Knut, Sickle, and Galleon

Wizarding currency[1] is the currency used by the wizarding world. Wizards are not averse to using currency with convoluted denominations, because they are easily able to solve complex calculations with magic.[2] Wizarding currencies vary from country to country.

The wizarding currency of Great Britain consists of three different coins; in decreasing order of value, they are: Galleon, Sickle, and Knut. They are gold, silver, and bronze, respectively. There are 17 Sickles in a Galleon, and 29 Knuts in a Sickle, meaning there are 493 Knuts in a Galleon.[3] Around the edge of each coin is a series of numerals which represent a serial number belonging to the Goblin that cast the coin.[4]

The wizarding currency in the United States of America consists of the Dragot[1] and Sprink.[5]

The wizarding currency of France is Bezant‎.[6]

Aside from the Philosopher's Stone, which can convert any metal into pure gold, there is no known method of magically producing precious metals. Attempting to duplicate money with the Doubling Charm is ineffective, as the duplicates will break down over time, and are considered worthless.

In ancient times, before modern forms of currency were invented, primitive wizards were known to trade in leaves of Niffler's Fancy — a plant whose leaves gleam like copper.[7]

Symbols

The three denominations of wizarding currency were sometimes represented with the following set of symbols:[8]

  • ʛ[9] — Galleon
  • SickleSymbol.gif — Sickle
  • KnutSymbol.gif — Knut

Exchange rate

One Knut is One Sickle is One Galleon is
1 Knut 29 Knuts 493 Knuts
0.03448... Sickles 1 Sickle 17 Sickles
0.002028... Galleons 0.05882... Galleons 1 Galleon

Fake Currency

One Galleon

  • Coins can be duplicated via the Doubling Charm, but the counterfeits will break down over time.[10]

Leprechaun Gold

Enchanted Coins

Etymology

Galleons were Spanish treasure ships often raided by pirates. "Sickle" is the ancient Greek term for the shekel, the currency of Judea, as rendered by William Tyndale in his translation of the Greek New Testament, (later the King James Bible). Also translated as silverling. "Knut" or "Canute" is the name of an 11th-century King of England.

"Unum Galleon" written on the coins literally means "One Galleon". "Unum" may be used as Latin for "One".

Behind the scenes

  • It was said by J.K. Rowling that goblins get muggle money back into circulation in the event that muggle-borns need to exchange pounds for Galleons.[15]

Galleon seemingly represented by the heraldic "fleam" symbol

  • In the films, the Galleon seems to be represented by the heraldic "fleam" symbol. In Pottermore, however, the Galleon is represented by the voiced uvular implosive, ʛ.[16]
  • In the films, Wizarding money appears as fairly average-sized round coins, not that dissimilar from that used by Muggles. In the books, though they are never particularly described beyond their metal and the Knuts being called "tiny" once, there are several references to Wizarding money and Muggle money appearing quite differently.[17][18]

Converted into other currencies

According to J. K. Rowling, the approximate value of a Galleon is "About five Great British pounds, though the exchange rate varies!"[19]

This is consistent with the "textbooks" Rowling wrote for charity (Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and Quidditch Through the Ages), which states that GB£174 million/US$250 million is equivalent to 34 million Galleons[20] (or 34,000,872 Galleons, 14 Sickles, 7 Knuts to be exact[21]) and works out as approximately £5.12/$7.35 per Galleon, but does not match the wizarding prices printed on the backs of the books (£4.99 or 1 Galleon, 11 Sickles; and $3.99 or 14 Sickles, 3 Knuts for the original UK and US editions respectively).

With this information, we can calculate the value of wizarding currency in Muggle money.[22] The amounts below are approximate, and were accurate as of December 5, 2010, though it is unlikely that the value of a Galleon scales with US currency. As the gold standard values of wizarding currencies are unknown, it is difficult to estimate a present-day conversion rate, and one would have to rely on Rowling's older approximations. However, direct calculation done with the US amounts leads to a slightly different US value - this has been posed as a simultaneous equation problem in math classes.[23]

Estimation of Wizarding Currency into Muggle Money
1 Galleon 1 Sickle 1 Knut
Pound Sterling GBP £4.93 £0.29 £0.01
U.S. Dollar USD $6.64 $0.39 $0.01
Euro EUR €5.58 €0.33 €0.01
Turkish Lira TRY ₺25.98 ₺1.54 ₺0.05
Korean Won KRW ₩7865.84 ₩462.47 ₩11.86
Japanese Yen JPY ¥744.24 ¥44.12 ¥1.43
Swiss Franc CHF 6.48 Fr. 0.38 Fr. 0.01 Fr.
Russian Ruble RUB ₽390.86 ₽22.92 ₽0.60
Australian Dollar AUD $8.72 $0.51 $0.02
Canadian Dollar CAD $8.43 $0.50 $0.02
Brazilian Real BRL R$21.64 R$1.27 R$0.04
Danish Krone DKK 41.55 kr. 2.44 kr. 0.08 kr.
South African Rand ZAR R 91.14 R 5.36 R 0.18
Indian Rupee INR ₹ 428.61 ₹ 25.21 ₹ 0.87
Bangladeshi Taka BDT ৳493 ৳29 ৳1
Hong Kong Dollar HKD $51.88 $3.05 $0.11
Philippine Peso PHP ₱333.88 ₱19.64 ₱0.68
Polish Zloty PLN 25.53 PLN 1.51 PLN 0.06 PLN
Thai Baht THB ฿216.61 ฿12.74 ฿0.44
Swedish Krona SEK 55.52 kr 3.27 kr 0.11 kr
Serbian Dinar RSD 666.58 RSD 39.21 RSD 1.35 RSD
Ukrainian Hryvnia UAH ₴190.18 ₴11.36 ₴0.40
Israeli New Shekel ILS ₪22.55 ₪1.33 ₪0.05
Argentine Peso ARS $114.39 $6.73 $0.23
Florin HUF 1 834 ft 108 ft 3 ft

Note that the Galleon/Pound rate cited by Rowling is probably that offered by Gringotts and bears no relation to the precious-metal value of Wizarding coins. The "gold coins the size of hubcaps" mentioned in reference to the Quidditch World Cup would be much larger than the British five-pound Quintuple Sovereign today sold for its bullion value of hundreds of pounds sterling (though this hubcap reference may have been an exaggeration). However, it is unclear whether the coins were Galleons, or the currency of some other Wizard community. Certainly, if the coins were indeed of such size, there could have been no talking about "handfuls" of them.

Harry Potter's money stored in Gringotts

It should be mentioned that Rowling's exchange rates between Galleons and Muggle currency are very far off from reality, assuming that Galleons are made from gold. At the time of this entry (July 15, 2014) one gramme of gold is worth €42.00 or £24.59 and using regular sized coins as a comparison (one 20 €-cent coin weighs 5.74g for example, 10p weigh 6.50g) would allow for an exchange rate in excess of 100-1 instead of the 5-1 that is accepted as canon. There are possible explanations for this, the most logical ones being that a Galleon is not made from pure gold but rather has a gold core of 0.21 grammes or less, or for that matter is only gold-coloured and not made of actual gold at all. Another reason, considering the sometimes mentioned logic of the wizarding world, is the way Galleons may possibly be created and equipped with safety measures such as charms that will not allow its owners to exchange them in the Muggle world outside official goblin establishments.

Furthermore, the value of the coins presented by Rowling at the end of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is extremely unlikely as this would make the overall currency rate of all the coins extremely low indeed. For example, in the fifth book, Harry, Ron and Hermione all buy a Butterbeer each; the price for the three is six Sickles - so two Sickles each. Going by the currency approximations this would make a beer cost about 60p - British currency - which is of course ridiculously low (unless perhaps the Butterbeer is a sort of cheap non-alcoholic drink like soda pop, which would be plausible as it is regularly drunk by minors). Moreover, in the second book Molly Weasley is described to only take "one gold galleon" from her vault at Gringotts which is not much at all. Of course, it is common knowledge that the Weasleys are poor but they have never been described as starving and have always been able to buy the equipment they need with the little money they have, even if it is second hand. However, many people would just assume that everything was much cheaper in the Wizarding world as they don't need to spend money on manufacturing but most of it does seem slightly ridiculous. A more appropriate value of the Galleon would be around £24.60 as this would be a rate that would fit with Britains present climate.

Diameters of coins

Compared to existing coinage in the United States, The Galleon is the same diameter as the U.S. Silver Eagle; the Silver Sickle is slightly larger than the 1/2 Dollar and the Bronze Knut is slightly larger than the nickel.[citation needed]

Cost of items in books

Item Decimal Galleons Cost Cost Unit Unit of Measure Book
Bounty on Sirius's Head 10000.000 10,000 Galleons 4
Price on Harry's Head 10000.000 10,000 Galleons 7
Triwzard Tournament Winnings 1000.000 1000 Galleons 4
Reward for Askbaban Escapee Info 1000.000 1000 Galleons 5
Ron's Family Newspaper Prize 700.000 700 Galleons 3
Goblin-made Amour (Prob Bargained Down) 500.000 500 Galleons 6
Firebolt 300.000 300 Galleons 3
Acromantula Venom 100.000 100 Galleons pint 6
Mr Weasley Fined for Flying Car 50.000 50 Galleons 2
Dumbledore's Monthly Offer To Dobby 40.000 40 Galleons 4
Fred/George Bet on Quidditch 37.888 37.89 Galleons 4
Unicorn Horn 21.000 21 Galleons 1
Venomous Tentacula Stolen Seeds 20.000 20 Galleons 5
Fred/George Deflagration Deluxe 20.000 20 Galleons 5
Skull in Borgin & Burkes 16.000 16 Galleons 6
Baruffio's Brain Elixir 12.000 12 Galleons pint 5
Disapperation Training 12.000 12 Galleons 6
Percy Bet His Girlfriend 10.000 10 Galleons 3
Omnioculars 10.000 10 Galleons 4
Venomous Tentacula Stolen Seeds 10.000 10 Galleons 5
Fake Disguises 10.000 10 Galleons 6
Slytherin's Locket 10.000 10 Galleons 6
Unicorn Hairs 10.000 10 Galleons per hair 6
Advanced Potion Making Book 9.000 9 Galleons 6
Malfoy Bet Next Person Would Die 5.000 5 Galleons 2
Ludo Buys Fred/George Fake Wand 5.000 5 Galleons 4
Fred/George Blaze Box 5.000 5 Galleons 5
Price for Catching a Mudblood 5.000 5 Galleons per person 7
Dobby's Monthly Salary 4.000 4 Galleons 4
Invisible Head Hat 2.000 2 Galleons 5
Arthur Weasley Bet on Quidditch 1.000 1 Galleons 4
Madam Puddifoot 2 Coffees Plus Tip 1.000 1 Galleons 5
Dragon Liver 1.000 17 Sickles ounce 1
Fancy Quill 0.886 15.068 Sickles 5
Pile of All Candy From Trolley 0.661 11.24 Sickles 1
Cost From Dursley's To Leaky Cauldron 0.647 11 Sickles 3
Canary Creams 0.412 7 Sickles 4
Karl Quills 0.353 6 Sickles 5
Cost of Hot Chocolate 0.118 2 Sickles 3
Hot Water Bottle & Toothbrush 0.118 2 Sickles 3
Cost To Join Spew 0.118 2 Sickles 4
Bottle of Butterbeer 0.118 2 Sickles 5
The Paper 0.010 5 Knuts 1
Black Beetle Eyes 0.010 5 Kunts scoop 1
Newspaper 0.002 1 Knuts 5


Appearances

Notes and references

  1. 1.0 1.1 Writing by J.K. Rowling: "Rappaport's Law" at Wizarding World
  2. Writing by J.K. Rowling: "Measurements" at Wizarding World
  3. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 5 (Diagon Alley)
  4. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
  5. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (film) (see this image)
  6. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (see this image)
  7. Wonderbook: Book of Potions
  8. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (film) (see this image)
  9. Pottermore
  10. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 26 (Gringotts)
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 28 (The Madness of Mr Crouch)
  12. 12.0 12.1 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 37 (The Beginning)
  13. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 19 (The Lion and the Serpent)
  14. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 27 (The Lightning-Struck Tower)
  15. http://www.accio-quote.org/articles/2000/1000-aol-chat.htm
  16. (see this image)
  17. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 12 (The Mirror of Erised) "Weird!...What a shape! This is money?" -Ron on a 50 pence piece
  18. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 7 (Bagman and Crouch) "I had two try and pay me with great gold coins the size of hubcaps ten minutes ago." -Mr Roberts, a Muggle, on wizards attempting to pay him in their own currency
  19. http://web.archive.org/web/20091023035038/http://www.accio-quote.org/articles/2001/0301-comicrelief-staff.htm
  20. Quidditch Through the Ages - "Widespread amusement is converted into large amounts of money (over 250 million dollars since they started in 1985 – which is the equivalent of over 174 million pounds or thirty-four million Galleons)." (Foreword by Albus Dumbledore)
  21. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them- "Comic Relief has raised 174 million pounds since 1985 (thirty-four million, eight hundred and seventy-two Galleons, fourteen Sickles and seven Knuts)." (Foreword by Albus Dumbledore)
  22. Precise for the time of Dumbledore's in-universe writing of the Forewords, some time before his death on 30 June 1997. Rowling herself said she wrote the books immediately after finishing Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (released on 8 July 2000), and the Comic Relief books were released on 12 March 2001, meaning the $250m/£174m/ʛ34m actually applies to this time.
  23. "Value of a Galleon" by Dr Joshua Sasmor
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