A first edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J K Rowling set a new world record at auction of £106,250 at Bonhams Fine Books and Manuscripts Sale in London on 15 November. It had been estimated at £30,000-40,000.
The book was inscribed to a friend and her family: ‘For Meera, Donnie, Nastassia and Kai, with lots of love from Jo (also known as J.K. Rowling)". The inscription is dated one month and a day after the book was published on 26 June 1997, this being one of the first copies supplied to Rowling by the publisher.
Bonhams Head of Books and Manuscripts Matthew Haley said, “There is always a great deal of interest when first editions of Harry Potter books come to auction, especially, of course, in the very first one in the series. This particular example was not only in excellent condition, but it had the added attraction of a very personal inscription from the author herself.”
Among the other sale highlights were:
- Designs for the Thames Tunnel, signed by Marc Isambard Brunel and his son Isambard Kingdom Brunel, which sold for £200,000. The archive, which came with the signed Brunel family album in which the drawings were originally kept, had been estimated at £50,000-100,000.
- An archive of manuscripts and letters from the estate of the famous 18th century actor David Garrick, sold for £112,500 (estimate £10,000-15,000)
- A first edition of Christopher Saxon’s Atlas of England and Wales from 1859 made £106,000 (estimate £50,000-70,000)
- A letter from Alan Turing to his former maths teacher was bought for £75,000 (estimate £20,000-30,000).
The sale made a total of £1,716,175 with premium.