Harry Potter book hits world record of £ 356,000

A rare first edition of the Harry Potter book sold for a world record of £ 356,000 – the highest price ever for a work of 20th century fiction.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was in “mint” condition in the first edition of 500 copies printed in 1997.

About 300 were donated to libraries and schools and the remaining 200 passed into private hands.

They contain several typos, including “a wand” printed twice on a list of items Harry needs for Hogwarts on page 53.

The “Witchcraft and Witchcraft” printing error can also be seen on the back cover – a subtle variation of the title of “Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Witchcraft” that appears in the novel.

This copy was acquired by the American from a bookseller in 1998. At the time, she was building a unique collection of first edition books that were turned into films.

Although the first Harry Potter movie didn’t release until 2001, she aptly predicted upon receiving JK Rowling’s debut novel that it was only a matter of time before it hit the big screen.

As a result, she kept the book in pristine condition so that it did not suffer wear and tear from well-handled library copies.

To date, over 120 million copies of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone have been sold worldwide.

Auctions started at £ 50,000 and huge competition drove the price up until the hammer fell to £ 287,000 ($ 380,000). With auction house fees added to the final figure paid by an anonymous buyer at £ 356,000.

The auction was organized by Heritage Auctions of Dallas, Texas.

It broke the previous record Harry Potter prize of £ 125,000 set in Edinburgh last year for a first edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone signed by JK Rowling.

Previously, the highest price ever for a 20th century fiction book was a first edition of The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald (1925) which fetched $ 377,000 (£ 285,000) in New York City in 2014.

Joe Maddalena, Executive Vice President of Heritage, said: “Not only is the most expensive Harry Potter book ever sold, it is the most expensive commercially published 20th century work of fiction ever sold.

“This copy was one of 500 copies that did not go to a school or library and a private collector got hold of it at the time of publication.

“It is in new and undamaged condition which is why it was so sought after.

“The sender bought it in 1998 when she was collecting first edition books turned into films.

“Once Harry Potter was released it took off like a rocket and it was clear from the start that he would make a movie of it, although she wouldn’t have known for sure at the time.

“Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone saw the light of day on the big screen two decades ago, and this result shows the power of this combination of literature and film.

“These books are awarded for the results of their films.

“We are delighted with the result and the sender is over the moon.”

In total, the seller’s 20-book collection of first edition grossed £ 1.13million ($ 1.5million).

It featured JRR Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy which grossed £ 78,000 ($ 103,125), while CS Lewis’ seven Chronicles of Narnia titles totaled £ 76,000 ($ 100,000).

A first edition of Ian Fleming’s classic James Bond novel Casino Royale (1953) fetched £ 32,000 ($ 42,500).


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