‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’ cover art set to break auction records


Original artwork for JK Rowling’s first novel set to smash the previous auction records

Children’s book author and illustrator Thomas Taylor created the original cover art for J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s stone” at age 23, according to auction house Sotheby’s.—Sotheby’s

The original illustration for the first edition of JK Rowling’s iconic 1997 novel, “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone,” will come under the hammer and is slated to fetch up to a staggering $600,000 at Sotheby’s auction next month.

 It has the highest presale valuation ever placed on a Harry Potter-related artefact, as confirmed by the auction house.

Created by author and illustrator Thomas Taylor, the watercolour cover art portrays the young wizard Harry Potter, distinguishable by his dark, dishevelled hair, round spectacles, and lightning bolt scar on the forehead, ready to venture on his inaugural journey to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry on board the Hogwarts Express.

The first edition of 1997 book “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone”. — BNPS/CNN

Though Taylor’s cover appeared on various translated editions of the book, it did not grace the US release, which the title “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.”

Initially auctioned at Sotheby’s London in 2001, the illustration was sold for £85,750 (approximately $106,000), quadrupling the estimated sale price.

After over 20 years, the original artwork is back for auction and is expected to smash the previous price records set for any Harry Potter-related collector’s item.

The watercolor illustration of fictional young wizard Harry Potter in front of the Hogwarts Express train is expected to sell for up to $600,000 on June 26. — Sotheby’s

The existing record for an item related to the series is held by an unsigned first edition of “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone,” which sold for $421,000 at Heritage Auctions in Dallas, Texas, in 2021, according to Sotheby’s.

Taylor, who was then a 23-year-old budding artist, finished the original cover image in just two days, per Sotheby’s. At the time of publication, Taylor worked at a bookstore where his colleagues boasted to the customers that their very own house illustrator had a picturesque part in the bestselling novel.

The illustration is scheduled to be auctioned on June 26 at Sotheby’s in New York, alongside other notable works of English and American Literature. Later, on July 10, the auction house will present one of JK Rowling’s handwritten original manuscripts for her 2007 book, “The Tales of Beedle the Bard.”


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