Sotheby’s witnessed one of the best of auctions last Tuesday, when a unique first edition of Harry Potterand the Philosopher’s Stone, annotated by author J.K. Rowling sold for a record breaking $227,421 to an unidentified telephone bidder. The 1997 book, featuring handwritten notes, 22 original illustrations and a 43-page “second thoughts” commentary by the author, sold for the highest price to date for a printed book by Rowling, auction house Sotheby’s said. There are only 500 books in this edition, which makes it a rare catch.
The sale was part of an auction held by Sotheby’s bringing under the hammer rare annotated first editions by 50 UK and Commonwealth writers. And the Harry Potter book was one among 51 unique first editions, all with notes, illustrations, and second thoughts from its authors, making it a rare collectible.
The London auction house confided that the sale got an intense response from its auctioneers, who filled the room along with authors whose works were featured in the sale. This included Helen Fielding, Colm Toibin, Jeanette Winterson, Frederick Forsyth, Ben Okri, Margaret Drabble, Andrea Levy and Wendy Cope.
The total sale fetched $665,410, which would go to English PEN – a charity, campaigning for the freedom of expression.