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 seals 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
    Commented Jun 12, 2014 at 19:13
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    Maybe all newly minted coins are given a "no-duplication" spell? Good question. Commented Jun 12, 2014 at 19:15
  • Citing wiki Money in itself is thought to be one of the five exceptions to Gamp's Law of Elemental Transfiguration, meaning it cannot be created from nothing. and Attempting to duplicate money with the Geminio spell is also ineffective, as duplicates created from Geminio are worthless., but can't find the source.
    – quapka
    Commented Jun 12, 2014 at 19:20
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    @quapka - JKR hasn't named the other four exceptions...
    – Valorum
    Commented Jun 12, 2014 at 19:38
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    Fear of inflation? ;-) Commented Jun 13, 2014 at 5:31

4 Answers 4


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. Commented Jun 12, 2014 at 20:23
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    @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
    Commented Jun 12, 2014 at 20:46
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    @MichaelMior - Read the JKR quote. Things that are conjured have a tendency to disappear
    – Valorum
    Commented Jun 12, 2014 at 20:49
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    @Richard Yes you can't duplicate food. That's why they would be duplicating muggle money then buying food from muggles. =b
    – Kai
    Commented Jun 12, 2014 at 22:10
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    @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
    Commented Jun 12, 2014 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 definitely 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. Commented Mar 16, 2015 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
    Commented Mar 16, 2015 at 8:22
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    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. Commented Mar 16, 2015 at 11:40
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    I always assumed her "fake Galleons" were in fact real Galleons with fake serial numbers. This would make them unusable as legal currency (if someone inspected them) but are "real" in every other sense. Commented Apr 12, 2018 at 13:31
  • @PlutoThePlanet Sounds rather expensive in that case. That’s about twenty to thirty Galleons that Hermione had to shell out. She may have been reimbursed individually by each member, but it would still be quite risky for her, financially speaking. They may be Knuts that she’s transformed into Galleons, of course, but that then just changes this question into why the Weasleys and others didn’t just transform all their Knuts into Galleons to expand their wealth. Commented Aug 26, 2018 at 7:31

Yes its possible, though it would probably be useless to try and do so, as Goblin's are able to tell the difference between Wizard-Made Item's and true Goblin-Forged Items (As Griphook was able to authenticate Gryffindor's Sword.) And since Goblin's control the Banking System, that kind of makes it worthless to try because they probably have specific things they mint the coins with that makes it extremely easy for them to spot duplicates making it worthless to even try. Plus, Goblin cast or forged items likely have unique and hidden properties that couldn't be duplicated using Wizard magic.

However, if a Wizard/Witch was clever enough, they could duplicate Muggle Currency (which most Wizards likely wouldn't have a clue about and likely wouldn't bother with) which in turn could be "cleaned" if the person is willing to do a bit of illegal money laundering to switch out the duplicated currency with non-duplicated currency which could then be exchanged at Gringotts without anyone being the wiser. Though I imagine most wouldn't even think to try it except maybe an unscrupulous muggleborn or half-blood with the know how to pull off something of this nature.

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    I guess this comment applies to the other answers too, but I don’t see where you (or anyone) has addressed the ability to “launder” counterfeit money. Assuming that you can conjure / duplicate gold money that passes casual inspection (by non-goblins) and lasts a few hours or days, what’s to stop the counterfeiter from going to Diagon Alley and buying stuff (brooms, cauldrons , etc.), and then stopping off at Hogsmeade for a meal? Sure, you’d be ripping off the merchants, but that’s what counterfeiters do. By the time the money vanished, the merchants would no longer know what customer paid it. Commented Apr 12, 2018 at 0:51
  • It's possible that Wizard Merchants also have methods to detect the difference between real or fake gold as well that are different from Goblins (cause lets face it if everyone could do so without anyone being the wiser than their economy would have already collapsed due to lack of confidence in said currency so it's likely that merchants, venders, or the Ministry have their ways of detecting counterfeit Gold. However, I don't think they would bother in the case of Muggle Currency since Wizards don't use it often enough to notice or even care...(TBC) Commented Aug 25, 2018 at 21:36
  • (Continued)...It's also possible that the Goblin's cast their own unique protections upon their minted coins to prevent counterfeiting so there is a strong confidence in the currency they mint. But Muggle Currency doesn't have the same benefits or protections from Magic, so it would be easier to counterfeit then exchange it for real currency which in turn could be exchanged with Gringotts for Gold. And since the Goblin's likely would care if Muggle's get ripped off in the process I doubt they would bat an eye at the scheme and likely applaud it. Commented Aug 25, 2018 at 21:44

It is also worth noting that things copied by the Gemino charm are worthless as mentioned in the scene of Deathly Hallows in which the trio break into Gringotts:

"They have added Gemino and Flagrante curses!" said Griphook. "Everything you touch will burn and multiply but the copies are worthless."

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