Another Rare “Philosopher’s Stone” Going Up for Sale

To be fair, using the determiner “another” to describe a rare item does feel a bit incongruous, but such is the reality since quarantine. At least, that is one explanation offered by Sunday Steinkirchner of B&B Rare Books, who asserts that the pandemic was when a lot of people first discovered auctions. “That’s part of what’s really driven the market for modern books,” concluded the antiquarian book dealer. And for our purposes, that is what has also put “another” rare copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone on the market.



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The book in question is a first edition being sold by a private collector who acquired the copy at a 2017 Sotheby’s auction for £85,000 ($104,000). Having more recently picked up another copy, they decided to take advantage of the current market to sell this one. By all accounts, the collector has reason to be hopeful the copy sells for a good price. “The trifecta of what makes something rare is that there’s a small print run, it’s still very popular in pop culture, and people just always want and need it,” stated Steinkirchner, who explained that the book checks off all three of these categories. Steinkirchner is selling the first edition on behalf of the original collector for the healthy price of $225,000.

It’s also worth noting that, while such a price may seem steep, a comparable edition sold in 2021 for a record $471,000 at Heritage Auctions in Dallas, Texas. That particular lot opened at just $80,000, and a bidding war quickly ensued. Whether this latest edition to hit the market will similarly inspire the ardor of more than one buyer remains to be seen.



The first-edition hardcover will be available for purchase at this year’s New York International Antiquarian Book Fair, which takes place from April 27 to 30. The event, which is in its 63rd year, will be held at Park Avenue Armory. The fair’s website boasts that this year it will offer over 180 exhibitors from a whopping 17 countries. Tickets to attend the event are on sale now.