18

As far as I'm aware, it seems to be the norm for British wizards to have their own Gringotts accounts. This goes for the great and the good of society, the rich and the poor. (If you think that people who are believed to be Dark Wizards can't use Gringotts, think again). Yet Voldemort didn't have money as a child. It seems that the penniless Merope didn't leave him anything since Hogwarts had to give him a grant to attend.

When he had finished he turned to Dumbledore and said baldy, "I haven't got any money."
"That is easily remedied," said Dumbledore, drawing a leather money-pouch from his pocket. "There is a fund at Hogwarts for those who require assistance to buy books and robes."
(Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 13, The Secret Riddle)

But surely when he got older Riddle would have got an account in which to deposit his wages from Borgin & Burke, and any savings. He may not have cared much about money but a bank account is a fairly basic part of being a grown-up. Yet Harry isn't at all confident that he ever went to Gringotts.

"I don't know whether he was ever inside Gringotts," said Harry. "He never had gold there when he was younger, because nobody left him anything. He would've seen the bank from the outside, though, the first time he went to Diagon Alley...I think he would've envied anyone who had a key to a Gringotts vault. I think he'd have seen it as a real symbol of belonging to the wizarding world."
(Deathly Hallows, Chapter 24, The Wandmaker)

It may make sense for the child Riddle to envy people who have Gringotts vaults. But why would the adult Riddle still think that way, years later, when he came to think of hiding places for his Horcruxes? Do we have any reason to think that Gringotts doesn't allow people in the wizarding community to open new accounts when they don't have a pre-existing family vault? (Adamant argues - sensibly, I think - that we don't here).

Furthermore, if he did have a vault of his own, why use the Lestrange's vault to hide the cup? Did he perhaps consider the Lestrange vault more historic and prestigous and therefore worthy of a Horcrux? Or is the fact that he asked Bellatrix at all an indication that he didn't have a vault of his own?

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    I doubt it. Else why put the Helga Hufflepuff's relic turned Horcrux into Lestrange's vault ? – Evdzhan Mustafa Dec 10 '16 at 15:58
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    Regarding Harry's supposition that Voldemort "envied anyone who had a key to a Gringotts vault", I'm not convinced that everyone with an account at Gringotts has their own personal vault. He may well have envied the status of those with their own keys, even if Harry was wrong and he had an account to hold his (small) earnings. – Blackwood Dec 10 '16 at 18:02
  • Just a shot in the dark, but in RL you usually need adult supervision to open a bank account. Riddle didn't have an account as a child and no one to help him open one. When did Riddle first start doing evil stuff? Was he 18 yet? Could he have reasonably gone to Diagon Alley after he turned 18 to open a bank account or would he have been apprehended? – Kevin Dec 15 '16 at 15:17
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    @Kevin. Well, he was working at Borgin and Burkes at 17/18, when he was legally of age. So an adult. He was doing "evil stuff" (e.g. poisoning people) but nothing the authorities had any concerns about. ;) – The Dark Lord Dec 15 '16 at 21:36
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Unknown, but probably not based on the fact that his sole employment (post Hogwarts) was working for Borgin and Burke's 'Illegal Black Macick Emporium of evil' who were probably paying him cash-in-hand.

After leaving their employ, he disappeared from Wizarding society entirely. Since V's lust wasn't for money, but rather for power, influence and immortality, there's really no need for him to have a vault in which to hide his belongings since he doesn't actually seem to have any. The sole time he uses Gringotts to secrete a possession, he hands it off to one of his lackeys.

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    But if he "envied" anyone with a Gringotts key, why wouldn't he get his own account as a grown up? He may not have cared much about wealth but he did care about prestige, which having a Gringotts key gives you. – The Dark Lord Dec 10 '16 at 16:03
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    @TheDarkLord - Harry supposes that he would have been jealous (imagining how he'd feel) but we've really got no good reason to actually imagine that that's the case with Voldemort. He doesn't care about money and he didn't give a damn about becoming part of Wizarding society. He cares about immortality, dark magic and power. – Valorum Dec 10 '16 at 16:06
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    I never got the impression that goblins were worried about the source of the gold they stored. – alexgbelov Aug 6 '18 at 23:26
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Furthermore, if he did have a vault of his own, why use the Lestrange's vault to hide the cup?

I don't have the books at hand, so I can't provide any quotes, but I remember that somewhere, I believe in the first one, when Harry visits Gringotts for the first time, it is mentioned that the deepest vaults, belonging to the oldest and wealthiest families, are the best guarded. This looks plausible in two ways: We don't see any other vaults guarded by Dragons and it makes sense to offer the best service to the oldest, wealthiest customers. So even if he had a vault on his own, the Lestrange's one would still be the more secure (and maybe a bit less obvious) one.

  • Just saw this, I actually had a similar answer. I recall that as well. +1 – EJoshuaS - Reinstate Monica Aug 6 '18 at 20:48
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    Just to state plainly something I believe you allude to: if he was trying to hide the cup, then putting it in his own vault would be a pretty obvious place to look (if he did have one). – RDFozz Aug 6 '18 at 21:34
3

Before he became the Dark Lord, Tom Riddle was just another orphan without a bank account.

Once he knows how to get things from other people, and has a following, he doesn't need a bank account, or a vault. He has Death Eaters, and he can steal and/or hide with spells whatever he wishes.

It would be Oh So Obvious if he were to hide anything in a vault under his own name. Like a Horcrux. It would be the first thing opened and inspected. So the Dark Lord is much smarter than the Ministry of Magic, on this.

2

Probably not.

If he got one as Tom Riddle, he wouldn’t want to use it as the Dark Lord.

We don’t know whether or not Tom Riddle had a Gringotts account, but even if he did, the Dark Lord wouldn’t continue using it once he gave up the name and fully became Lord Voldemort. After quitting his job at Borgin and Burkes, ‘Tom Riddle’ disappeared and the Dark Lord permanently became Lord Voldemort, giving up the name ‘Tom Riddle’ completely.

“His superiors had no idea where he had gone; they were as surprised as anyone at his disappearance. And that was the last that was seen or heard of Tom Riddle for a very long time.”
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 20 (Lord Voldemort’s Request)

He refused to go by the name ‘Tom’ after that, and never used the name again. He even tried to get Dumbledore to call him by his chosen name, though Dumbledore didn’t comply.

“Voldemort did not answer at once, but merely sipped his wine.

‘They do not call me “Tom” any more,’ he said. ‘These days, I am known as –”
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 20 (Lord Voldemort’s Request)

Therefore, if Tom Riddle had a Gringotts account, the Dark Lord would no longer be using it after giving up the name, either to hide his Horcrux or for anything else.

He probably couldn’t get one as Voldemort - the goblins mightn’t allow it.

As Lord Voldemort, it’s unlikely that the goblins would be willing to give him an account. As he became known as Lord Voldemort, he also became feared. It seems unlikely at that time, he’d really walk into Gringotts expecting them to give him an account. As he gained notoriety, he’d also become considered a dangerous criminal, which isn’t the type who’s usually allowed to get a bank account. In addition, though Gringotts was controlled by the goblins, they wouldn’t really want to help him. We know that the goblins don’t approve of the Dark Lord, and don’t want him to take power because living under his rule would mean that then they’d be put even further below wizards.

“But it is, it is about precisely that! As the Dark Lord becomes ever more powerful, your race is set still more firmly above mine! Gringotts falls under wizarding rule, house-elves are slaughtered, and who amongst the wand-carriers protests?”
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 24 (The Wandmaker)

So, he probably wouldn’t have been able to get one in the name of Lord Voldemort.

1

To answer the part about why he used the Lestranges' vault: I don't have the exact quote in front of me, but I recall reading that the deepest, most secure vaults are associated with the oldest, most respectable families. While the Gaunts were technically an old family, they were hardly respectable, nor did they have enough money to merit having that kind of vault. Also, the fact that Voldemort was related to them was not well-known.

That being said, given that the Lestranges' vault was one of this highest-security vaults available, I think that Voldemort would've been driven to use it at least partially by the practical concerns to make sure that the Horcrux wasn't stolen.

That was especially the case given that he knew that the lower-security vaults could, in principle, be broken into - after all, he helped orchestrate the robbery of a Gringott's vault in the first book. The only reason that that particular robbery didn't work out was the fact that the vault had been emptied a few hours earlier, which was little more than luck.

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