First Edition Harry Potter Book Sets New Auction Record by Fetching £356,000

Thursday 23rd December 2021 - Cara Bentham


First Edition Harry Potter Book Sets New Auction Record by Fetching £356,000

The unexpected results of a Texas rare books auction!

A first edition copy of the first Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone,by J.K Rowling, set a new world record when it was sold for a colossal £356,629 at an auction house in the US on 9th December.

Heritage Auctions in Dallas, Texas, US, sold the popular book to an anonymous buyer. Vice president of the auction house, Joe Maddalena, stated: “Not only is it the most expensive Harry Potter book ever sold, it’s the most expensive commercially published 20th-century work of fiction ever sold.”

J.K Rowling’s debut novel was rejected by a dozen publishers before finally being printed by Bloomsbury in 1997. Just 500 hardback copies of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone were originally printed, most of which were intended for public libraries. The Harry Potter series has gone on to become the best selling series of novels ever.

The few rare first edition copies left are amongst the most coveted books in modern literature. Live bidding for this copy started at $75,000 USD (£56,844). There was great interest in the lot and after a round of heated bidding, the price was driven ever higher. The auction room erupted with applause when the final sale price of $471,000 USD (£356,000) was announced.

The book was sold as part of Heritage Auctions’ two-day rare books event, First Into Film, that included 69 first edition books which have later been adapted into films. The Harry Potter book wasn’t the only title which shattered records during this event. A 1954-55 Lord of the Rings trilogy, which included J.R.R Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers and The Return of the King, broke its previous auction record by selling for $103,125 USD (£78,161) in the same auction.

Previously, first editions of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone have sold for anywhere between £83,000 and £105,000. According to the auction house listing, the book was in ‘near pristine’ condition and was one of only 500 copies which had the same binding.

In 1997, the same year it was printed, one of these rare copies of the book became the property of David Heyman, a film producer who was looking for a suitable children’s book to adapt into a movie. Heyman later reached out to Warner Bros to pitch the idea of adapting the first Harry Potter book into a movie.

Two years after this, the first Harry Potter movie was released in cinemas, receiving commercial and critical acclaim. A further 7 Harry Potter movies were produced thereafter with the franchise earning a massive £5.8 billion in global box office sales.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the first film and it was announced recently that the cast of Harry Potter – including Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson – will be reuniting to mark the occasion by participating in a television special.

The TV special, Return to Hogwarts, will be released for streaming on New Year’s Day on NOW TV in the UK and HBO Max in the US.