If you thought the £260 31-disc DVD box set was an expensive addition to your Harry Potter library, be glad you weren’t tempted into a bidding war at Sotheby’s last night where a Potter book sold for a whopping £150,000.
The first edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, complete with annotations and drawings from author JK Rowling, was the biggest money-spinner at the ‘White Glove’ auction in aid of freedom of expression charity, English PEN.
The Potter volume was bought by an unknown telephone bidder who’s £25,000 incremental bids proved too rich for those in the auction room who’s attendees included Helen Fielding, Frederick Forsyth, Andrea Levy, David Lodge, John Banville, Justin Cartwright and Wendy Cope.
In total, the book auction raised £439,200 for charity, with a rare edition of Roald Dahl classic Matilda fetching £30,000 and books by Kazou Ishiguro, Julian Barnes and Alan Bennett contributing to the total.
Dr Philip W. Errington, Director of Printed Books and Manuscripts at Sotheby’s, said: “Each and every one of these first editions can be described as the ultimate first edition of the respective publications, and the remarkable personal insights that the authors have granted us, through their annotations – together with the hugely important cause that this event supports – has truly made this a landmark sale.”
Gillian Slovo, President of English PEN, said: “The proceeds from tonight’s sale go directly to support English PEN’s core campaigns and programmes which benefit both writers and readers in the UK and around the world. In addition we are delighted that Arts Council England will match a proportion of these funds.”