Created By: deuxhero on October 7, 2011 Last Edited By: deuxhero on August 5, 2013

Literal Money Maker.

Artifact that produces money. Formerly: Sampo

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Main
Page Type:
Trope
An artifact that will produce money directly. Works (unless its a parody) will rarely bring up how the money it creates will be worthless due to simple economics. With modern currencies, serial numbers are also an issue, forcing either a duplicate or number not in use (Counterfeit) A type of Zillion-Dollar Bill.

Alt titles: Money Tree.

  • The "Endless Coin Sack" of Wario Land: Shake It!
  • King Orgnum's Coffer is an artifact that appears in The Elder Scrolls Arena. Curiously it is absent from the sequels (the only artifact to disappear from the series), though the original owner is mentioned in a few in game books.
  • Averted on The Fairly Oddparents, Da Rules prevent wishing for money (or other unique limited quantity goods such as tickets to an event) as it would require counterfeiting or theft (which are wrong).
  • The Coinbox from Coinbox Hero. It's just like the multi-coin blocks from Super Mario Bros., except it produces an infinite about of coins, and the harder you hit it, the more valuable the coins are. Ironically, the only reason you're collecting the coins is so you can buy a tac-nuke to destroy it.

Variants that produce non currency "valuable" objects such as unstamped gold.

  • The goose that lays golden eggs from the fairy tale Jack and the beanstalk. Also in the movie Jack and the Beanstalk.
  • The golden ring Draupnir in Norse Mythology would make eight copies of itself every ninth night.
  • Turning lead into gold was the end goal of alchemy.
  • The Sampo of Finnish mythology.
  • An Italian Scrooge Mc Duck comic has a silver making Philosopher's Stone. A rare example that understands the economic implications for the trope, Scrooge (though not the Beagle Boys) realizes how bad it is, and is tracking it down to prevent its use to protect his interests in silver.
Community Feedback Replies: 58
  • October 7, 2011
    Ryuuma
    Strongly suggest the Alt Title, otherwise it won't be accepted.

    In an Italian Fairy Tale, the handsome protagonist makes a Deal With The Devil in exchange for a pair of magical trousers: as long as he keeps them up he becomes dirtier and uglier, but on the other hand he gets an endless supply of cash from the bottomless pockets.
  • October 7, 2011
    NetMonster
    The goose that lays golden eggs from the fairy tale Jack and the beanstalk. Also in the movie Jack And The Beanstalk.
  • October 7, 2011
    LordGro
  • October 7, 2011
    Ghilz
    ^^ I like the Golden Egg Goose for a title.

    • Dunno if it counts but The A Team movie revolves around (legitimate non-counterfeit) printing plates for American dollar bills.
    • Dungeons And Dragons has an coffer that will produce the coin value of any item put inside of it, like some sort of portable merchant that has no concept of demand and supply.
  • October 7, 2011
    Bisected8
    Throughout history, many counterfeiters have obtained printing plates and other genuine parts to make fake bills on (although they tend to make their money by selling the bills on to people willing to take the risk of being caught using them).
  • October 7, 2011
    dotchan
    Money trees are common variants.
  • October 7, 2011
    Andygal
    money trees might even be common enough to warrant a subtrope.
  • October 7, 2011
    TBTabby
    The Coinbox from Coinbox Hero. It's just like the multi-coin blocks from Super Mario Bros., except it produces an infinite about of coins, and the harder you hit it, the more valuable the coins are. Ironically, the only reason you're collecting the coins is so you can buy a tac-nuke to destroy it.
  • October 7, 2011
    Generality
    The golden ring Draupnir in Norse Mythology would make eight copies of itself every ninth night.
  • October 7, 2011
    peccantis
    The Sampo didn't just make money, it also made grains and salt, i.e. food and the most needed expensive stuff, so you could just admire the gold or buy indulgent things.
  • October 7, 2011
    Lumpenprole
    Since all USA Federal Reserve Notes have a unique serial number which is recorded, any magically produced bill would have to have either a duplicate number or one not on the official list- a counterfeit in other words.

  • October 7, 2011
    PapercutChainsaw
    The Relics in the Age Of Empires series produce gold when stored in a monastery.
  • October 7, 2011
    Micah
    ^^^Also, the idea that the Sampo is an example of this trope at all is an invention of Elias Lonnrot. In general, its function is unspecified (and argued about by folklorists).
  • October 7, 2011
    randomsurfer
    Magic: you can buy a "money maker," which magically changes plain paper into cash.

    There's a joke I only remember part of: a man goes to a bar and buys a drink. The charge is $7.46, and he pulls that exact amount out of his pocket. Another drink, this time it's $15.31, and again he pulls out the exact amount. Bartender asks him and he says he [had a magic lamp/rescued a mermaid/etc.] and rather than asking for an exact amount of money for his wish (like $1,000,000), he wished to always be able to pull out exactly the price he needed any time he wanted to. I forget the rest though.
  • October 8, 2011
    LordGro
    The Gold-Ass from the Brothers Grimm fairy tale The Wishing-Table, the Gold-Ass and the Cudgel in the Sack. It literally shits gold.
  • October 8, 2011
    Arivne
    Tabletop RPG
    • Dungeons And Dragons had Bucknard's Everfull Purse. If one each of certain types of coin (and possibly 1 gem) were left in the purse, 25 additional coins (and gems) of each type will be added to the contents the next morning. Which coins (and/or gem) were added depended on the type of purse.
  • October 8, 2011
    aurora369
    The unexchangeable ruble from Russian folklore. It magically returns to its owner's pocket after it is spent.
  • October 8, 2011
    ClockStopping
    • In The Sims 2, one of the early aspiration rewards is a literal money tree, and a later one is a (more efficient, but more dangerous) money-printing machine.
  • October 8, 2011
    ZombieAladdin
    The Super Mario series has Coin Blocks that will pop out an unlimited number of Coins until some short amount of time has elapsed since the player character first hits it.
  • October 8, 2011
    randomsurfer
    The song "Magic Penny," which is about love, uses the magic penny as a simile.
    It's just like a magic penny,
    Hold it tight and you won't have any.
    Lend it, spend it, and you'll have so many
    They'll roll all over the floor.
  • October 9, 2011
    TechUnadept
    The Meat Bush, Meat Orchid, and Meat Tree clan hall furnishings from Kingdom Of Loathing (meat is used as curency in the game).
  • October 9, 2011
    Koveras
    • Undercover Terran observers in Arkanar in Hard To Be A God use a device that transmutes wood chips into golden coins at a subatomic level. It goes awry for them when someone examines their coins and realizes that they are 100% pure gold, which is impossible to reproduce at the local Technology Level. He thinks they are devils, however.
  • October 9, 2011
    Kellor
    On Bewitched, Samantha once produced a money tree.
  • October 9, 2011
    Arivne
    If money trees are included in the trope:

    Tabletop RPG
    • Dungeons And Dragons (cont.)
      • Early editions had the Gem of Income. When planted in fertile soil with plenty of sunlight and water, it would grow into a money tree in 1 week. The tree grew 11-20 gold pieces per week on its branches.
  • October 9, 2011
    kordova
    Duck tailes: The self replicating coin.
  • October 9, 2011
    Auxdarastrix
    The story of Midas in Classical Mythology is a subversion of this trope.
  • October 9, 2011
    DragonQuestZ
    So would this require that the money not be considered counterfeit?
  • October 9, 2011
    FrodoGoofballCoTV
    Literature:
    • In The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy series, one society decided to adopt the leaf as a form of currency. Soon after, massive inflation occurred, resulting in massive deforestation.
  • October 9, 2011
    dal0525
    How about the fake commercial on The Amanda Show that shows the Money Maker, producing an infinite amount of cash?
  • October 9, 2011
    Riddle78
    Bit of a meme,but any Nintendo hardware? "It prints money!"
  • October 9, 2011
    Nora
    This is occasionally what nanotechnology is supposed to do; in both Cory Doctorow's short story "After the Siege" and Nancy Kress' "Nano Comes To Clifford Falls". The latter story does show the economy collapsing as a result. (Both produce "stuff" rather than money, so I'm not sure if you want to include this one.)

    Sims 3 also has a money tree, it's just rarer.
  • October 10, 2011
    NoirGrimoir
    I want to call this something catchier like Cash Creator or just Money Maker (why is 'literal' necessary? It's more of a pun without it).
  • October 10, 2011
    LordGro
    The difficulty here is that the title should make clear that the device produces literal money directly. Money Maker sounds too much like Cash Cow -- at first glance, you would expect it too have a figurative meaning. It's tricky.

    Cash Crapper? I think Literal Money Maker is not bad, though.
  • October 10, 2011
    Lavalyte
    Coinucopia?
  • October 10, 2011
    LordGro
    The Cornucopia or Horn of Plenty is not limited to produce money. It could become a supertrope, with Literal Money Maker as a subtrope. (I think the Sampo from The Kalevala is more or less a Horn of Plenty).
  • October 10, 2011
    ArtFever
    Swedish childrens book turned TV series Pojken med Guldbyxorna ("The Boy with the Golden Trousers") revolves around a boy with the ability to pull an infinite amount of bills out of his pockets.
  • October 10, 2011
    JoeG
    • Friday The13th The Series: In one episode, the cursed artifact is a wood-chipper that produces paper money when people are put into it. The wealthier the victim, the higher the denomination of the bills.
  • October 11, 2011
    Lavalyte
  • November 6, 2011
    LordGro
    Didn't realize the pun at first, but I bet so will most people.
  • November 9, 2011
    deuxhero
    I gen the pun (coin) but nothing else.
  • November 11, 2011
    aurora369
    Many depictions of the Philosopher's Stone are this, ascribing to it the power to make gold.
  • November 11, 2011
    Koveras
    I think the current title is good. Now if someone would update the write-up...
  • July 30, 2013
    Haldarious
    Would this include abilities that allow a character to produce arbitrary amounts of cash? such as:

    • Reality Warper Shade of Shade The Changing Man can use his powers to synthesize money out of nothing, though it disappears a while later.
    • In Sym Bionic Titan, the gang buys a house with cash that the robot Newton/Octus generates himself.
    • The Doctor of Doctor Who sometimes uses the Sonic Screwdriver to hack an ATM and take out all the money he needs.
  • July 30, 2013
    Melkior
    Literature
    • In the short story A Logic Named Joe by Murray Leinster, a boy asks the titular too-helpful "logic" (computer) how to make a machine which will create perfect (therefore undetectable) counterfeit money. The boy is only caught because he's a typically curious boy and can't resist "fiddling with" the money making machine, causing its counterfeits to no longer be perfect.
  • July 30, 2013
    Chabal2
    Another Donald Duck story has Gyro create a duplicating machine (to prevent the obvious problems, it stamps his initials on the copy). The Beagle Boys steal it anyway and get to work copying bills.
  • July 30, 2013
    Chernoskill
    Videogames

    In the German RPG "Realms Of Arkania: Star Trail", it is possible to assemble a contraption that "produces" an unlimited amount of money. It is only possible to buy the needed parts on the game's very first day in one specific place of the starting town. The machine is called the "Dukatenscheisser" (Ducat Shitter) and thus a reference to similar entities from folklore, fables and fairy tales.
  • July 30, 2013
    DAN004
    • Fullmetal Alchemist: It's possible to transmute things into gold (as noted above) but it's prohibited because it will disrupt the economy.
  • July 31, 2013
    OlafMerchant
    Albeit not an artifact, would the golden touch of King Midas count? (Under Mythology)
  • July 31, 2013
    Arivne
    Literature
    • Harry Harrison's The Stainless Steel Rat Saves the World. When James diGriz goes back in time to present day Earth, he uses a duplicator machine to reproduce a ten dollar bill multiple times. He ignores the problem of duplicate serial numbers by assuming that most people don't look closely at the money they accept.
  • July 31, 2013
    NateTheGreat
    We need to limit this to "creates monetary resources out of thin air." Objects designed to counterfeit money don't really count, as it's not "thin air", it's just a special press, special paper, and special ink.
  • July 31, 2013
    Koveras
    ^ What about "creating gold coins from woodchips"?
  • July 31, 2013
    paycheckgurl
    In some installments of The Sims you can grow a money tree...which is Exactly What It Says On The Tin.
  • July 31, 2013
    CrypticMirror
    In Good Omens a footnote mentions that a particularly disreputable book publisher tried to create a money making device and that his later time in gaol is not coincidental to this.
  • August 2, 2013
    Topazan
    "Works (unless its a parody) will rarely bring up how the money it creates will be worthless due to simple economics." That's really only true if everyone has one. If there's only one, and the owner maintains a sane pace of production, it could enrich them personally.
  • August 3, 2013
    Melkior
    This is referenced but not used in a Star Trek TNG episode (but I forget which one). The Enterprise crew arrive at a planet which has just managed to form a stable government after a long civil war and the new government still has some enemies. The Enterprise is there to trade some equipment (including a futuristic duplicator machine which is not quite a replicator) for some minerals. The humanoid aliens want to "alter the deal" by trading for some of their worthless (anywhere but their planet) paper currency instead of the minerals. Riker points out that if the duplicator machine is supplied with local materials, it can produce undetectable counterfeits of the currency and obliquely threatens to sell it to the government's enemies instead. This persuades the government officials to keep to the original agreement.
  • August 3, 2013
    Melkior
    I think this trope should cover not only magically produced money (literal Money From Nothing) but also counterfeit money. The only reason I can see for separating the two is if there are too many examples to comfortably list, or there's already a trope. Don't we already have Funny Money?
  • August 3, 2013
    LordGro
    But counterfeiting money is really a different trope. I took this as a trope about magical contraptions that produce real, valid money (respectively stuff that has monetary value) from thin air or comparatively worthless raw materials.

    Btw, am I right in assuming that this is Up For Grabs?

    I also would like the name Money Replicator better, as a complement to Matter Replicator.
  • August 5, 2013
    Melkior
    If this trope is about something which literally produces money from nothing, that should be the trope name: Money From Nothing is not only catchy but also close to some lyrics from a once-popular song.
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