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In harry Potter and the deathly hallows Hermione duplicated a Locket using the Geminio charm. Why couldn't someone use the Geminio charm to duplicate money. Or do they have copyrights on them like muggle money and someone would find out?

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Related, possibly not a dupe: What Are the Other Four Exceptions to Gamp's Law of Elemental Transfiguration? – phantom42 Jun 12 '14 at 19:13
Maybe all newly minted coins are given a "no-duplication" spell? Good question. – Meat Trademark Jun 12 '14 at 19:15
I was thinking that to. – Pobrecita Jun 12 '14 at 19:18
@quapka - JKR hasn't named the other four exceptions... – Valorum Jun 12 '14 at 19:38
Fear of inflation? ;-) – Lord_Gestalter Jun 13 '14 at 5:31
up vote 29 down vote accepted

It's perfectly possible to duplicate gold currency but it

  • breaks the law
  • has a tendency to evaporate
  • can be detected with trivial ease

JKR spoke (tangentially) to the first two issues in an interview in 2000

Q: It seems that the wizards and witches at Hogwarts are able to conjure up many things, such as food for the feasts, chairs and sleeping bags. . .if this is so, why does the wizarding world need money ? What are the limitations on the material objects you can conjure up ? It seems unnecessary that the Weasleys would be in such need of money...

A: Very good question (well done, Jan!!). There is legislation about what you can conjure and what you can't. Something that you conjure out of thin air will not last. This is a rule I set down for myself early on. I love these logical questions!

In "Goblet of Fire" we see the results of trying to duplicate gold. Hagrid has created (or acquired) some 'leprechaun gold' for training purposes...

‘Well, let’s check how yeh’ve done!’ said Hagrid. ‘Count yer coins! An’ there’s no point tryin’ ter steal any, Goyle,’ he added, his beetle-black eyes narrowed. ‘It’s leprechaun gold. Vanishes after a few hours.’

and Ron tries to pass off some of the leprechaun gold he collected at the Quidditch World Cup to pay Harry for his omnioculars, with much the same result...

No,’ said Ron shortly. ‘Why didn’t you tell me about the gold?’ ‘What gold?’ said Harry. ‘The gold I gave you at the Quidditch World Cup,’ said Ron. ‘The leprechaun gold I gave you for my Omnioculars. In the Top Box. Why didn’t you tell me it disappeared?’ Harry had to think for a moment before he realised what Ron was talking about.

‘Must be nice,’ Ron said abruptly, when they had sat down and started serving themselves roast beef and Yorkshire puddings. ‘To have so much money you don’t notice if a pocketful of Galleons goes missing.’ ‘Listen, I had other stuff on my mind that night!’ said Harry impatiently. ‘We all did, remember?’ ‘I didn’t know leprechaun gold vanishes,’ Ron muttered. ‘I thought I was paying you back. You shouldn’t’ve given me that Chudley Cannon hat for Christmas.’

In 'Deathly Hallows' we learn that goblins have the ability to instantly detect fake or adulterated currency;

The long counter was manned by goblins sitting on high stools, serving the first customers of the day. Hermione, Ron and Travers headed towards an old goblin who was examining a thick gold coin through an eyeglass. Hermione allowed Travers to step ahead of her on the pretext of explaining features of the hall to Ron.

The goblin tossed the coin he was holding aside, said to nobody in particular, ‘Leprechaun,’ and then greeted Travers

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While this is well-researched and a reasonable answer, I don't you can't conclude from the statements in Goblet of Fire that all duplicated gold vanishes. The statement only refers to leprechuan gold. It's not clear that all gold which is duplicated would be considered leprechaun gold. – Michael Mior Jun 12 '14 at 20:23
@MichaelMior - From what I can gather, the term "leprechaun gold" is a catch-all term that means to gold that has been duplicated, rather than gold that's come from leprechauns. Does Ron even know any leprechauns? Are leprechauns in the habit of giving away their gold on request? I don't think so... – Valorum Jun 12 '14 at 20:46
@MichaelMior - Read the JKR quote. Things that are conjured have a tendency to disappear – Valorum Jun 12 '14 at 20:49
@Richard Yes you can't duplicate food. That's why they would be duplicating muggle money then buying food from muggles. =b – Kai Jun 12 '14 at 22:10
@Richard, Ron did not create Galleons, he collected it from the gold the leprechauns showered the crowd with at the Quidditch World Cup (see chapter 8 of The Goblet of Fire): "Excellent!" yelled Ron as the shamrock soared over them, and heavy gold coins rained from it, bouncing off their heads and seats. Then a couple paragraphs later: "There you go," Ron yelled happily, stuffing a fistful of gold coins into Harry's hand, "for the Omnioculars! Now you've got to buy me a Christmas present, ha!" All part of the "pre-game show". – YLearn Jun 12 '14 at 22:33

Leprechaun gold aside, there is an example of the creation of imitation gold galleons, which did not fade away for a long time (over two years, at least). They are the

fake galleons Hermione created to notify members of Dumbledore's Army of meeting dates in Order of the Phoenix.

They were mentioned as still being in use in Deathly Hallows, and did not seem to have deteriorated in quality at all.
They seemed to bear a reasonable resemblance to ordinary Galleons. Harry, at least, noticed no obvious differences, and thought it might be possible to accidentally spend one.
They were almost defiantly illegal, though it's never mentioned.
So, yes, it is possible to create fake money, and, though the Geminio charm is never mentioned, it could possibly have been used. Otherwise perhaps they were buttons transfigured in to Galleons.
Unlike what Richard said, however, they don't always evaporate, and are perhaps not so easy to detect.

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Is there any indication that these are conjured, though? She could have just made some other things look like galleons, or actually used real galleons. – Chris Hayes Mar 16 '15 at 8:18
Good point. We know that they aren't real because they're consistantly referred to as "fake galleons", but they could have been transfigured. The book never says either way. – Mary ML Mar 16 '15 at 8:22
I suspect this is a case of JKR using the fidelity and longevity of her fake Galleons as an opportunity to highlight Hermione's impressive magical skills. – Simon Hibbs Mar 16 '15 at 11:40

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