Show Me the Galleons!
Earlier this week, a new Harry Potter Reddit post began circulating around the web. The topic: The exchange rate of wizard currency, or the WZG. In it, Reddit user aubieismyhomie tells his theory on the worth of various items in the series. Using the value of similar objects in our everyday lives, the OP draws the following conclusion:
Most products in the Wizarding World can’t translate, but a few products in the books are also Muggle products, so I tried to use these to approximate the value of them compared to US currency.
A LOT of [c]andy: 11 [S]ickles and 7 [K]nuts (SS: [“]Journey from Platform 9 ¾[“])
Ride on Knight Bus: 11 Sickles (PoA: [“]The Kinight Bus[“])
Hot chocolate: +2 [S}ickles
Water [b]ottle and toothbrush: +2 [S]ickles
S.P.E.W [m]embership (buys a badge): 2 [S]ickles (GoF: [“]The Unforgivable Curses[“])
3 [b]utterbeers: 6 [S]ickles (Oo[t]P: [“]In [t]he Hog’s Head[“])
Advanced Potion Making: 9 Galleons (HBP: [“]Hermione’s Helping Hand[“])
So looking at these, I started experimenting with different values and came up with these as the approximate values for wizarding money:
Galleon = ~$25
Sickles = ~$1.50
Knuts = $.05
While the post is very thought-provoking, some of us are not completely sold on this theory, largely because JKR has already stated in a March 2001 interview that a Galleon is worth about £5, or US$8. Taking into account the inflation rate from 1997 (when Philosopher’s Stone was published) to current day, a Galleon would now be worth $11.81. However, for the rest of this article (and the sake of our sanity), let’s round that up to an even $12. Wizards may be fond of prime numbers like 17 and 29, but “I don’t math,” so even numbers for the win!
In light of this, MuggleNet decided to do its own little experiment with the wizarding currency exchange rate and have a little fun. What would things you know and use in your everyday life be worth to wizards and goblins? How rich would well-known icons be in wizarding London? MuggleNet has the answers! Disclaimer: All amounts are approximations due to rounding.
We always hear about how this celebrity has a net worth of yadda yadda yadda. After a while, it gets boring hearing about other people’s fortunes, am I right? Well, how about a little twist on some of pop culture’s wealthiest people?
Today, if Donald Trump were to seek out his weight in gold, he would find himself worth 375,000,000WZG. Oprah Winfrey is one of the richest women in the world and would be bringing home 250,000,0000WZG. Our addiction to Facebook has earned Mark Zuckerberg a cool 4,091,666,667WZG and the Queen herself, JK Rowling, has made a 83,333,333WZG empire thanks to us and our slightly unhealthy obsession.
But who cares about the vulgar wealth of celebrities and politicians? We want to know what our own lives would be like if we had to pay in Galleons, Sickles, and Knuts, right? What would the cost of living look like, then?
First, there’s rent. You gotta have a place to sleep, right? Do you fancy a place in New York like Newt Scamander? Well, prices are a little higher than they were in 1926, with a one-bedroom apartment running an average of 250WZG per month. Of course, while you’re in the Big Apple, you might as well catch a Broadway show, and for about 12 Galleons 8 Sickles and 14 Knuts, it’s a steal! Prefer the sun and surf? You can buy an estate in LA for 74,250WZG, San Francisco for 115,834WZG, or Orange County for 87,916WZG. If you’re like me, you probably want to go where it all began. A single flat in North London goes for 99 Galleons 9 Sickles 12 Knuts these days (or 149 Galleons 5 Sickles 18 Knuts for a double if you have a roomie in mind!).
Okay, so you got your house, figured out all those pesky utility bills, and so on. You gotta eat, right? Well, it turns out that a loaf of bread will cost you 2 Sickles 1 Knut, and a gallon of milk will run 5 Sickles 27 Knuts. Oh, don’t forget the coffee (who here could?!). For a pound of ground coffee, it’s about 7 Sickles 4 Knuts. Of course, life can’t be solely about rent, bills, and food, you know. Maybe you would like to take in a movie—maybe there’s a re-screening of Deathly Hallows at the theater! It will be about 13 Sickles 21 Knuts per ticket. So affordable, you should bring a friend!
Of course, it can’t all be fun and games. You’re going to need a good job to bring those Galleons in, and in order to do that, you need yourself a good education. After some research, we found that Harvard University’s tuition, room, board, and fees add up to a whopping 5,055WZG. Yeesh! Maybe you should just jump into the workforce.
Well, you are going to have to get there somehow. I hear you can nab a sweet 1960 Ford Anglia for 333 Galleons 6 Sickles 18 Knuts (invisibility boosters not standard). Just be sure you take dear old dad’s advice and always have gas money handy. With gasoline at an average 3 Sickles 26 Knuts nationwide, it’s easier than ever to get where you need to go. You can get there even faster if you care to shell out a whopping 400,000WZG on the world’s most expensive car—a Koenigsegg CCXR Trevita. Yowza!
Forget car payments, did you know that the cost of daycare has surpassed the average cost of rent? Parents everywhere are shelling out 81 Galleons a month just to be able to work! It seems like more than ever before the average family needs to do whatever it takes to make a buck. Some put in overtime, others buy lottery tickets. Just like the masses that scrambled for the world-record Powerball Jackpot back on January 13, people everywhere waited with baited breath to find out if they were the lucky winners of the 132,200,000WZG jackpot. You’d need to win, too, if you don’t want your Koenigsegg repossessed!
As for me, I think I’ll take the last 13 Galleons 10 Sickles 25 Knuts in my savings account and put it in some stocks. Who knows how many Galleons I can earn?!
What are your thoughts on the Galleon? Do you think inflation would have made an impact on the wizarding world? Do you have a few Sickles to spot me ‘til Friday? Tell us in the comments below!