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.
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 Hallows. Tales 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.
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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
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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.