Famously the first edition, first impression, of the first Harry Potter book was printed only in 500 copies. Of these around 300 were given to libraries and schools and are typically in poor condition, while of the remaining 200 copies only a handful were then inscribed by Rowling for friends, acquaintances and family members.
This copy, in fine condition, included the note For James, Kate and Laura, with best wishes, J.K. Rowling and the date 6-9-97, less than three months after the book’s publication in June of that year.
The hammer price at the auction on June 17, in the middle of a punchy £80,000-120,000 estimate, is close to a record for a copy of …The Philosopher’s Stone. In December 2018 a copy signed by Rowling at a Harrods launch made $130,000 (£102,050 at the time) at Christie's in New York, while in November 2019, another signed copy fetched $120,000 (£93,250) at Hindman Auctions in Chicago.
Equally remarkable are the sums commanded by copies of the first edition in poor ‘ex-library’ condition. One sold at Hansons in Staffordshire is mentioned in this week’s Books & Works on Paper.