What's the Exchange Rate Between Harry Potter Coins and Muggle Money?
The world J.K. Rowling constructed in the Harry Potter series raises a lot of questions. For one, what exactly was the value of all that wizard money they were throwing around? If you’ve ever pondered this question but lacked the nerdy ambition to figure it out for yourself, you finally have answer thanks to Reddit user aubieismyhome, who calculated the exchange rate.
By detailing everything that’s been given value in the Harry Potter books, aubieismyhome was able to analyze the worth of wizard money. The in-depth breakdown starts by listing the exchange rates between the three coins that make up wizard currency, which Hagrid lays out for Harry in the first book. According to Hagrid, 1 galleon equals 17 sickles, and 1 sickle equals 29 knuts. From there, the fan used a little extra math to figure out how to convert this value into Muggle currency.
The Reddit user compared the prices of things bought in the wizarding world (for example, hot chocolate, butterbeer, and a potion-making book) to equivalent items from the Muggle world. Based on this information, aubieismyhome was able to approximate that a galleon was roughly equivalent to $25, a sickle to $1.50, and a knut to 5 cents.
To put that in context, the price of a butterbeer comes out to about $3, while Harry’s wand would have cost him $175 (which is not a bad deal, considering it's a wizard's most prized possession). And it looks like even wizards are subject to overpriced textbooks: a copy of Advanced Potion Making would cost more than a wand, according to the Reddit user.
Aubieismyhome went on to look at what this says about the socioeconomic status of the characters in the Harry Potter universe. It’s no secret that Harry was wealthy, but seeing his riches converting into USD helps to put things into perspective. As the user explains, "At the World Cup, he spent $750 to buy he, Ron, and Hermione Omnioculars as Christmas presents ... Not only that, but he gave Fred and George $25,000 of Triwizard Tournament winnings to start their joke shop because he didn't need it.”
On the opposite end of the spectrum, Rowling wasn’t exaggerating when she emphasized the Weasleys’ poverty. When the family empties out their vault at Gringotts in the Chamber of Secrets, they come away with only 1 galleon and a pile of sickles, roughly $50 to $75. One of the largest sums mentioned in the books is the reward offered by the Ministry for Harry’s capture in the Deathly Hallows: They were prepared to pay his captor $2.5 million, which was worth 10 times as much as the bounty placed on Sirius Black’s head.
Check the original Reddit post for the full list of every value mentioned in the Harry Potter series.