Sotheby’s New York auctioned off a modern book for a record amount!

The book Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone is in many children's libraries around the world. Many adults know the stories of this wizard boy. But almost no one has the first English edition of this book, which was published by Bloomsbury in 1997 in just 500 copies. There is a rumour that the author J.K. Rowling was so poor then that she wrote the book in the coffee shop The Elephant House in Edinburgh, where it was a little warmer than in her home. She just could not afford heating in her flat.

300 of the original 500 copies were delivered to libraries, which means that there were only 200 left for the booksellers. Many of them were lost or destroyed. Just a few books have survived in such good condition, without the stamps and ownership marks of libraries. One such book was auctioned off on July 16, 2021 at Sotheby’s New York for an incredible sum of $ 138,600. The estimated pre-auction price was "only" 50-70 000 USD.

More expensive than Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, was only T.S. Eliot from 1922, which amounted to $ 163,800. For example, the beautiful historical atlas Theatrum Orbis Terrarum ... (author Abraham Ortelius) from 1598 reached only 88,200 USD!

Were you in the UK at the end of the last century and happened to buy this book there? So look at home, maybe there's a little treasure lying there on your bookshelf…


#harrypotterandthephilosophersstone #themostvaluablebook #rareprints #bookauction

Screenshot from the auction webpage


Tel: +420 608 386 845


The views expressed here are solely those of the author in his private capacity. No one may act upon any opinion or information on this website without consulting a professional qualified adviser. No responsibility for loss occasioned to any person or corporate body acting or refraining to act as a result of reading material on this website can be accepted by the Author.

Fields marked * are required
Copyright © Radek Novak


  • Radek Novák
  • +420 608 386 845