Harry Potter First Edition Signed by JK Rowling Sells for Massive Amount
Hayley McCullough
A first edition copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone signed by JK Rowling sold for £80,000 ($94,848) at auction.
Originally reported by Yahoo! News, the sale exceeded the auction house's estimations roughly three times over as the book was expected to go for between £20,000 ($23,708) and £30,000 ($35,562). The copy was first purchased in Nottingham in 1997 shortly after Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone was released in the United Kingdom and was one of only 500 hardcover copies that Rowling signed in 1997. Another signed copy of the same edition sold for £125,000 ($148,162.50) at a European auction in 2020.
The high price for the book comes despite the amount of negative press surrounding the Harry Potter franchise. Rowling has received substantial backlash following transphobic comments made on social media and an essay she published in 2020 opposing the trans rights movement. This prompted criticism from fans, activists and cast members alike.
Moreover, Johnny Depp was fired from his role as Gellert Grindelwald in the Fantastic Beasts films after a United Kingdom court ruled that a British newspaper was not guilty of libel for describing the actor as a "wife beater." According to the court, the newspaper's description was "substantially true." Similarly, actor Kevin Guthrie -- who played Abernathy in the first two Fantastic Beasts films -- is presently serving a three-year prison sentence for sexually assaulting a woman in Glasgow, Scotland.
The increased amount of the rare copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone was potentially driven by the overall condition of the book, which the auctioneers described as "an exceptional copy, first edition, first impression, case-bound issue." The copy also features a number of misprints and errors, making it a unique collectible for avid Harry Potter fans.
Of that original group of 500 hardback books, only approximately 200 remain intact and available to collectors and fans as multiple copies were either donated to libraries or have been damaged beyond repair. As such, the rarity of this first edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone likely contributed to the high sale price. A final contributing factor is possibly the fact that this year marks the 20-year anniversary of the film adaptation's theatrical release, which has been marketed by Warner Bros. with special releases and new content.
Source: Yahoo! News