Auctions | May 7, 2024

J.K. Rowling’s Handwritten Manuscript of The Tales of Beedle the Bard to Auction


 The Tales of Beedle the Bard

One of JK Rowling’s seven original manuscripts for The Tales of Beedle the Bard, a book of fairy tales penned by the author in 2007, will go under the hammer at Sotheby’s next month with a $250,000 – $350,000 estimate.

The 6,000 word manuscript including illustrations by the author, which was not intended originally for publication, is one of only six handwritten by J.K Rowling, as gifts to people intimately involved with the publication of Harry Potter (the seventh was auctioned for charity). This copy was previously held in the collection of Barry Cunningham, the publisher who first signed the book up, and includes the inscription: “To Barry, the man who thought an overlong novel about a boy wizard in glasses might just sell ... THANK YOU." 

It will be offered during Sotheby’s New York Fine Books and Manuscripts Auction on June 26, and will be available to view at Sotheby’s New York June 21 - 25. The exhibition is free and open to the public.

The copy was last sold in 2016 for £368,750 at Sotheby's London. It is part of the same sale in New York featuring volumes from the collection of Dr. Rodney P. Swantko including the original watercolor illustration for the cover of J.K. Rowling's 1997 Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (estimate: $400,000 - $600,000), an autograph manuscript of Arthur Conan Doyle's The Sign of Four which has a $1.2 million estimate, and Edgar Allan Poe's For Annie autograph manuscript (estimate $600,000).

The forthcoming Books and Manuscripts Auction at Sotheby’s London on July 10 will also feature several presentation copies of the Harry Potter series, including Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.