Harry Potter first edition sets world record price for a 20th century work of fiction

accreditation
0:00
play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
Hand-written notes by author J.K. Rowling are pictured inside a rare first edition of her book 'Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone'm displayed at The National Library of Scotland in Edinburgh, Scotland on 26 June 2017.
Hand-written notes by author J.K. Rowling are pictured inside a rare first edition of her book 'Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone'm displayed at The National Library of Scotland in Edinburgh, Scotland on 26 June 2017.
Photo: Neil Hanna/AFP

A first edition of Harry Potter sold for $471 000 (R7.6 million) in the United States on Thursday in what the auctioneers said was a world record price for a 20th century work of fiction.

The hardback 1997 British edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, with a colour illustration on the cover, was described by Heritage Auctions as "magical, incredibly bright and so very near pristine".

The book was published in the United States as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.

The Dallas-based auction house said only 500 copies with the specific binding were printed. The final price was more than six times the pre-sale estimate of $70 000 (R1.2 million).

Previous auction prices for Harry Potter first editions have ranged from about $110 000 (R1.7 million) to $138 000 (R2.2 million).

"Not only is it the most expensive Harry Potter book ever sold, it’s the most expensive commercially published 20th-century work of fiction ever sold," Heritage Auctions Executive Vice President Joe Maddalena said in a statement.

The book was sold by an American collector and the name of the buyer was not released.

British author J.K. Rowling went on to write six more books about the adventures of the orphaned boy wizard that have sold some 500 million copies worldwide in 80 languages, according to U.S. publisher Scholastic. The books were turned into eight films which made $7.8 billion (R125 billion) at the global box office.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE