Harry Potter and the child of many names: early Rowling signature leads sale

January is not a time for major book sales, but Bloomsbury Auctions always have something to interest collectors of high-end books and manuscripts, and their upcoming sale is no exception.

A full 500 lots are on offer with offerings of early editions of everyone from Arthur Conan Doyle through Ian Fleming to Leo Tolstoy, though none of exceptional rarity.

The highest value single item in the sale is actually a signed Harry Potter book. Specifically:Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets in first edition, first impression.

Bearing a pen mark to the title and pencil mark to fore-edes, it still possesses its original boards and dust jacket. The spine has been sunned and edges creased. There is also a paperback copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone in its eleventh impression, in the same lot.

Signed Harry Potter first edition
Signed Harry Potter first edition

Each bears an inscription from the author to the vendor. The first inscription, in the earlier book, relates directly to the vendor, who was 10 at the time, having written his name several times in pencil with different spellings (since removed) which Rowling playfully muses on: "To Iain (not Eoin/Ian or Ean) with best wishes J K Rowling".

The second inscription is a continuation of the joke: "To Iain (how about Eeyan?) J K Rowling". Examples of playful signatures by the author have appeared on the market before, notably the one made out in her first major interview to her smoking interviewer when Rowling had just given up herself.

We've already sold our signed copy of the book. But collectors of Rowling's work should know that an extremely rare unpublished work by her is currently available: A personal Horoscope with a hand drawn natal chart for Jack David Buchanan.

It is a unique piece which makes it a strong investment. That work is available for £25,000 ($41,250) and more details are available here. Bloomsbury's auction takes place on January 13, 2011 in London.


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