A first edition copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was auctioned for $471,000 (£356,629) in the US on Thursday (9 December).
The auction house managing the sale, Dallas-based Heritage Auctions, claimed its buyer (whose name was not revealed) had helped set a new world record.
In a statement to Reuters, Heritage Auctions executive vice-president Joe Maddalena said: “Not only is it the most expensive Harry Potter book ever sold, it’s the most expensive commercially published 20th-century work of fiction ever sold.”
In the past, auction prices for first edition Harry Potter books have ranged from £83,331 ($110,000) to £104,543 ($138,000).
The auctioneer’s website describes the 1997 hardback edition (sold by an American collector whose name was not disclosed either) as “magical, incredibly bright and so very near pristine it’s surreal to hold.” Heritage Auctions said it was one of only 500 copies that had the same binding.
The lot description also includes a bit of Harry Potter trivia.
One of these rare copies found its way to film producer David Heyman, who founded Heyday Films, in the same year it was printed.
Coincidentally, at the time, Heyman was looking to adapt a suitable children’s book into a movie.
Heritage Auctions’s website reveals Heyman, subsequently, reached out to Warner Bros and pitched the idea of adapting JK Rowling’s bestselling book into a full-length feature film in 1999.
Two years later, the first Harry Potter movie was released and received critical and commercial acclaim. In total, eight Harry Potter films were made, earning a staggering £5.8bn ($7.7bn) in worldwide box office collections.
Last month, Warner Bros announced that the cast of Harry Potter – including Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint – would be reuniting for a television special to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the first film.
Return to Hogwarts is scheduled to release on New Year’s Day next year. It will be available for streaming on HBO Max and in the UK on NOW.