Harry Potter first edition fetches world record price at Bonhams
A rare first edition copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone has sold for a new world record price at Bonhams.
To date Rowling's Harry Potter series has sold a record 500 million copies worldwide, and first editions of the early books are highly sought-after.
After Rowling struggled for years to find a deal for her debut novel, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone was finally published by Bloomsbury in 1997, with an initial run of just 500 copies.
Of those, an estimated 300 were sent out to libraries across Britain, and most now survive in well-thumbed condition filled with library stamps inside the covers.
True first editions can also be identified by a printing error, in which a list of equipment needed by all Hogwarts students includes the entry "1 wand" twice.
"As the first book in the series, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone has a special place in the affections of the millions of readers across the world and the proof reading error about the wand in the first edition has, of course, become a treasured piece of Harry Potter arcana," said Matthew Haley, Bonhams Head of Books and Manuscripts.
The copy offered at Bonhams was described as being in exceptionally fine condition, and one of the best experts had ever come across.
Estimated to sell for £15,000 - £20,000, the book soared to a final price of £43,750 ($54,162) – setting a new record for an unaltered copy of the book.
Back in 2013, another first edition – this time featuring Rowling's own illustrations and annotations – sold in a charity auction for £150,000.
"This was an exceptional price for a much-loved modern classic," added Books and Manuscripts senior specialist Simon Roberts.
"The book was in excellent condition which added to its appeal for collectors and I am not surprised that it attracted so much interest and such intense bidding."