Pricing - The Firebolt
For a fic I'm writing I need some information on finances. I'm considering having somebody buy a Firebolt but I'm not sure if they would be willing to spend 'too much' money. Unfortunately JKR never specifies a price for the Firebolt so it's hard to know how much that actually cost. If you were to work at the official (if a little doubtful) estimate of 5 pounds to 1 galleon how much would a Firebolt be?
Let us assume that brooms are somewhat analogous to Muggle bicycles. A simple, uninspiring bicycle with only one gear ratio would usually cost somewhere around £50-60. A simple bicycle like this could be parallel to a cheap broom like a Shooting Star, so if you go with the 5-1 exchange rate, a Shooting Star could cost around ten to twelve Galleons.
On the other side of the spectrum, fancy hand-made racing bicycles like those used in the Tour de France can cost £2000 and higher. If we go with this bicycle/broomstick analogy, a Firebolt would cost at least four hundred Galleons.
Now, considering that the Triwizard Tournament prize money was a thousand Galleons, which was enough to start the Weasleys' Wizarding Wheezes company, spending almost half of that amount on one broomstick is quite excessive.
Tim the Enchanter
I've always imagined that about 100-200 Galleons would be about the price of a high-end broom. That way, it's just out of reach of the average wizard. I could see the Firebolt possibly being more than that, just because in PoA, the workers at Quality Quidditch would only give price on request.
It's possibly a jaw-dropping amount, since not even Malfoy's dad upgraded his son's broom when the Firebolts came on the market.
I instinctively thought about 400 Galleons, too. Just when you look at what a wand, a quill, the omniocculars, a ride on the Knight Bus, ... costs - you get an overall feel for the average cost of everyday wizarding life. And then you can go "how much money wouldn't I want to spend?". And there you have the Firebolt :D
Also, the Weasleys spent "most of" 700 Galleons on a vacation in Egypt which lasted for up to a month or so. They probably didn't stay in a five-* hotel though.