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I originally had the impression that Nicholas Flamel only gave Dumbledore the Stone for safekeeping shortly before the start of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. It was recently pointed out to me that as far as I know there's no canon evidence for that assumption; it could just as easily have been during the First Wizarding War, or even earlier. When did Flamel give Dumbledore the Stone?

I'm looking for an answer based on quotes from the books or Word of God.

Related: who did vault 713 belong to? (It has been suggested in the comments that it was Flamel's vault; any canon evidence to this effect would also be an entirely satisfactory answer.)

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    Well it was in his vault, 713, until Hagrid took it out – Au101 Oct 16 '16 at 23:11
  • @Au101: yes, but there's no indication so far as I can remember as to how long it had been there. The vault might have been a temporary measure until Hogwarts was ready - as I originally assumed - or the Stone might have been sitting there for decades. (Nicholas would have needed access periodically, but I'm sure that could have been arranged easily enough.) – Harry Johnston Oct 17 '16 at 0:04
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    Well, I interpreted it as vault 713 being Flamel's vault, and it therefore being in his possession until Hagrid took it out. I left this as a comment whilst I tried to prove it and, you're right, I can't prove it, so instead I've UV'd. However from a pure Occam's razor perspective, it only makes sense that Flamel would have needed to keep it safe for all those years he was using it, surely he would have put it in his vault, and then Dumbledore or he must have become aware it was in danger and decided to move it. Hence the events of the book. – Au101 Oct 17 '16 at 0:16
  • I mean, if 713 wasn't Flamel's vault, why not keep it in Flamel's vault? No, it's true, I can't prove it, but it really seems to be the assumption around which book 1 is built. Still, if anyone can prove me wrong, I'd be most interested, but I think the implication is so heavy – Au101 Oct 17 '16 at 0:17
  • @Au101: ah, I had misunderstood you. That makes sense, although I'm sure I had some reason for thinking it was the Hogwarts vault. Perhaps just that Hagrid gave the goblins a letter from Dumbledore? But I suppose Flamel might have contacted Gringotts directly to instruct them to release it to Dumbledore ... huh. The Wiki just says "it is unknown who is the owner of the vault". I'll add that to the question. – Harry Johnston Oct 17 '16 at 1:58
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31st July 1991 (to be precise).

The Stone lived in Gringotts until such time as Flamel grew worried that someone might try and steal it. At that point he asked Dumbledore to look after the Stone.

"See?" said Hermione, when Harry and Ron had finished. "The dog must be guarding Flamel's Philosopher's Stone! I bet he asked Dumbledore to keep it safe for him, because they're friends and he knew someone was after it. That's why he wanted the Stone moved out of Gringotts!"
(Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 13, Nicolas Flamel).

Dumbledore subsequently delegated the task of collecting the Stone to Hagrid.

"An' I've also got a letter here from Professor Dumbledore," said Hagrid importantly, throwing out his chest. "It's about the You-Know-What in vault seven hundred and thirteen."
The goblin read the letter carefully.
"Very well," he said...
(Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 5, Diagon Alley).

Hagrid picked up the Stone and delivered it to Dumbledore. He did this on Harry's 11th birthday and was only just in time as Quirrell looted the vault later that day.

GRINGOTTS BREAK-IN LATEST
Investigations continue into the break-in at Gringotts on 31 July, widely believed to be the work of Dark wizards or witches unknown.
Gringotts' goblins today insisted that nothing had been taken. The vault that was searched had in fact been emptied the same day.
(Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 8, The Potions Master).

Concern about an imminent break-in was the only thing that prompted Flamel to look for a new place to store the Stone. Up until that point he had no need to give it to Dumbledore or anybody else.


As for who owned vault 713, I'd say unknown but probably Flamel's. There's no canon evidence on this that I'm aware of but I've always assumed that it was Flamel's vault. It would've been relatively easy for him to access the Stone and therefore the Elixer of Life if it lived inside his own vault. It would've created an unnecessary hurdle for him to keep the Stone in somebody else's vault. He would've had to have gone through the hassle of borrowing their key and returning it to them etc. - much easier to keep it in his own vault. It makes sense to conclude that vault 713 was Flamel's vault and that he only moved the Stone from there when he knew that somebody was after it.

  • Nice find! Strictly speaking our protagonists are just speculating, but I think I can accept it as strong evidence regardless - this discussion was such a critical part of the story that, if they had been wrong, literary convention demands that they (or at least the readers) would find out about it later on. Thanks. – Harry Johnston Dec 20 '16 at 23:33

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