Harry Potter first edition beats auction record by 68%

A first edition, first printing copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone brought a new world record for the first Harry Potter book to Heritage Auctions' April 10 Rare Books Signature Auction in New York.

Harry Potter Philosophers Stone First Edition
It's certainly worth searching your home for a copy of the first book in the Harry Potter series

The book eclipsed the previous £17,000 ($26,046) world record - set at Bloomsbury Auctions in 2007 - by 67.9%, selling for $43,750 (£28,500). This initial print run of the 1997 book comprised just 500 copies, most of which were delivered direct to libraries or into the hands of children.

The example at auction is in fantastic condition, with Heritage Auctions describing it as the best copy the company has ever seen. The auction house brought together the largest selection of Harry Potter first editions ever seen for the sale.

For those that may have a copy of this rare modern first edition lying in their house, it can be distinguished from later printings by the author's name printed as Joanne Rowling in the title page, as well as a complete number line on the copyright page, and "1 Wand" listed twice on page 53. Find out more about investing in modern first editions.

We have a Daniel Radcliffe-signed copy of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets , as well as a copy of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, which is signed by both Radcliffe and Emma Watson.

Darwin Origin of Species first edition
Published in 1859, Darwin's book changed the way we think about evolution

The Harry Potter book outsold important works such as the first edition of Darwin's The Origin of Species, which brought $32,500, and HG Wells' The War of the Worlds, which made $35,000. Also featuring was a signed first edition copy of Ian Fleming's Moonraker from the Bond series, which sold for $40,625.

Achieving an identical sale price to the Harry Potter book was Thomas McKenney and James Hall's History of the Indian Tribes of North America, which is considered one of the grandest colour plate books issued in the US. It features 120 beautifully hand-coloured plates of Native Americans.

However, witchcraft and wizardry couldn't beat Christianity in the sale, as a rare and complete copy of the 1566 New Testament by Tyndale sold for $46,875 as the top lot.

See our stunning selection of rare books and manuscripts for sale.

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