In The Phantom Menace, after Anakin wins the race, they sell the pod and give the money to Shmi. In Watto's words: "No pod is worth two slaves", however, clearly a pod is worth at least one slave given that Watto betted Anakin.

After the race Watto also says that he "lost everything", therefore, one would assume that he would be more inclined to sell Shmi to get back some money.

Plus, they still have the 20,000 Republic Dataries, which, assuming have the same value as Imperial Credits, could almost buy two ships according to Luke. And from the Original Trilogy we also know that at least some people in Mos Eisley accept Imperial Credits, making it possible to exchange the Republic Credits to something that has value in Mos Eisley.

  • 4
    Didn't Shmi trade her freedom for Anakin, who needed to get off planet because he killed Greedo? And there wasn't enough money to buy them both after Qui-Gon spent all the rest of their cash buying new ion cannon for the ship.
    – DavidW
    Mar 17 at 17:53
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    How could Imperial Credit exist before the creation of the Empire?
    – Skooba
    Mar 17 at 18:04
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    @DavidW - That's not precisely my recollection of events.
    – Valorum
    Mar 17 at 18:42
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    @Valorum Sure, it was after Qui-Gon hocked the ship to pay for fixing the race, then changed his mind, sold guns to the Sand People to increase the odds against Anakin, and promised himself, Obi-Wan and Padme as slaves or bounty fodder to various parties in exchange for favours. That's how I remember it. :D
    – DavidW
    Mar 17 at 18:47
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    @Valorum Do the movies establish that a slave could not earn their own money? It was common in both ancient Rome and the American South for a slave to eventually earn enough money to buy their own freedom.
    – chepner
    Mar 17 at 19:02

According to the film's official novelisation, there wasn't enough money from selling the pod to buy Shmi from Watto, noting that he was also not keen to sell, now that he's down to a single slave.

Qui-Gon and his mother exchanged a worried glance, and he knew the answer before the Jedi spoke the words. “I tried to free your mother, Annie, but Watto wouldn’t have it. Slaves give status and lend prestige to their owners here on Tatooine.”

The boy felt his chest and throat tighten. “But the money from selling …”

Qui-Gon shook his head. “It’s not nearly enough.”

  • I vaguely remember having had the impression Qui-Gon was pulling a "from a certain point of view" here, either not wanting to take Shmi along at all or considering it being best for Anakin or her to stay...
    – Zommuter
    Mar 19 at 13:06
  • @Zommuter - That's possible, but there's no substantive indication of it in the film or the books. It's not in the way of the Jedi to take adults along for the ride.
    – Valorum
    Mar 19 at 14:03

Also have to factor in they still needed to buy the hyperdrive for their ship. The gamble was for Anakin, the pod was for parts. Watto lost everything because he made several large bets with several other people because he thought the race was fixed and "sebulba always wins" losing a lot of bets doesn't suddenly make republic credits worth anything either. Sure he may have been more likely to accept them but not if he didn't believe he couldn't spend them, which is the main reason he didn't accept such currency in the first place.

As for the 20,000 republic credits ship. 20K wasn't worth much for ship trade because interplanetary travel was largely commercial trade and shuttle travel. Not many outside the super elite had their own ships. For the clone wars bothe separatist and republic planets were urged to boost ship and parts production across the galaxy. Innovations in design, quality, materials and techniques combined with the newly trained workforce allowed postwar production to switch over to commercial and private sector needs as well as Imperial military needs (see post WW2 and airplanes). This significantly reduced overall cost of buying and maintaining a vessel for private use

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    Hi, welcome to SF&F. Some of this seems quite speculative; do you have any evidence for the economics of space travel? Note that story takes place well before the Clone Wars_ so even if your theory is correct it doesn't apply.
    – DavidW
    Sep 16 at 22:09

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