11:45 am EDT, May 2, 2013

Extremely rare ‘Philosopher’s Stone’ first edition with notes, drawings from J.K. Rowling up for auction

This first edition copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone going up for auction may just be the most rare version we’ve ever seen.

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Sotheby’s is auctioning off this one-of-a-kind Philosopher’s Stone donated by J.K. Rowling to raise money for English PEN, who “campaign to defend writers and readers in the UK and around the world whose human right to freedom of expression is at risk.”

Just one book of many in English PEN’s “First Editions, Second Thoughts” auction, this Philosopher’s Stone first edition includes 1,100 handwritten notes and 22 illustrations by Rowling herself.

In the two photos below you can see a sample of the notes and drawings you’ll find in the book if you have a ridiculous amount of money:

(Click them for full size!)


Philosopher's Stone signed first edition

It’s not clear how much of the new writing from Rowling is entirely new (for example: we’ve seen that Snape sketch before in an Anniversary Edition), but we have to assume this was all hand drawn and hand written by the Harry Potter author. Some of the notes in this book may have shown up in Pottermore, or maybe Rowling wrote some closely-guarded information to make this book an extra treat for the future owner.

The auction page has a few brief comments from Rowling about this first edition copy: “I wrote the book… in snatched hours, in clattering cafés or in the dead of night. For me, the story of how I wrote Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is written invisibly on every page, legible only to me. Sixteen years after it was published, the memories are as vivid as ever as I turn these pages.”

In addition to Rowling, other authors who have contributed first edition books include Yann Martel’s Life of Pi, David Lodge’s Small World, Roald Dahl’s Matilda, Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jones’s Diary, and Alan Bennett’s The Uncommon Reader.

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