LONDON — A first edition of J.K. Rowling’s debut Harry Potter novel is expected to sell for a magical sum later this month, auctioneers say.
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Bonhams auction house said Wednesday that the hardback edition of “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” (sold in the United States as “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone”) will likely fetch between $10,000 and $20,000 at a London sale on June 26.
“That this book would sell for such a large sum is huge,” said Luke Battenham, book specialist at Bonhams. “It’s a phenomenon.”
Between 500 and 1,000 copies were printed in the novel’s first run, the auction house said. It said publishers typically only produce a small number of copies of new books, before quickly rolling out thousands more editions if a title proves successful.
The initial run is a fraction of the millions of copies printed for the seventh and final edition, to be released on July 21, just weeks after the auction.
“The person selling the edition got some prize money in school, went to the bookstore and bought the first book she saw in the window,” Battenham said. “Now there may be others out there who also have a first edition, and have no idea how exceedingly valuable it is.”
He would not release further details about the seller, but confirmed she is British.
“The Philosopher’s Stone” was first published in 1997, launching Rowling to fame and earning her a spot on the Forbes list in 2006 as the second richest woman entertainer in the world after Oprah Winfrey.
The series now boasts a wide fan base, from children to grown-ups, and has resulted in three hugely successful movies based on the book. The Potter books have sold more than 325 million copies worldwide with translations into 64 languages.
Theme park officials have announced plans for “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” at Universal’s Islands of Adventure. According to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Universal Orlando Resort will spend up to $265 million to build the attraction in Florida.
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