Harry Potter book sells for £220,800: First edition signed by J K Rowling and gifted to sisters in 1997 is snapped up by a mystery buyer at auction
- JK Rowling gave hardback copy to neighbour in Edinburgh for young relatives
- She inscribed it ‘To Jenny and Lucy, with best wishes, JK Rowling’ dated 1997
- Siblings put rare book in storage for years and sold it at Bonhams auctioneers
The author gave the hardback copy, one of the first 500 to be printed, to her neighbour in Edinburgh to pass on to her two young relatives
Two sisters who were gifted a first edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by JK Rowling 25 years ago today sold it for a British record of £220,800.
The author gave the hardback copy, one of the first 500 to be printed, to her neighbour in Edinburgh to pass on to her two young relatives.
She even inscribed it ‘To Jenny and Lucy, with best wishes, JK Rowling’ and dated it September 6, 1997.
The siblings treasured the rare book, putting it in storage while they bought a lesser copy for them to read.
They have had the first edition ever since, keeping it in pristine condition.
In the first printing run, 300 copies were given to libraries and schools and the remaining 200 passed into private hands.
They all contain several typing errors including ‘one wand’ being printed twice on a list of items Harry needs for Hogwarts on page 53.
The misprint ‘Wizardry and and witchcraft’ can also be seen on the back cover – a subtle variation of the title for ‘Hogwarts school of witchcraft and wizardry’ which features in the novel.
The book went under the hammer with London-based auctioneers Bonhams, where it was acquired by an undisclosed buyer.
The previous British record for a Harry Potter first edition was £125,000 for a copy sold in Edinburgh in June 2020.
She even inscribed it ‘To Jenny and Lucy, with best wishes, JK Rowling’ and dated it September 6, 1997
The world record, a staggering £356,000, was achieved in Dallas, US, last December.
Matthew Haley, head of Bonhams fine books and manuscripts, said: ‘First editions of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone are now firmly established among the most desirable of modern literature.
‘They are even more desirable when, as with this one example, they are in excellent condition and signed by J. K. Rowling herself so I am not surprised that it set a new UK record.’
Luke Batterham, specialist at Bonhams, added: ‘When JK Rowling signed it the book had not yet become a phenomenon.
‘She gave this copy to a near neighbour in Edinburgh and inscribed it to her young relatives.
‘I believe they had a second copy which they read and this one was kept in pristine condition.
‘The relatives were from the Harry Potter generation and are now in their 30s.’
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone has sold over 120million copies to date.