s also tried his hand at writing describing his book “A Superior State Of Affairs” as Big Bang Theory meets Northern Exposure in Warehouse 13. It was eventually published by AuthorHouse and is available for purchase still today. Along the course of his life, he even completed a couple of degrees in Geosciences from Michigan Tech and the University of Arkansas, married, and raised a family (some of whom work with him today). Through Shire Post Mint he would move into making fantasy postage stamps in 1987 and obtained his first press for making fantasy coins in 2001. It would take his connection to Game of Thrones in 2003 and that line’s solid success to really evolve the operation into a profession. Since then, Shire Post has grown their staff and their reach as collectors follow their work with anticipation for each new release. Over the years they’ve expanded what they make to include coins, tokens, buttons, badges, trinkets, baubles, pendants, charms, pins, and more all the while maintaining traditional materials and techniques. At times the company even employs vintage tooling and antique machinery using hand-carving dies, tumbling, and chemically or thermally treating the coins. In this way, they give the coins a weathered look that really feels like aged currency. The company explains “creating an old look and feel is simple if the piece is actually done the old way”. In this, they add a level of authenticity to a piece that is hard to equal. It’s not just a matter of making fantasy seem real, but rather bringing objects into the world to share a “sense-of-place”. This helps make the fantasy universes they model feel that much more real. Maringer explains it best…
“Our primary goal is to increase fans’ immersive experience in their favorite fantasies by creating simple tactile objects to enhance the sense-of-place and contribute to a state of ‘Suspension Of Disbelief’ or ‘SOD’ with respect to the beloved fantasy realm. Our goal was fully realized when a fan commented: ‘I thought those stories were made up… but these coins are REAL!’ We hope that everybody may be enabled to experience such a SOD experience, even if it’s only for a moment. To feel the world of Middle-Earth take shape around you as you jingle some Hobbit coins in your hand… THAT is the best thing ever!”