First Harry Potter yields record amount: ‘Rare copy’

It is an English edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone of which only 500 copies have been printed, says the auction house. The book has a hard cover with color illustrations. Most of these books ended up in libraries in the United Kingdom.

According to Heritage Auctions, the book is “magical, unbelievably clear and almost virginal.”

Little on the market

Very few come onto the market, says Arne Steenkamp, ​​owner of the Leiden auction house Burgersdijk & Niermans. Add to that the popularity of the Harry Potter books and you have gold on your hands. “You only need two super fans who are so idolized that they are willing to pay that much,” said Steenkamp. Even if they sometimes allow themselves to be blinded by greed.

High auction prices for modern books are common, says the expert. Four tons is a lot, but the prices can be quite high. If it gets older, it could even be worth more than 1 million. For example, a first printing of the book Frankenstein from 1818 was paid 1.17 million dollars (more than 1 million euros).

High price trend?

Are those high prices a trend? “The money is finding its way,” says Steenkamp. The fact that interest rates are low at the moment may help, but a lot of money is paid for scarce commodities. “I dare not say whether it is also a good investment.” Such a price is also associated with fashion.

The new owner, an American who does not want to reveal his identity, is eager to have it. Steenkamp also thinks that if another one appears on the market, another large amount will be paid. As long as there aren’t too many. “This book is probably not going to be read.” It’s ‘for the have’.


Jacco Scheper of Heritage Manager of Auctions Europe says auction records have been broken all year. “People have more to spend and sometimes they don’t know what else to do with their money because of craziness,” he says.

In April, a wooden chair was auctioned on which writer JK Rowling wrote her first two Harry Potter books. It brought in $394,000 (over 349,000 euros).

New investing

According to Scheper, it is a kind of new way of investing, securing money. “People have less confidence in their euros or dollars in the bank.” Does a book retain its value? That is the question, says the expert. But all the media attention helps, because people all over the world now know what it’s worth.

The more people that come to the auction, the more the price is pushed up. “Age does not say everything about value,” says Scheper. It’s about supply and demand. For example, a rare Pokémon picture can also yield a million, he knows. It’s super fans and collectors who pay for it.

The philosopher’s Stone

The Philosopher’s Stone is the first in British author JK Rowling’s series about the sorcerer’s apprentice Harry Potter. Other first editions of the series never fetched more than $138,000 at auction. The starting price at the auction Thursday was $70,000.

The Harry Potter books have been translated into more than 80 languages ​​and more than 500 million have been sold worldwide.

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