28 April 2022

Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone galley sheets cause ‘stir’ at auction

28 April 2022

The only known surviving set of galley sheets for JK Rowling’s Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone has sold for £37,500 after causing “quite a stir” at auction.

The never-before-seen uncorrected sheets are a version of the book that was sent before final proofreading and consists of 224 numbered pages on 109 sheets.

The set of sheets sold for almost double its pre-sale low estimate of £20,000, after a frenzied bidding war was won by a private collector bidding on the telephone from overseas.

Galley proofs for JK Rowling’s Harry Potter & The Philosopher’s Stone (Chiswick Auctions/PA)

At the time, a copy of the book was sent from Rosamund Walker, the marketing manager of Bloomsbury Children’s Books, to Fiona Waters, the children’s book reviewer, in February 1997.

In an accompanying letter, Walker wrote: “Dear Fiona, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by Joanne Rowling.

“I have enclosed a manuscript for your interest as promised… I would really appreciate if you would let me know your comments for pre-publication quotes.”

A month later, Waters replied: “I just loved this book. There is something about Harry Potter that reminds me of Charlie Bucket in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.”

Letter from (Chiswick Auctions/PA)

Waters’ quote was used as a review on the back of the first edition of the book that was printed.

Clive Moss, head of Chiswick Auctions books, manuscript and works on paper, said: “We are thrilled with the result of this only known surviving set of galley sheets today, which were on the market for the first time and caused quite a stir.

“We expected stiff competition for them, as they offered a unique insight into what was to become an iconic work in the history of literature.”

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