Original Harry Potter Cover Illustration to Auction with $600,000 Estimate


The original watercolor illustration for the cover of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

The original watercolor illustration for the cover of J.K. Rowling's 1997 Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, comes to auction at Sotheby’s in June with a $400,000 - $600,000.

If the depiction of Harry Potter boarding the train to Hogwarts on platform 9 ¾ achieves this estimate, it will make it the highest-priced Harry Potter-related item ever sold, overtaking the $421,000 paid at auction in 2021 for an unsigned first edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Previously, the illustration went under the hammer at Sotheby’s in London in 2001 and was sold for £85,750 ($108,000 at today's exchange rate), four times its estimate.

The cover was used for several translated editions of the book but not in the US.

The illustrator Thomas Taylor was 23 when he produced it in two days, a graduate student working at a children’s bookshop. “It is exciting to see the painting that marks the very start of my career, decades later and as bright as ever," he said. "It takes me back to the experience of reading Harry Potter for the first time, one of the first people in the world to do so, and the process of creating what is now an iconic image."

It is part of the June 26 sale in New York featuring items from the collection of Dr. Rodney P. Swantko including  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)