On the chance you might have one of these unknowingly tucked away on your bookshelf somewhere, a first edition copy of J.K. Rowling‘s Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was sold for £68,812 at an auction in London this week.
How much is that in Australian buckeroos, you ask? A whopping $126,841 according to the auctions’ website, Bonhams. That’s one dedicated and extremely loaded Potterhead.
According to the auction house, the book belonged to Rowling’s first literary agent Christopher Little. He was the bloke who sold the rights to Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone to Bloomsbury back in 1996.
To prove you have a 1997 first edition, your copy must include a couple of errors and key differences. First, a publisher’s imprint page with the number sequence from 10 to 1, Rowling’s name printed ‘Joanne Rowling’, pg. 53 with the duplication of “1 wand” on the list of magical school equipment, and the misspelling “Philospher’s” instead of “Philosopher’s” on an interior cover.
This particular book also came with Rowling’s signature “on a sticker loosely inserted” during a charity auction back in 2003. This undoubtedly hiked up the price quite a fair bit.
It also has a completely random drawing of a wizard on the back cover, who doesn’t actually feature in the Wizarding World. This isn’t just exclusive to the first edition prints, though. Illustrator Thomas Taylor wrote in a 2011 blog post that he was commissioned to draw a wizard for the back cover so he decided to draw his father. In later editions, after many puzzled inquiries, Taylor was asked to create a new drawing – one of Professor Albus Dumbledore. The more you know.
The rare item was sold as part of a Pioneering and Influential Women book sale.
Now if you excuse me, I’m going to go check my copy.