Harry Potter: two lots demonstrate the value of a signature and the difference between pristine and scruffy copies

Showing hardly any signs of wear and signed by JK Rowling – and originally acquired at a special signing at Harrods, as revealed by a laid-in ticket – a near pristine first issue copy of ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’ of 1997, appeared at auction earlier this month.

Extracted from Antiques Trade Gazette | Ian McKay

This first issue copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone of 1997 sold for £24,000 at Sotheby’s.

One of just 500 printed, it sold for a record $130,000 (£102,180) at Christie’s New York (25/20/12.5%) on December 4.

Meanwhile, a Sotheby’s (25/20/12.9% buyer’s premium) online sale that ended on December 10 in London offered an altogether scruffier copy (above) with a high estimate of £1500.

Ex-public library, it had a couple of library labels and barcodes pasted in, bore a ‘discarded’ stamp and showed quite significant wear and damage to the boards. It was also splitting at the joints – but sold at an astonishing £24,000.