Harry Potter book and film memorabilia auction to take place in London on May 5

May 04, 2021

Posted by: Amanda Kirk

Bloomsbury, Books, Harry Potter and the Philosophers / Sorcerers Stone, News, Publishers

Before the boy wizard flew his Nimbus 2000 to worldwide fame, Bloomsbury, the book’s publisher, was uncertain that the magical tale would be a success and demonstrated its skepticism by printing only 500 copies of the first edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. We all know what happened next. The global popularity of the books has made those few, rare first editions, 300 of which went to schools or libraries and only 200 of which were sold in bookshops, extremely valuable to collectors. Copies have sold at auction for upwards of £125,000, breaking European auction records.

Hansons Auctioneers in Staffordshire has been productive during the pandemic: In the last 21 months, it has found 13 first-edition Harry Potter books to sell at the world’s first Harry Potter auction on Wednesday 5 May. Five of these are first edition Philosopher’s Stone hardbacks, which are expected to send bidding upwards of £50,000 apiece. Also for sale will be five paperback first editions, which could sell for as much as £5,000 each.

Also going under the hammer will be some props from the set of the first film, including taxidermied animals, such as snakes and lizards (from Snape’s office or the Defence Against the Dark Arts classroom, perhaps?).

According to Yahoo! News, Jim Spencer, Associate Director at Hansons, said, “My head is spinning with rare Harry Potter books and memorabilia…. It’s like panning for gold – I have to spot the glimmering specks among the grainy words or images coming through to my screen. Those nuggets of gold are all the more exciting when I find them.”

Two first editions of Order of the Phoenix that were signed by the Golden Trio are also for sale. Notably, Daniel Radcliffe added either “Magic Rocks!” or “Magic is Cool OK” to his signature.

The last of the baker’s dozen of first editions in this sale is a copy of Half-Blood Prince that was one of two stolen in Northamptonshire six weeks before publication. The thief attempted to blackmail the publisher, as well as get money from several national newspapers for revealing the book’s hotly anticipated contents. A police officer involved in the case was given this copy that is now being offered for sale.

The Leaky Cauldron is not associated with J.K. Rowling, Warner Bros., or any of the individuals or companies associated with producing and publishing Harry Potter books and films.