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Harry Potter first edition auctioned for £150k

The first edition of Harry Potter an the Philosopher's Stone fetched £150k at an auction.

Author of the Harry Potter book series, JK Rowling. Picture: AFP

LONDON - A unique first edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone annotated by author J.K. Rowling has sold for a record £150,000 at a London charity auction, Sotheby's said on Tuesday.

The 1997 book, featuring handwritten notes, 22 original illustrations and a 43-page second thoughts commentary by the author, fetched the highest price to date for a printed book by Rowling, Sotheby's said in a statement.

The auction house said the sale room fell silent on Tuesday as buyers engaged in a bidding war for the coveted book, which eventually went to an unidentified buyer bidding over the telephone.

The full sale featured 51 first editions, all unique one-offs featuring annotations and commentary from authors, as part of the First Editions, Second Thoughts sale to benefit charity organisation English PEN, which promotes freedom of expression.

Other top sellers included Roald Dahl's Matilda with new illustrations by Quentin Blake for £30,000 Kazuo Ishiguro's The Remains of the Day for £18,000 and Julian Barnes' Metroland for £14,000.

The total sale fetched £439,000.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone was the first in a series of seven novels by Rowling, about the adventures of a boy wizard living in a world of muggles and magic.

Only 500 first editions of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone exist, making them the rarest of the series, which has become the best-selling book series ever and was adapted into a multibillion dollar film franchise.

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