December 2016 | Rebecca Rego Barry

Rowling's Unique "Beedle" Manuscript Sells for $467,317

One of only seven copies of J. K. Rowling's handwritten and illustrated manuscripts of The Tales of Beedle the Bard sold at Sotheby's yesterday for £368,750 ($467,317) to an anonymous phone bidder. This copy had been personally inscribed for British publisher Barry Cunningham, who made publishing history by accepting the first Harry Potter for publication twenty years ago. Rowling wrote and illustrated six manuscripts in celebration of completing her series in 2007 to present as gifts to those intimiately involved in its creation; a seventh copy was made for an auction to benefit the children's charity, Lumos.

Screen Shot 2016-12-14 at 12.02.11 PM.pngEach of the seven copies is "uniquely embellished," and "inspired by an ancient Italian prayer book," according to the Sotheby's catalogue. This one, bound in brown morocco, is adorned with seven rhodochrosite stones and a silver skull mounted at center.

Speaking about the book prior to yesterday's sale, Dr. Philip W. Errington, Director of Sotheby's Books and Manuscripts Department said, "The personal resonance of this book makes this both an exceptional and highly desirable object to come to auction. It is particularly special as it is only one of six made for those closest to the author throughout the journey of creating the Harry Potter series, gifted to the man who recognised the brilliance of J. K. Rowling's writing and her potential impact on children's literature."

An inscribed first edition of Rowling's first book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (1997) made £57,500 ($72,870) at the same sale.

Image via Sotheby's