Specialist Cathy Marsden with a First Edition Harry Potter. Credit: Stewart Attwood
Specialist Cathy Marsden with a First Edition Harry Potter. Credit: Stewart Attwood

Rare first edition Harry Potter book up for auction could fetch £60,000

Rare first editions of J.K. Rowling’s first three Harry Potter books, a signed first edition of Ian Fleming’s Casino Royale, and a complete set of signed A.A. Milne’s Winnie-the Pooh books are going up for auction. 

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, the first in Rowling’s boy wizard series, valued at between £40,000 and £60,000, is one of only 500 first edition hardcovers printed in 1997.

A small number of copies were produced initially owing to the publisher’s uncertainty about whether or not the book would prove popular. The novel has gone on to sell more than 120 million copies, making it one of the bestselling books in history. 

In a triple Potter whammy, the auction also includes two other books in the series, including a copy of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets signed by J.K. Rowling valued between £4,000 and £6,000, and an edition of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

All the Harry Potter books being offered for sale are in excellent condition.

Specialists from Lyon & Turnbull with three rare first edition Harry Potter volumes. Credit: Stewart Attwood

The books all play a starring role in Lyon & Turnbull’s Rare Books, Manuscripts, Maps & Photographs auction on 19 June.

‘A first edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is an exceptionally rare book to find in any condition, and one in such an excellent condition could well be called the jewel in any Harry Potter collector’s crown,’ said Cathy Marsden, from Lyon & Turnbull, said:

‘The auction also boasts an impressive selection of Rowling’s books, including two copies of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, one signed by J.K. Rowling valued between £4,000 and £6,000, and a rare first impression edition of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (estimate £3,000 – £4,000).

‘Given that much of the writing took place in Edinburgh, it’s fitting that this early and important piece of Harry Potter history will be sold in the capital.’

Casino Royale, the first novel in Fleming classic James Bond spy series is valued between £30,000 and £50,000. Flemingwrote the book aged 44 in 1952. It was an instant success and three print runs were commissioned to meet the demand. 

Casino Royale. Credit: Stewart Attwood

It is inscribed by the author to Ion Smeaton Munro (1883- 1970), Fleming’s night editor at Kemsley Newspapers (owner of the Sunday Times), a decorated army officer much in the mould of Bond himself.

The inscription reads: To I.S.M, who’s [sic] staunch keeping of the night watches freed the author for this extra-mural opus, Ian Fleming, April 1953.

Fleming worked in British Naval Intelligence during WW2 and, after his demobilisation in 1945, joined Kemsley Newspapers as foreign manager where he was responsible for managing the group’s networks of correspondents. 

Casino Royale, inscribed by the author. Credit: Stewart Attwood

Of the four Winnie-the-Pooh books, When We Were Very Young (estimate between £7,000 and £10,000), written by A.A. Milne, during a wet holiday in Wales in 1923, is one of a hundred copies printed on handmade paper and signed by both author and illustrator. 

The entire set – with a total value of £15,000 – £22,000was acquired new by the vendor’s family and has never previously been offered for sale.

Milne was a playwright before the immense success of his stories about a lovable teddy bear and his young owner, Christopher Robin (based on Milne’s own son, Christopher), overshadowed his previous work.

‘It’s always exciting to handle first editions of books that have become part of public’s imagination,’ Cathy added.

‘At the time of publishing, no one could have predicted just how much of a phenomenon the stories and characters featured would become. This auction is crammed full of delights and it will be exciting to see the results.’


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