An uncorrected proof copy of the first Harry Potter book sold by Bamfords for £9000.

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Shown above is one of some 200 uncorrected proof copies in card wrappers that among its uncorrected variations includes one on the title-page in which the author is said to be JA rather than JK Rowling.

This copy made £9000 in a Derby sale held by Bamfords (21% buyer’s premium) on May 29, but in a Sotheby’s (25/20/13.9% buyer’s premium) online sale of July 1-9 another copy, accompanied by a separate proof sheet of proposed illustrated wrappers*, sold at £22,000.

Top price


A fine first-issue copy of the first Harry Potter book sold by Sotheby’s for £65,000.

The summer’s most expensive outing for Harry came in that same Sotheby’s sale, where one of 500 first-issue copies of 1997 was bid to £65,000 and £22,000 was paid for another that was signed by Rowling and which had acquired a full red and purple morocco binding by the Chelsea Bindery.

That binding repeated the famous Harry and Hogwarts Express illustration on the front cover and a figure of Dumbledore on the rear cover.

Two first-impression copies were also offered in a Bonhams (27.5/25/20/13.9% buyer’s premium) sale of June 26, but while an example with a few edge knocks did sell at a low-estimate £20,000, a smarter looking example pitched at £40,000-60,000 failed to get away.

A rather battered example of the first printing, the laminate peeling, the joints rubbed and chipped, etc, nevertheless managed £28,000 in a Forum Auctions (25/20/12% buyer’s premium) sale of May 30.

In a July 31 sale, Hansons (20% buyer’s premium) offered yet another first. It was an ex-Staffordshire Libraries copy with a label and barcode to verso of the title and some slight wear to the lamination, but generally clean, bright and tight. Acquired for £1 at a table-top sale, it sold at this auction for £28,500.

In an online sale that ended on June 20 a copy of the first paperback edition was sold at £2400 by Forum, but another offered in the above-mentioned Bonhams sale reached £3000.

Signed by the cast

Bid to £2600 in a June 26 toy sale held in Thornaby, Teesside, by Vectis Auctions (25% buyer’s premium) was a later edition of the book signed by the cast and others involved with the making of the first Harry Potter film in 2001.

The consignor, Verity Collins, who as a young girl was at the time undergoing chemotherapy treatment for leukaemia, had been invited to be an extra.

Among the signatures she obtained in her copy of the book was that of the then 11-year-old Daniel Radcliffe, who told her that she was the first person to ask for his signature.

Other signatures she obtained include those of Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley), Emma Watson (Hermione Grainger), Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy) and Robbie Coltrane (Hagrid), along that of the film’s director, Chris Columbus, who added the words ‘Believe in Magic’.

* An uncorrected proof copy of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (1998), together with a separate proof sheet of the proposed jacket, made £6150 in the July 1-9  online sale at Sotheby’s.