Harry Potter First Editions Trove Highlight Dallas Auction

. May 27, 2009

An extensive grouping of original Harry Potter editions – including three complete sets, two of which are signed, and an original first printing English hardcover, with all first edition points – will be auctioned during Heritage Auction Galleries’ June 16-17 Grand Format Rare Books Auction. The trove of English and American first editions could well bring more than $100,000.

“In October of 2007 we sold an ex-library copy of the first edition hardback of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone for $33,460,” said James Gannon, Director of Rare Books at Heritage, “and in February of this year, we sold a first edition paperback with an illustrated card signed by J.K. Rowling mounted to the endpaper for $19,120. Our current copy of the first edition hardback in excellent condition and with no library markings is superior to both earlier copies we handled, and should command an impressive price.”

These previous auctions have showed the amazing demand for these books. Now Heritage is coming back to collectors with probably the greatest single grouping of original editions yet auctioned.

By now the story of the boy wizard Harry Potter and his struggle to save the world of wizards and witches from the evil Lord Voldemort is well-known. Rowling’s prolific prose has provided the world with its own lexicography, a few words of which – take muggle, for instance – have migrated into common English usage. The result of this huge impact has meant a premium on the humble origins of the series, especially the much coveted English first edition hardcover, which had a print run of approximately 500 copies, most of which went into libraries; very good to fine copies of this first edition are Holy Grail collectibles to Potter-philes.

The lead lot in the grouping is just such a book: a First edition, first printing of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, from Bloomsbury, London, 1997, with correct copyright page and textual error on page 53. Most of the first 500 copies went into libraries and other learning institutions. This particular copy is in excellent condition, due to the fact that it has been in private hands since its publication, and does not have any library markings or the expected wear that comes from being in a lending library (especially with children’s books). It carries a pre-auction estimate of $30,000-$50,000.

Following closely in desirability to the first edition of the first book is a complete set of Harry Potter First Deluxe Editions, London, 1999-2007, all signed by J.K. Rowling on the title page or the half-title page.

“This is as attractive a set of Harry Potter books as you’re likely to see,” said Gannon. “They all have the number ‘1’ on the number line, or ‘First Edition’ on the printing line, and they all carry a bold and clear signature from J.K. Rowling.”

The set is estimated at $20,000-$30,000.

Another stellar lot on offer is a complete set of Harry Potter first UK printings, except The Philosopher’s Stone – which is the still important third printing, desirable because it was the first to include a dust jacket – all signed by Rowling on a preliminary page. Several books in this set include the ticket used to obtain the signature at various autograph sessions. The set carries an estimate of $15,000-$20,000.

For collectors not in the market for a signed first edition of the first book, or a signed complete set, a first edition of the second Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, London, Bloomsbury 1998 – with a bold Rowling signature – should do the trick.

This first edition, first state copy with all first state issue points is in near fine condition and is rarely found signed in any version, and is an excellent starting point for a high-end collector looking to get into the world of rare Harry Potter books. Its pre-auction estimate is $3,000-$5,000.

Rounding out the trove is a complete set of Harry Potter First American Editions, estimated at $2,000-$3,000 and a signed copy of the most recent addition to the Rowling universe, The Tales of Beedle the Bard. This is a First UK trade edition signed on an illustrated leaf between the title and content pages. It carries an estimate of $1,500-$2,500.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for fans of the books who want a true piece of the history of their hero,” said Gannon. “There really are only so many of these early Harry Potter books out there. There’s no telling when a chance like this, and a grouping like this, will come back on the market.”

For more information on this auction, to read detailed lot descriptions for these, and all other lots, and to download fully-enlargeable color images, go online to www.HA.com/6025 or call 800-872-6467, ext. 1609

Category: Auction News

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