Where did Harry's parents get all of their money from?
So, at the beginning of Harry Potter, Harry is found to have a large vault of gold at Gringotts. Where did all of that money come from? What did James (I assume it came from him, as Lily was muggle-born, and they were both young) do to get all of that cash?
I imagine that what might seem a meager net worth to an adult might seem like a fortune to a child.
Does the book mention (I can't recall) whether the amount of money is larger than other wizardly families have?
@Tony: It's definitely a fair bit more than the Weasley's, but aside from that, I don't think they mentioned it. It seems like it's enough money to be fairly well off for a kid, I suspect it'd be around $250-500K or so USD. A good amount of money, more than most people have in savings, but not enough to be idle. Of course, I have no references to cite for that...
I was wondering if all pure-blood wizardly families would have the same amount of money (i.e. it was normal for wizards, a lot for muggles). However, the Weasleys indeed don't fit with that.
Also, comparing the amount Harry had to the Weasley's as a measure of wealth or not is like comparing apples to oranges. Harry has only to pay for himself, school things etc. Whereas, Mr. Weasley has an entire brood to pay for (especially since Mrs. Weasley homeschooled that brood until they leave to go to Hogwart's).
Oh god, i just realized something. JK Rowling used the WorldOfDarkness's method for this. Harry has three or four dots of Resources (there's a certain level of stuff he can purchase without being inconvenienced or put out too much)
@PearsonArtPhoto: Eh, the amount of gold shown in the movies (the books don't specify the amount, really) would be rather around 60 million, not 250-500k.
New writing from JKR on Pottermore fully explains. https://www.pottermore.com/writing-by-jk-rowling/the-potter-family
Hm, I'd always assumed it was from shaking down other Hogwarts students for their lunch money, based on what we saw of James' youthful antics.
James (and, by extension, Harry) got rich the old-fashioned way: he had rich ancestors.
In a new short story posted on Pottermore, titled "The Potter Family"1, Rowling reveals that the Potter family made their fortune with the invention of several important potions.
The seeds of the Potter fortune were laid by the first member of the family, Linfred of Stinchcombe, who invented medicinal potions:
Linfred was a vague and absent-minded fellow whose Muggle neighbours often called upon his medicinal services. None of them realised that Linfred’s wonderful cures for pox and ague were magical; they all thought him a harmless and lovable old chap, pottering about in his garden with all his funny plants. His reputation as a well-meaning eccentric served Linfred well, for behind closed doors he was able to continue the series of experiments that laid the foundation of the Potter family’s fortune. Historians credit Linfred as the originator of a number of remedies that evolved into potions still used to this day, including Skele-gro and Pepperup Potion. His sales of such cures to fellow witches and wizards enabled him to leave a significant pile of gold to each of his seven children upon his death.
Linfred laid a foundation that future generations would build on, though the specifics of each generation aren't recorded in this story:
The Potters continued to marry their neighbours, occasionally Muggles, and to live in the West of England, for several generations, each one adding to the family coffers by their hard work and, it must be said, by the quiet brand of ingenuity that had characterised their forebear, Linfred.
The family fortune was then greatly expanded by Harry's grandfather Fleamont Potter, who invented Sleekeazy's Hair Potion:
It was Fleamont who took the family gold and quadrupled it, by creating magical Sleekeazy’s Hair Potion ( 'two drops tames even the most bothersome barnet' ). He sold the company at a vast profit when he retired, but no amount of riches could compensate him or his wife Euphemia for their childlessness.
1 Pottermore account not required
In case anyone is asking the same question I did, the quoted text continues: "They had quite given up hope of a son or daughter when, to their shock and surprise, Euphemia found that she was pregnant and their beloved boy, James, was born."
How much generations are there between Linfred and Fleamont? Because if it's more than three, that fortune would already be reduced to a regular amount of money per household, per the kondratieff cycle.
Where do all these names crop up from? Linfred,Fleamont...never came across once ,having read Potter series umpteen times. Seems like these characters are woven and networked on the fly, to uphold the curiosity.
Clearly inheritance tax does not have much prominence in the wizarding world.
"occasionally Muggles" weren't the Potters in some published list of pureblood families?
@aitchnyu You're probably referring to the so-called "Sacred Twenty-Eight"; the Potters were notably omitted from this list because, according to Rowling, "the anonymous compiler of that supposedly definitive list of pure-bloods suspected that they had sprung from what he considered to be tainted blood"