Jim Spencer

Hansons’ books expert Jim Spencer with the copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone for sale on March 9.

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Pristine Potter that was never read

A superb first edition copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is coming to auction at Hansons with an estimate of £40,000-60,000 on March 9.

The book was one of the 500 produced in the first Potter book print run in 1997. It was ordered and purchased from Leatherhead Bookworm in Surrey by a collector and now retired paper merchant.

He said: “I bought that first issue of ...Philosopher’s Stone because I noticed an advert for it in the Bookseller magazine which compared it to theFamous Five novels and predicted it could be a prize-winner. I’ve really looked after it. It’s in the best condition it possibly can be. It’s never been read. Because the paper in the book is poor quality I was told to keep it away from sunlight to prevent it going brown.”

The owner said that at first he thought his copy was not complete as it did not have a dust jacket (something that nearly led him to request a refund).

He added: “Eventually I realised a dust jacket was not specified. Now I’ve reached the time of life when it would be useful to pay off the mortgage I’ve decided to sell.”

The record for a Harry Potter hardback first edition was set in December 2021 at Heritage in the US at a hammer price of $380,000 (£286,575).

The Art Business Conference returns

The Art Business Conference

The Art Business Conference in 2019. Image credit: David Owens.  



The Art Business Conference returns to London in March with a packed programme of panel discussions and sessions, including one focused on women and innovation in the art world, coinciding with Women’s History Month.

There will be at least one all-female panel at the conference and it is chaired by Financial Times art market journalist and author Melanie Gerlis.

The event takes place on March 25 at Church House Conference Centre in Westminster.

Other topics on the agenda include on sustainability, African art and NFTs and tech in the art world.

The conference hopes to support new art market businesses and will offer discounted rates to firms formed less than five years ago. A discount is also offered to members of certain art and antiques trade associations.

For details email louise@artmarketminds.com or visit theartbusinessconference.com

RWB checks out supermarket

RWB Auctions

Jon White and Steve Bucknell in front of the planned RWB auction house site.

A new auction house planned in Royal Wootton Bassett has got planning permission to convert a former high-street supermarket into a saleroom and gallery with café.

The Wiltshire business, called RWB Auctions, has been set up by silverware and coin dealer Jon White who already runs antiques centre Old Bank Antiques next door to the premises (which opened in 2019).

The new property will undergo extensive renovations over the next year with the first sale planned for 2023.

RWB Auctions’ general manager is fellow dealer Steve Bucknell and the firm is also searching for specialists and a head auctioneer to help launch and run the business.

View RWB Auctions' recruitment advert here.

TEFAF New York confirmed for May

The organiser of TEFAF New York has confirmed it will take place in May this year.

The event, which focuses on modern and Contemporary art, jewellery, antiquities and design, will host 91 exhibitors when it returns to the Park Avenue Armory. The new dates are May 6-10, with an invitation-only VIP day on May 5.

Novice auctioneer contest comeback

The novice auctioneer competition is returning this year after a two-year break due to the pandemic.

Auctioneers with less than 12 months’ selling experience can enter the NAVA PropertyMark Novice Auctioneer of the Year.

The event, organised by NAVA Propertymark and sponsored by Clive Emson Land and Property Auctioneers, will this year take place at The Cambridge Belfry on May 10. The winner will be presented with the Clive Emson Rose Bowl, a year’s NAVA membership and a £250 donation to the charity of their choice. The following day is the professional body’s Spring Forum.

The competition is open to all age groups and to qualify, the entrant must have overseen their first auction after April 30, 2021 or have been on the rostrum for three or fewer auctions in total.

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In Numbers


The stake in Photo London purchased by the World Photography Organisation, which runs Photofairs Shanghai, in a move designed to foster new collaboration between the two groups. Photo London returns to Somerset House from May 12-15 for its seventh edition.