First edition Harry Potter book sells for over $90,000 at auction
Over the years Harry Potter has grown into a world-spanning blockbuster franchise, but there’s still some special magic to J.K. Rowling’s original story. As if you needed more proof of that, a first-edition copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (typos and all) recently sold for £68,812 ($90,227) at auction.
The selling price was even higher than the auction house’s own estimate of the book’s value (£40,000-60,000) but it’s not hard to see why a Harry Potter fan would be interested. This copy of the book belonged to Rowling’s first literary agent, Christopher Little, and it comes with a few early-run typos. The now-famous author is cited as “Joanne Rowling,” and the word “Philosopher’s” is misspelled as “Philospher’s” on one of the interior covers. There’s also a repetition in a list of magical equipment. One of only 500 copies of the first edition of the book, this one was also signed by Rowling in 2003 when it was sold at a different charity auction.
One of the most remarkable features is the drawing of a wizard on the back cover. Though the brown hair and mischievous look makes this wizard look a bit like Jude Law’s younger Dumbledore from Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, it’s not actually a character from Harry Potter. Because of that, it was soon replaced on subsequent depictions by an actual drawing of Dumbledore. In a 2011 blog post, illustrator Thomas Taylor explained that he was commissioned to create “a wizard” for the back cover – so he drew one resembling his father.
The book was sold as part of the “Pioneering and Influential Women” themed sale at Bonhams auction house this week. Other items in the collection included handwritten letters from the likes of Gone With the Wind author Margaret Mitchell, nursing pioneer Florence Nightingale, and Napoleon’s first wife Empress Josephine.