Essays Wizarding Culture
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New essay! Wizard Money

By and

Greetings on T-167 days and counting until Book 7 publication! I have an essay for any math wonks out there (that’s “maths” to Jo and others in the U.K.): check out our new essay on Wizard Money from a fan in Russia, Anton Generalov aka “XAHrOBEP” (pronounced “”Hangover”).


Pensieve (Comments)

  • Reader2

    My regards to a fellow Russian-speaking fan.

    Excellent study.

  • John D.

    emm great essay, though i didn’t (try to) understand all the math, just asumming it was ok. what about knuts?

  • karlii

    wow…!!! Good Job!!!

    Sobers a person up, to realize that Harry’s 1000 WZG, would today be $10,000! Or a 40WZG wand, is $400! *yikes*

    Guess it’s as well all I have to do is buy my kids their course books, and pay tuition, room and board. (although, watch out when your artist child tells you.. “good news! No book fees this semester!” because it means she needs much in the way of art supplies, such as canvases and copper.. brushes, paints, etc) (it’d have been cheaper to buy books!)LOL

    At least my kids haven’t hit me up for $400, wand. 😉

  • del

    Um…? What’s a wonk?

  • Graymayne

    The guess about the positioning of the coded messages on Hermione’s bewitched coins corresponds to the writing on the milled edge of our £1 coins. Psychologically, it is a case of “Out of sight, out of mind”.

  • To del:
    Wonk is the American word for swot, nerd, striver, overachiever, dweeb, eager beaver or simply careerist. I hope it helped you!

    GREAT essay by the way!!!

  • severusisn’tevil

    Uh, interesting essay. Still, I think it is very likely that JKR wasn’t thinking about any of this when she designed her monetary system. I think she devised UK pound equivalents and picked out the metals the way she did because of their relative values. It is not too hard, actually rather easy, to discover that gold is considered more valuable than silver, and silver than bronze, etc. without knowing their exact exchange weights. As for their size, I don’t think she considered this particularly carefully, unless it was to declare one coin largest or smallest.

  • kamion

    I love these kind of essays, the more because it came with so much controloble data. I had already a vague plan to look into the relation gold-galleon-muggle monet some day, but this made it much easier.

    now I am wondering as the price of the galleon against the pound dropped after 1997 could there have been some kind of economic postwar crisis in the Wizarding World, Lucius Malfoy stopping investments or so?

  • daveindetroit

    Excellent essay but I have to disagree with Hangover’s statement that magic wouldn’t affect the Effect of mass. You only have to realize that Mr Weasley was lugging a fully furnished three room flat on his back at the QWC.

    The room of Requirement and Moody’s trucnk are also excellent examples of how magic subverts physical laws as we muggles understand it.

  • What about knuts? I assume they are copper (?), what about their exchange rate?

    ALso, I think the magic effect is a good explanation for the “weight” effect, although Hangover does offer plausible explanations for the size of the coins.

  • TimS

    Very good stuff, I thoroughly enjoyed it! One nit to pick: clicking the link for footnote 4 yields a 404. The URL in the links seems to be missing something.

  • Thanks TimS! Fixed now. 🙂

  • Maureen from Aus

    I like the theory behind the essay – but I have one “tinsy” little problem

    When the thickness of a Galleon is calculated, it says “This Galleon would have a diameter of 19 millimetres (3/4 inch) and a thickness of 0.5 millimetres, with a mass of 1.98 grams” – that should be 5 mm (or 0.5 cm) – although I think that would be a bit thick for a coin (2 – 3mm would be about standard)

    Maureen from Aus

  • Greg

    Perhaps the wizard coins are enchanted to be lighter than their metal equivalent in the muggle world.

  • Hangover

    Thnks for comments.
    @John D. Even Sickles are a problem. What we know about Knuts they are “bronze” and “small”. Period.
    @karlii. You should have thought about purchasing gold before your children go to wizard school:-) My expert advise to those who hope that their children will be accepted to Hogwarts after 11+ – BUY GOLD IN INGOTS NOW 🙂
    @kamion The WZG to GPB drop started approx in Autumn 1996, after Rufus Scrimgeour took the position of Minister of Magic. He was not that bad in Law Enforcement but just an economical disaster. For three years the Galleon was dropping. In Sept 1999 something good happenned, I may suppose that the court martial on DE’s was over and a pretty amount of their gold was nationalized, but it had only temporary effect. Real improvement started in 2001, when FB and QTA were published and Dumbledore had resurrected espacially for that moment to write prefaces to them 🙂 Really good market signalling :-)))))
    @Graymayne – I would also accept this point. But coins are too thin for this.
    @ daveindetroit, @Greg – Space and mass are different. Mass and weight are also not the same. One can decrease the weight with some levitation charm, but to reduce the mass means to reduce the quantity. The mass of gold is mass of all protons and neutrons in its atoms. Reduce their number and it will not be gold anymore. Relativity theory makes a difference between gravitational and inertial masses, but these effects can be visible at subluminal speeds. Galleons definitely do not move in space with such speeds, the only decision is that goblins constatntly move tons of gold along the 4-th equatable co-ordinate – the time. Lets assume that thay can do it in principle by the magic, what muggles cannot do, but where do they take ENERGY for this? In any case this is too high expense for only simple reason to make moneybags lighter.
    Any relativity theory “wonks” out there?

    @Maureen from Aus – no, I am correct – half a millimetre. Otherwise Galleon will be too heavy for its value.

Tags: gold math money silver