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The original cover art for Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is set to break auction records, showcasing the enduring magic of J.K. Rowling’s beloved series and its transformative impact on literature.

In a testament to the enduring magic of the Harry Potter series, the original cover art for J. K. Rowling’s debut novel, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, is expected to shatter auction records when it goes under the hammer at Sotheby’s in New York on June 26. The watercolor illustration, created by British author and illustrator Thomas Taylor, depicts a young Harry Potter curiously waiting to board the Hogwarts Express for his first year at the School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

The artwork, which graced the cover of the very first edition of the book in 1997, is poised to fetch around $USD 600,000, making it the highest presale value ever placed on a Harry Potter-related item, according to Sotheby’s. This marks the second time the illustration will be up for auction, with the first instance occurring at Sotheby’s London in 2001, where it sold for an impressive £85,750 (approximately $106,000), four times its estimated sale price.

The upcoming sale is a testament to the incredible journey of the Harry Potter series, which began as a small print run of just 500 hardback copies in 1997.
At the time, Rowling was an unknown author, and the book faced numerous rejections from publishers before Bloomsbury took a chance on the magical tale. Little did they know that the series would go on to become a global phenomenon, captivating readers of all ages and spawning a multi-billion-dollar franchise spanning books, films, theme parks and merchandise.

The cover art itself holds a special place in the hearts of Harry Potter fans, as it was the first visual representation of the beloved character. Taylor, who was just 23 years old at the time, created the image in a mere two days. The illustration perfectly captures the sense of wonder and anticipation that Harry feels as he embarks on his magical journey, with his unmistakable dark, brown hair, round glasses and lightning bolt scar.

Interestingly, while Taylor’s artwork was used for several translated versions of the book, it did not appear on the US edition, which was released under the title Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Despite this, the image has become synonymous with the series and is instantly recognizable to fans around the world.

The upcoming auction is not the only Harry Potter-related item set to make waves in the collecting world. Rare first editions of the book have been known to fetch staggering sums at auction, with one pristine, unread copy selling for £69,000 (nearly $90,000) in March 2022. Even copies in less-than-perfect condition have commanded impressive prices, such as a much-loved first edition found in a bargain bin that sold for £55,104 (approximately $69,000) in 2021.

The enduring appeal of Harry Potter is a testament to the power of storytelling and the magic of the imagination. Rowling’s tale of a young wizard navigating the challenges of adolescence while battling the forces of evil has resonated with readers across generations and cultures. The series has not only entertained but also inspired countless children to discover the joys of reading and the limitless possibilities of their own creativity.

As the original cover art for Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone prepares to make history at auction, it serves as a reminder of the humble beginnings of a series that would go on to change the literary landscape forever. For fans and collectors alike, the opportunity to own a piece of this magical history is truly priceless. The auction, set to take place on June 26 at Sotheby’s in New York, is sure to be a momentous occasion, celebrating the enduring legacy of Harry Potter and the transformative power of storytelling.