In the film The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, who plays the role of the Auctioneer who is in charge of disposing of Bilbo's house and belonging?

Was it Ian McNiece from Doc Martin or someone else?

enter image description here

  • Are you asking for the name of the actor? Jan 9, 2015 at 18:18
  • A surprisingly hard question to answer. In the books he was a Mr Grubb.
    – Valorum
    Jan 9, 2015 at 18:56
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    My guess is that Merv Smith played both Mr Grubb the elder AND Mr Grubb the auctioneer. Firstly, it would make sense to use the same actor to represent close family relations (physical likeness and all that); secondly, it's a movie...how often do production staff mess around with stories and characters and forget about consistency? They probably named both those characters Tosser Grub.
    – user35594
    Jan 28, 2015 at 20:34
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    @Richard - Doubt we will ever know unless it comes from an official source. But an interesting question nonetheless!
    – user35594
    Jan 30, 2015 at 20:45
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    @Richard, indeed was the first to post a plausible answer so it's only fair to receive the bounty aswell :)
    – user35594
    Jan 30, 2015 at 20:49

5 Answers 5


According to the DVD subtitles, the person who Bilbo meets going up the hill is Worrywort and the auctioneer is Tosser.

enter image description here

enter image description here

The actor is therefore confirmed as Mervyn Smith.

  • "Tosser". Fnarr fnarr.
    – user8719
    Apr 17, 2015 at 21:42
  • You have my upvote and shall receive the bounty accordingly.
    – Valorum
    Apr 17, 2015 at 22:02

Based on what I could find I'd say it's probably Mervyn (Merv) Smith.

On the IMDb full cast & crew page Mervyn (Merv) Smith is credited as Tosser Grub (although this list is awaiting verification). Peter Jackson's The Hobbit Wiki states that Merv Smith portrays Tosser Grubb in The Battle of Five Armies as well as the extended edition of An Unexpected Journey. If this is the same character it would mean that he turned grey over the course of Bilbo's journey.

I checked the credits for An Unexpected Journey (see first image below, bottom right) where Tosser Grubb is listed as portrayed by Mervyn Smith, the same goes for the The Battle of Five Armies credits (second image).

Credits for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Credits for The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies

  • As I said in my earlier comment, I'm fairly convinced that the character of Tosser Grubb is who Bilbo meets on the way up the hill, not the auctioneer. They certainly don't look alike.
    – Valorum
    Jan 25, 2015 at 16:03
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    I only saw that comment after I posted my answer. The Hobbit you're referring to looks more like Master Worrywort to me. edit: screenshot
    – Ash
    Jan 25, 2015 at 16:11
  • Ah, you're not wrong there.
    – Valorum
    Jan 25, 2015 at 16:14
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    I've upvoted your answer but awarded the bounty to @indeed (for being the first to spot the change to the wikia).
    – Valorum
    Feb 1, 2015 at 0:16

Going off the cast listing here and the mentioning of the auctioneer in charge of the selling of Bilbo's possessions here, I would say that the auctioneer was played by Merv Smith (as mentioned by EricSSH in the comments).

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    Except that it's not the same person!
    – Valorum
    Jan 25, 2015 at 15:24
  • Oh indeed! Well, I tried.
    – MC ΔT
    Jan 25, 2015 at 15:32
  • This is one of those cases where you need to "beware of the wiki". From what I can tell, Tosser Grubb is who Bilbo speaks to when he's on the way up the hill, not the auctioneer.
    – Valorum
    Jan 25, 2015 at 15:57
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    The problem with a wiki is that anyone write anything, without any proof.
    – Valorum
    Jan 25, 2015 at 16:05
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    @Richard ... It has to be one of two Grubbs or a Burrowes ... look at the bottom of the picture in the question. The sign reads: "Grubbs, Grubbs, and Burrowes Registered Auctioneers" ... But I doubt you missed this. It could be the unnamed Grubbs, but this still doesn't get us any closer to verifying the actor. Jan 27, 2015 at 19:30

Actually, I think the actor above is Merv Smith. Here are pictures of him:

enter image description here enter image description here

Look at the jowls. Then put a prosthetic nose on him. Merv also has a gobbler chin as well.

  • Well, they're definitely not the same actors. So if Merv Griffin IS playing Tosser Grubb (the auctioneer), then the guy sitting at the table in the first movie is NOT Tosser Grubb.
    – Omegacron
    Jan 31, 2015 at 13:44
  • Oh, I agree with you on that point. I'm saying the guy above appears to be the Auctioneer. Since Merv Griffin is credited with playing Tosser Grubb and the above person is Merv Griffin, I don't think the picture which Richard linked to is actually Tosser Grubb and someone on the wiki site got it wrong ... but, I think that's what you are saying as well. Jan 31, 2015 at 14:41
  • How is this different from the other two answer that say he is Merv, but it is mentioned on both that he isnt? Jan 31, 2015 at 15:26
  • @Shevliaskovic ... Pictures are worth a thousand words. This is Merv Smith (sorry, screwed up the name in my other comment). It appears to me to be the Auctioneer. This answers the question and does it without conjecture. If the other answers had at least inks to pictures of Merv, I never would have posted this. It is more conclusive and answers the question directly. Jan 31, 2015 at 15:38
  • So what we really need to figure out is whether or not the auctioneer is Tosser Grubb. He could easily be the other Grubb or Mr. Burrowes.
    – Omegacron
    Jan 31, 2015 at 16:51

I reckon the auctioneer is played by Toby Jones, compare the voice and accent with his role as Lance in the detectorists (BBC TV series).

  • 3
    Why do think this is the answer as opposed to the accepted answer, which has pretty solid proof that the actor is Mervyn Smith?
    – Skooba
    Dec 29, 2017 at 18:51

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