Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone illustration

An illustration for Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by Thomas Taylor, 1997, estimated at $400,000-600,000 at Sotheby’s.

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Created in 1997 for the first edition, it was previously sold at Sotheby’s London for a premium-inclusive £85,750 in 2001. It will this time be offered on June 26 at Sotheby’s New York with an estimate of $400,000-600,000.

It is being offered as a highlight from The Library of Dr Rodney P Swantko – a collection of 19th and 20th century English and American literature.

The artwork was Taylor’s first professional commission, when he was just 23 years old. It was his responsibility of “being the first artist to visualise the as-yet-unknown character, Harry Potter”. The assignment came from Barry Cunningham at publisher Bloomsbury for a novel by an unpublished author by the name of Jo Rowling.

Taylor was among the first to read the manuscript. Now the series is of course a worldwide hit with over 500 million copies sold and translations in 80 languages.