Tag: auction

First Edition ‘Harry Potter’ Sells For Over $34,000!

Remember that rare copy of the first Harry Potter book that was up for auction? Well, it finally sold for an astonishing £28,500, or, $34,650.73!


Wow face



In case you’ve been under a rock for the past twenty years, here’s the skinny: J.K. Rowling wrote seven books and the first one is called Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, which was later re-titled Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone because British publishers weren’t confident American children would know what a ‘philosopher’ was.

On June 26th 1997, Bloomsbury published Philosopher’s Stone with an initial print-run of five thousand copies in hardback, three hundred of which were distributed to libraries. The series made serious money—making J.K. Rowling the world’s first person to gain billionaire status from book-writing alone—and those original five thousand copies are now highly valued.

This 1997 edition contains two tell-tale errors: the misspelling of ‘philosopher’s’ on the back page and a double mention of “1 wand” on page 53 in an equipment list.


Harry Potter, first edition

Image Via ITV

This book, despite being bought by the owner at a table top sale around twenty years ago, and being left in a cupboard in the owner’s home, is in near pristine condition. In fact, the book still features a “withdrawn from stock” stamp in red ink.


The former Staffordshire Library book has a ‘withdrawn from stock’ stamp

Image Via ITV

Thus, it should be no surprise that this first edition sold for so much. In fact, the auction at Bishton Hall, in Staffordshire saw bids from all over the world. That fact alone makes it a little less surprising that the winning bid came in by phone from a private UK collector.

That’s just amazing. Can you imagine that? “Hello, I’d like to spend about twenty-eight-thousand-five-hundred pounds on a book.”


Back cover

Image Via BBC/Note that “Philosopher’s” is spelled as “philospher’s” here


“I can’t believe it. It’s what I’d hoped for but I never really believed my book would make that price,” Itv quotes the anonymous seller, who went on to add that, “I knew another Harry Potter first edition had sold for £28,000 but I was panicking as there had been no bids prior to the sale. When I checked to see if it had sold, I was amazed.”

You’re not kidding!



The auctioneers claim that it was “pure luck” that the book was listed for auction on the day of J.K. Rowling’s birthday, the same birthday that she gave our favorite magical protagonist Harry Potter, but what do you think?

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone


Sadly, you can’t get this copy anymore since, well, you know, it’s been bought for a gigantic amount of money. But you can get always this copy which is way more economical. 



Featured Image Via Mental Foss

Alcoholics Anonymous Logo

Alcoholics Anonymous’ Big Book Collection up for Auction

In the City of Angels, there’s going to be a book auction—and you’re going to be paying attention.


The books

Image Via AP News


Got some serious cash on your hands? You could pay off your student loans… or you could buy nineteen first-edition copies of an integral work for a nationwide organization. Nineteen copies of the founding document of Alcoholics Anonymous, known as the “Big Book,” will be auctioned off this July 19th in Los Angeles.


Alcoholics Anonymous

Image Via Vox

Let’s review some history: The Big Book is actually titled Alcoholics Anonymous: The Story of How Many Thousands of Men and Women Have Recovered from Alcoholism, but the work got its nickname due to the thickness of the paper used in the first edition. (And also possibly due to the massive title?)

So, yes, the 19 first edition copies going up for auction will, in fact, be big books.


William Wilson

Image Via The Christian Century


Published in 1939, the book was written by William Wilson, who details how to recover from alcoholism in in only twelve steps. You might have heard of this ‘twelve-step method’ (in case you haven’t, we’re grateful the rock you’ve been living under didn’t crush you), and this ‘Big Book’ is the reason for that.

With 30 million copies sold, this founding text ranks as one of the best-selling books of all time. In 2011, Time magazine placed the book on its list of the 100 best and most influential books written in English since 1923, and the Library of Congress named it one of 88 “Books that Shaped America”.



Between 1923 and the present day, Ken Roberts collected all of these Big Books! We saw a glimpse of his collection last year when AP News shared the story of “the original working manuscript for the Big Book” that “sold for $2.4 million to Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay.”

Still, it was a huge surprise when this announcement was made over Instagram:



The books are signed by all twelve founding members of AA, and Fox 8 Cleveland reports that “the auction house Profiles in History said Tuesday that the collection will be part of a single lot that includes a 1940 stock certificate used at the time to raise funds to continue printing the Big Book.”

Reportedly, this first-edition collection is estimated to sell for “up to $500,000 when it hits the block July 11.”

Anyone going to be in LA around then? And anyone have any extra cash lying around the house? Asking for a friend.



Featured Image Via True Recovery.

Lady Chatterly's Lover up for Auction

Export Ban on Judge’s Copy of Lady Chatterley’s Lover

In October 2018, a copy of D.H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover went up for auction and went for £56,000, more than the expected £15,000. The only issue is that this book belonged to a judge, Sir Laurence Byrne.

Lawrence wrote the book just before his death, and it was only published in Italy and France in 1920. the book was seen to be too scandalous to publish in the U.K. That changed in 1960 when Penguin Books decided to go ahead with the publication. The publishing house was then put on trial for obscenity.


D.H. Lawrence author of Lady Chatterly's Lover

image via the new york times

Now, a copy of the book has been banned from leaving the U.K. 

The paperback contains the original markings by judge Sir Laurence Byrne’s wife Lady Dorothy, highlight sexually explicit content. Lady Dorothy also kept running notes, keeping track of passages and page numbers, where she had added her own comments.

The publisher was eventually found not guilty, which made the trial that much more sensational. The case served as a test of the previously passed 1959 Obscene Publications Act, beginning the divide between the old establishment and a new era.

The book was purchased at auction for £56,250 last year, but the buyer wants to take it abroad. According to the BBC, “those who want to export items of cultural significant from the UK must apply for a licence.” The temporary block on the book’s export means that anyone interested in purchasing the book has until August 9th to make this known, and an additional three months in which to secure the cost.

Featured Image Via Justcollecting News

Front and Back cover image of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

First Edition Harry Potter Book Sells for Nearly $100k

First edition books have become prized possessions to bibliophiles around the world. The more expensive ones like The Canterbury Tales or the Gutenberg Bible have sold upwards of $4 million, while others like The Catcher in the Rye and Pride and Prejudice have sold in the thousands. Joining this list of prized first editions is Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, which recently sold for just under $100,000.


Front and Back cover image of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone


J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series, has found herself on the list of top ten most expensive books before with her Tales of Beedle the Bard. This book is a collection of children’s stories from the Wizarding World first featured in Harry Potter and the Deathly HallowsTales was one of just seven, hand written copies and sold for over $3 million. While the other six went to friends and editors, this one was auctioned off in order to raise money for Rowling’s Lumos Foundation.



Opening page of Tales of Beedle the Bard

Image via curiosasociety.com


Harry Potter became an instant sensation, going on to sell over 500 million books worldwide in eighty different languages. So what makes this one book so special? The same that makes any first edition special: spelling errors and the limited number of books. This book is one of just 500 copies, according to Bonham’s Auction House. Their site also lists out the following errors:

Publisher’s imprint page with the number sequence from 10 to 1, and author cited as ‘Joanne Rowling’, p.53 with the duplication of “1 wand” on the equipment list, misspelling “Philospher’s” on lower cover, J.K. Rowling’s signature on a sticker loosely inserted (see footnote), publisher’s pictorial boards, small crease to lower fore-corner of upper cover, very thin vertical scratch to lower cover

The listing typo in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

Image Via mugglenet

A similar edition was sold for just over $68,000, but this one book in particular was even more special. The book previously belonged to Christopher Little, J.K. Rowling’s first agent, and it contains a personalized note to him in the pages. The book was originally thought to sell between $52,000 and $75,000, according to the Independent, but a bidding war sent the price way past expectations to $90,074.

featured image via leonard shoup books
Dr. Seuss' most beloved children's characters

Next Time You Hate Your Writing, Remember: Dr. Seuss Almost Burned His First Book

Most writers second-guess the quality of their work, whether these doubts are frequent or limited to insomnia-causing late night angst sessions. Fewer writers guess that those on the bestseller list have these same fears. This week, a letter from a young Theodore Geisel—a.k.a. Dr. Seuss—is available at auction for $3,500. Like Geisel's books, the letter tells a fascinating yet unbelievable story: a vulnerable, personal account of an aspiring author who nearly burned his first children's manuscript.

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