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Harry up as Potter’s first edition goes under hammer

The Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America’s (AABA) 63rd New York International Antiquarian Book Fair in Manhattan is selling the once-cheap first edition of “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” for USD 225,500.

A highlight of this year’s fair is the first edition of J.K. Rowling’s popular children’s novel. It’s on sale for USD 225,500, an ostensibly significant uptick from the sale price of GBP 10.99, or about USD 18 in 1997.

From @finebooks: New York International Antiquarian Book Fair: Events Series Details #NYIABF #Ephemera

— ABAA Rare Books (@ABAA49) April 26, 2023

Sunday Steinkirchner, the owner of B&B Rare Books, and chair of the New York International Antiquarian Book Fair, said the price jump was “about demand.”

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There were only 500 copies printed and 300 were sent to libraries, so really, it’s one of 200 copies,” she said. “The entire thing that happened with Harry Potter is a phenomenon. So, we’ve got the books, the movies, and everything else that goes along with it. It’s so relevant in pop culture today. So that keeps the demand very high. So, it’s a perfect storm, small print run, and huge demand.”

International Antiquarian Book Fair

This year, the fair brings together 190 dealers from 17 countries. Participation is “almost there to pre-COVID times,” Steinkirchner said. “Anything you’re interested in, you can find here,” she added.

Other antiques for sale include a USD 7.5 mln portolan chart, the “Rex Tholomeus”, from around 1360, and also the first edition of Adam Smith’s “Wealth of Nations” and one of the last manuscripts of Marco Polo’s travels.

The book fair runs from April 27 to 30 at the Park Avenue Armory in New York City.

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