DALLAS – A rare first edition of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone sold December 9 at Heritage Auctions for $471,000, the highest price ever paid for the boy wizard’s debut in any form.
“And not only is the most expensive Harry Potter book ever sold, it’s the most expensive commercially published 20th-century work of fiction ever sold,” says Heritage Auctions Executive Vice President Joe Maddalena. “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was brought to life on the big screen two decades ago, and this result shows the power of that combination of literature and cinema. These books are being rewarded for the results of their films.”
After Rowling’s debut was rejected by a dozen publishers, Bloomsbury printed just 500 hardback copies of Philosopher’s Stone, with most bound for public libraries. The few copies that have surfaced at auction have become among the most coveted titles in modern literature, with two others selling in 2021 for more than $138,000.
The December 9 sale shattered all previous records. Live bidding opened at $75,000, but heated competition drove the price higher and higher. When the final sale price was announced, the auction room erupted with applause.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was but one star in Heritage Auctions’ Firsts Into Film session held Thursday morning to kick-off the auction house’s two-day Rare Books event. Heritage is offering 138 lots from a single collector who loved these movies first, then tracked down extraordinary copies of the original novels – each, among the very best available.
The first session of the Dec. 9-10 Rare Books Signature® Auction featured 69 first editions adapted for the big and small screens. Those offerings alone surpassed the $1.375-million mark.