A Special 15th-Anniversary Edition and an Uncorrected Proof Copy of “Philosopher’s Stone” Sell at Auction

Hansons Auctioneers, based in Derby, England, have auctioned off many special Harry Potter books, from first editions to signed copies. Two rare versions of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone went up for auction this week – and ended up with very different results.

First to be auctioned was a rare, special 15th-anniversary edition of Philosopher’s Stone, which was one of only 15 copies published in 2012 to mark the 15th anniversary of its initial release in 1997.

Bloomsbury celebrated the 15th anniversary with a contest for UK fans, encouraging them to “write in no more than 50 words why you love HARRY POTTER.”

We are looking for the most creative, clever and entertaining reasons and, while the word limit it set to a strict 50 words, please do draw, doodle or illustrate your letters if you wish.

Carina Haouchine, who was 15 at the time of the competition, was one of the winners and was given the prize of the special book, which until recently was stored in her flat in Glasgow, Scotland. Sadly, a fire broke out earlier this year, leaving the building uninhabitable, but thankfully, the rare book survived.


"Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" special edition with Carina's competition entry (Credit: Hansons Auctioneers)

“Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” special edition with Carina’s competition entry (Credit: Hansons Auctioneers)


Carina’s book is also signed by the author.


Author's signature in "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" competition prize edition (Credit: Hansons Auctioneers)

Author’s signature in “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” competition prize edition (Credit: Hansons Auctioneers)


Estimated to make between £8,000 ($9,900) and £12,000 ($14,900), Carina’s edition surpassed this, selling for £15,000 ($18,700) – much more than another 15th-anniversary edition that sold for £8,000 ($9,900) last year. 

The other edition of Philosopher’s Stone that went up for auction was an uncorrected proof copy, which was originally bought for £1 ($1.25) in 1997 by St Kenelm’s Primary School in Oxfordshire, England. Staff feared the book had been accidentally thrown away because it hadn’t been seen for eight years, but it was rediscovered during a summer tidy-up.


Jim Spencer from Hansons Auctioneers holds a proof copy of "Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone" (Credit: Hansons Auctioneers)

Jim Spencer from Hansons Auctioneers holds a proof copy of “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” (Credit: Hansons Auctioneers)


The school’s headteacher, Bob Alder, said the school wanted to “further develop” its students’ love of literature by investing in updated equipment, choosing to auction the book to fund this.

The copy is one of just 200 that were printed by Bloomsbury, and it was expected to make £20,000 ($24,900) at Hansons Auctioneers. However, the bid of £13,000 ($16,200) on September 5 sadly fell short of the reserve price, and it therefore didn’t sell.

Jim Spencer, head of books at Hansons, described the result as “disappointing.”

Ultimately, if we’d sold it for too little, that would have been wrong. It fully deserves to reach the top end of £15,000 to £20,000. With such a good cause, I wanted to get a big chunk of money for the school. The plain look to it is because it was just before Harry Potter took off – that’s the magic of it.

The proof was set to be reauctioned in November, but there was strong post-sale interest in the book, and it sold earlier today (September 7) for £15,000 ($18,700) to a businessman from Faringdon, Oxfordshire, who hopes the book will boost tourism in his home county.

I am tremendously happy to have acquired such an iconic and important text and to be able to keep it in the county for others to enjoy…. We have a partnership with Faringdon Town Council and hope to be able to display the book in the town museum.

Jim Spencer “never doubted it would sell.”

This uncorrected proof represents the start of that phenomenon, and it’s really scarce – only 200 were printed. This is exactly why we have reserves in place. I had a duty of care to the vendor, the school, and it would’ve been wrong to let a dealer grab a bargain for a quick sale when I knew the potential market value.

Alder also commented on the auction’s triumph.

The school is absolutely delighted. After an earlier disappointment, it is a fantastic outcome.

We are so pleased to discover this happy ending for the uncorrected proof copy and hope the money will help to spark a passion for reading in the school’s students.

Grace Hurley

I'm an animal-loving Ravenclaw with a Masters Degree in Writing and a passion for the Harry Potter universe since the age of five.