If a wizard sells a second-hand wand, is this the same as winning it in a duel? Could Voldemort have bought the Elder Wand from Snape instead of killing him for it?

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    You’re really asking about two very different things here, I think. Although it’s never mentioned outright in the books, there is good circumstantial evidence to suggest that the Elder Wand did not behave like a normal wand as far as allegiance is concerned. My guess would be that selling on a regular wand would work the same as giving it away: keep it within the family and it should work all right (but not ideal); sell it to an outsider and it probably won’t be very good. Selling the Elder Wand would not change its allegiance at all. Dec 31, 2017 at 10:19
  • Would selling a pokemon change it's allegiance towards the new owner? I think wands sort of behave like pokemon, where you have to defeat it & trap it into submission to get it's allegiance, except perhaps for legendary pokemon, who are very hard to come by and tame. Fitting, sin e the elder wand is a legendary wand. I wonder if pokemon got the idea from Harry Potter 😐
    – user13267
    Dec 31, 2017 at 15:55
  • But wands are bought and sold to begin with so at some point a wand must know this is the owner who bought me?
    – Richard C
    Dec 31, 2017 at 17:07
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    If sellinga used wand is like winning one in a duel, then wouldn't buying one be like losing it in a duel? I'm confused.
    – user14111
    Dec 31, 2017 at 18:36

3 Answers 3


I'd hazard a guess at no, it wouldn't count.

Ollivander states that a conquered wand will usually bend.

"I took this wand from Draco Malfoy by force," said Harry. "Can I use it safely?"
"I think so. Subtle laws govern wand ownership, but the conquered wand will usually bend its will to its new master."
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, chapter 24: "The Wandmaker"

And when Harry Potter uses Hermione Granger's blackthorn wand, which she willingly let him use, he has trouble with it.

The spider did not shrink. Harry looked down at the blackthorn wand. Every minor spell he had cast with it so far that day had seemed less powerful than those he had produced with his phoenix wand. The new one felt intrusively unfamiliar, like having somebody else’s hand sewn to the end of his arm.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, chapter 20: "Xenophilius Lovegood"

Selling a wand would probably also count as willingly given, and not conquered.

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    “Selling a wand would probably also count as willingly given...” This, I think, is the sticking point. The wand knows it is transferring ownership. It may not like it, but I would think it less likely to be difficult for the new owner who wants it over the one who gave it up.
    – Dúthomhas
    Dec 31, 2017 at 10:30
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    "The new one felt intrusively unfamiliar" Couldn't this just be caused by the wand being new to him? I suppose the connection between wizard and wand gets stronger over time.
    – Mast
    Dec 31, 2017 at 12:52
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    The blackthorn wand was stolen by Ron from a Snatcher, not lent to him by Hermione. The book mentions no difficulties Harry had with Hermione's wand. Dec 31, 2017 at 14:44

They should work well enough, but may have learned habits that are incompatible with their new owners.

It seems like willingly given wands, which would likely include a wand being sold secondhand, work about as well as wands won from their previous owner. He said using Draco’s wand, a wand he’d won from its owner, worked “at least as well as Hermione’s”. Therefore, Hermione’s wand, which she willingly lent him, worked about as well as a wand he’d won from its owner.

“Harry looked down at the hawthorn wand that had once belonged to Draco Malfoy. He had been surprised, but pleased, to discover that it worked for him at least as well as Hermione’s had done.”
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 26 (Gringotts)

However, most wizards prefer a new wand to a secondhand wand, because a secondhand wand may have picked up habits from its previous owner that may not suit its new one.

“Most witches and wizards prefer a wand that has “chosen” them to any kind of secondhand wand, precisely because the latter is likely to have learned habits from its previous owner that might not be compatible with the new user’s style of magic.”
- The Tales of Beedle the Bard

Therefore, it seems likely that a purchased secondhand wand will work well enough for its new owner, but wizards are better off having a new wand that chose them instead of one that had been previously owned by anyone else, whether won from them or bought.

  • More evidence: Ron's wand in Sorcerer's Stone (before it was damaged in Chamber of Secrets) was a hand-me-down and he never had a problem using it. Jun 10, 2021 at 20:15

No, When Harry first buys a wand he needs to try several before he finds one that is right for him. This is not the case for a captured wand which always belonged to the winner of the wand.

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    Harry didn't buy his wand second-hand, though, which is the nub of the question. Jan 1, 2018 at 11:28

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