UPDATED: Propstore Auction to Include “Philosopher’s Stone” First Edition and More

An upcoming auction will feature items certain to still the hearts of every Potter fan, including a first-edition hardback copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. The event will take place in London from November 3 through November 6 and is being presented by Propstore, a major vendor of entertainment memorabilia.



First editions are notoriously sought after by collectors and sport hefty price tags as a result. A signed first edition broke British records back in June, selling at auction for £220,800 ($250,000). Propstore has specified that its copy, to be auctioned Thursday, November 3, has several features unique to first editions. First, the misspelling of “Philosopher’s” on the back cover, as well as the repetition of “1 wand” on page 53, are both errors characteristic of the first 500 hardbacks printed. The back cover also showcases an illustration by Thomas Taylor of a wizard character not mentioned in the books. The wizard was reportedly inspired by Taylor’s father, and publishers asked that he be replaced with a depiction of Dumbledore in future printings. Propstore will start the bidding at £50,000 ($56,000) and expects it to fetch between £100,000 and £150,000 ($113,000 and $170,000).

An uncorrected proof copy of Philosopher’s Stone will also be up for auction that Thursday, with bidding starting at £15,000 ($17,000). Only around 200 copies of this proof are in print and were created to be sent to bookshops and reviewers prior to the book’s publication. A misspelling of the author’s name on the title page only serves to increase the value of the text, which is expected to sell for between £30,000 and £50,000 ($34,000 and $56,000).

Other significant Potter memorabilia include props from the first film, such as Harry’s wand, starting at a cool £10,000 ($11,000), and the all-important Hogwarts acceptance letter, which starts at £5,000 ($5,600). In case your home is lacking a certain medieval touch, Sir Cadogan’s complete suit of armor from the Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban film is also listed. The inside of the helmet and chest piece is signed by the armorer, Terry English. Bids for this lot will start at £1,500 ($1,700).

The four-day auction will be livestreamed, and collectors can register to bid online, in person, or over the phone. Absentee bidding is also being offered as an option.

UPDATE (November 17):

In what is becoming a pattern in recent auctions, valuable copies of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone remained unsold at the close of sale on November 6. While rare editions once garnered a lot of attention and sky-high bids, the turnout for the once-popular collector’s items has become lukewarm, as evidenced by the Propstore auction’s results.

The first-edition hardback copy was priced higher than any other Potter-related item up for auction. The lot received five bids over the first day, with the highest amounting to £95,000 ($112,000), which fell £5,000 ($5,900) short of the estimated starting price. The lot closed without actually selling. The uncorrected proof copy of Philosopher’s Stone, one of only approximately 200 in existence, received two bids during its time on the block, the final bidder offering just £2,500 ($3,000) shy of the original estimated starting price of £30,000 ($35,000). This copy, too, failed to sell.

Movie props fared better, the lots achieving sale and fetching bids higher than previously anticipated. A Hogwart’s acceptance letter, for example, sold for £11,250 ($13,300) over asking price. Sir Cadogan’s suit of armor from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban fetched an impressive £9,375 ($11,000), £6,375 ($7,550) over the starting price. Both lots individually received more bids than the rare book editions combined.

All other listed props sold either within or exceeding the estimated bidding range. The two exceptions were a set of four hand-drawn concept sketches for the Prisoner of Azkaban film and a preliminary book cover illustration for Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire created by Giles Greenfield, both of which closed unsold.


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