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Papa Smurf's lab explodes while he is making the formula "Ad Capitis mala et alios dolores sanandos" (which is how much Brainy Smurf is able to read because he is unable to translate it properly like he claims), and when the other Smurfs arrive, Papa Smurf is unconscious. A Smurf goes to the home of the good wizard Homnibus to ask for help. Homnibus realizes that Papa Smurf has fallen sick due to using sulfur in the formula, but he lacks some ingredients needed for the cure, so he sends his servant Oliver to buy some. The Smurf goes along with Oliver and learns about money and the humans' commerce system.
The Smurf returns to the Smurf Village with medicine that Papa Smurf must drink three times a day to get better. The Smurf tries to tell Papa Smurf about money, but Papa Smurf needs rest and is unable to listen to him, so the Smurf decides to put the commerce system in practice as a surprise, thus becoming Finance Smurf.
The first step is to make coins. Finance Smurf asks Painter Smurf to make a picture of Papa Smurf's face inside a circle, which is then used as a model for Sculptor Smurf to make a mold for the coins. Then Handy Smurf pours molten gold on the mold to make the first Smurf coins.
Finance Smurf arranges a conference to explain to the other Smurfs what money is and how it works. Everybody agrees on Finance Smurf's idea to use money from now on (save for Brainy Smurf). Each Smurf gets a bag of money as a start.
At first, the inexperienced Smurfs need Finance Smurf's help to know how much do they need to spend or ask for given services, and find the currency system funny, but after some time, trouble begins. While Baker Smurf, Farmer Smurf, Handy Smurf and some other Smurfs get richer, most Smurfs get poor and need to find ways to get money, selling unwanted stuff that they previously did for fun (Jokey Smurf's presents, Harmony Smurf's concerts, Poet Smurf's poems, etc.).
Finance Smurf creates and manages a bank to loan money to the poorer Smurfs as well as to store the richer Smurfs' money, but Farmer Smurf doesn't trust the institution and goes to bury his money in the forest, only to encounter Gargamel there. As Farmer Smurf escapes, he drops a coin which is picked up by the evil wizard, who then realizes that the Smurfs have money now.
Farmer Smurf notices that he has lost a coin, so he goes to get it back, but when he starts to cross the bridge, it falls apart. Finance Smurf offers to finance the bridge repairs if any Smurf who crosses the bridge from then on pays him a toll. He asks Handy Smurf to get the price for the materials. Carpenter Smurf asks 1500 coins for the wood, which Handy Smurf finds too expensive, so another Smurf offers him inferior wood for just 1000 coins, plus a bribe that Handy accepts.
Farmer Smurf returns to the forest to find his lost coin, but Gargamel has planted there lead coins painted yellow as bait that lures the Smurf into a trap. Gargamel then sends his crow Corbelius with a message for the Smurfs to give him all their money in exchange for Farmer Smurf. Papa Smurf, who has recovered, sends a Smurf to spy on Gargamel, and the Smurf spy discovers the wizard setting up a trap in order to get both the Smurfs and their money. The Smurfs fix Gargamel's trap to make it fall on him instead of them. Then, while Finance Smurf and Brainy Smurf carry the money back to the Village, other Smurfs go to Gargamel's house to save Farmer Smurf from Azrael. Papa Smurf decides to have a party to celebrate their triumph, but then Finance Smurf asks who will pay for the party, so at the end there's no party.
Papa Smurf learns that he will have to pay a large sum of money to Handy Smurf in order for him to rebuild his destroyed laboratory, but before he can do that he has to pay Smurfette for nursing him during his sickness, Baker Smurf for food, and other Smurfs for various other services, and so he quickly becomes poor. When Finance Smurf suggests that he make the Smurfs pay for any kind of help he gives them, Papa Smurf soundly refuses. Papa Smurf then observes the Village and notes that all the things the Smurfs once did in a cooperative spirit are now done if they are paid only, and there are fights over money as well as stress all around due to the constant work.
One day, a Smurf gets sick of the aggravating currency-based life and decides to leave the Smurf Village. Other Smurfs agree and leave with him, even Papa Smurf. In fact, everyone leaves save for Finance Smurf, who tells them they cannot leave because they owe him money. Their response is to throw him all the money back. At first Finance Smurf refuses to revert to the old ways and even gloats about having the whole Village for himself. But eventually, he changes his mind when he decides he doesn't want to be alone, so he asks everybody to return to the village and the old system based on cooperation. The coins are then converted into golden musical instruments.
- The subject of the comic book is the famous system that has been implemented on human society: money. Peyo shows us the social differences that grow between the Smurfs (rich and poor). We can also see how the lifestyle of smurfs changes, revolving around money and bringing misery everywhere ...
- Also, although the book was never adapted for the television cartoon series, there is an episode entitled "The Smurfs and the Money Tree" which also revolves around money, namely an enchanted money tree created by Gargamel and his mother to trap the Smurfs. But because Greedy Smurf finds the tree first, instead of actual money, it turns out to carry chocolate coins wrapped in gold with Greedy's image on them.
- This is the last comic book story that was worked on by the original Peyo, Pierre Culliford before his death on December 24, 1992. His son Thierry Culliford would take over in creating all Smurf comic book stories from that point onward, mostly in the area of scripting stories with various cartoon artists on hand doing the artwork.