# Muggles' Guide to Harry Potter/Magic/Money

 Wizarding Money Muggles' Guide to Harry Potter - Magic Type Object Features Coins First Appearance Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

## Overview

Wizarding money comes in three denominations: bronze Knuts, silver Sickles, and golden Galleons. 29 Knuts make up one Sickle, and there are 17 Sickles in a Galleon.

## Extended Description

Wizarding money comes in coins only, there are no Galleon bills; as such, wizards have money pouches that they typically hang off their belts, under their robes, rather than wallets. It is believed that the odd numbers of Knuts in a Sickle, and Sickles in a Galleon, is intended as a comment on British money before decimalization, with pounds, shillings, and pence being in an odd ratio to each other.

## Analysis

There are a number of different calculations about the value of the individual pieces of Wizard currency. The author has stated that a Galleon is worth about £3, and also that it is worth about £5, in two separate books, and again that it is worth about £5 in an interview; and internal evidence in the fourth and later books seems to match this. However, internal evidence in the first three books could suggest a value closer to £50 to £200 for the value of a Galleon.

In Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Hagrid instructs Harry to pay the owl 5 knuts for his copy of the Daily Prophet. In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Hermione pays an owl 1 Knut for the Prophet. If the price of the Prophet is in line with Muggle newspapers, that means that 1 Knut should be about US $0.20 to US$1.00 (the price of a newspaper being about US$1.00 in 1991). This makes a Sickle worth somewhere between$6.00 and $30.00, and gives a Galleon a value of between$100 (£50) and $500 (£200). It is also mentioned, in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone that Harry paid seven Galleons for his wand; and that Ron was using his brother's old wand, with the implication that they could not afford a new one. An expenditure of £35 (at £5 to the Galleon) is relatively small, but in retrospect does serve to indicate Ron's family's grinding poverty, which we also see in later books. Some have said that it would make more sense to have a wand, which is after all usually a once-in-a-lifetime purchase, be valued at £350 to £1400, and this would make it more likely that Ron's family could ill-afford to buy a new wand for Ron, instead giving him "Charlie's old wand"; however, this is not necessary to the story, and makes the Weasleys' lack of funds all the more striking. In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Fred and George are selling Canary Cream tricks for 7 Sickles each. Based on the above calculation, that would make the price of these$42 to $210 each. This is rather an excessive amount for a 15-second prank; if a Galleon is worth £5, though, then 7 Sickles would be about £2 ($5), a reasonable value for that joke. In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, the price of a Butterbeer in the Hog's Head is given as two Sickles, which would be $12 to$60 a bottle by the pricing scheme in the first three books; at £5 to the Galleon, though, 2 Sickles would be about £0.60 ($1.20), a reasonable price. It is possible that the author simply had not worked out the conversion from Wizarding to Muggle money until time came to write the forewords of Quidditch Through the Ages and Magical Beasts and Where to Find Them, which came out after the first three books were written. It is also possible that the author, in writing those forewords, confused the values of the Sickle and the Galleon, as the apparent value of the Sickle in the first three books does tally with the stated value of the Galleon. It's certainly true that Wizarding prices in the fourth and later books of the series match the values given in those two books and the interview, with the exception of the price for The Daily Prophet. One wonders if, having arbitrarily set the price of the Prophet as 5 Knuts in the first book, the author was at all concerned that this gave it a street value of £0.05 ($0.10). On the other hand, the use of magic will significantly distort the economy from what we Muggles expect, because chattels can be created and changed to other chattels effectively at no economic cost; so it is entirely possible that the Prophet can still turn a profit at a cost of 5 Knuts (or even 1 Knut) an issue.

## Questions

Study questions are meant to be left for each student to answer; please don't answer them here.

1. What role does money have in the books, with particular reference to the Weasleys and the Malfoys?
2. Are the Weasleys happier than Harry despite having less money?
3. How does Harry view the money left to him by his parents in view of the years he has spent at the Dursleys?