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Rare galley proof of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone to be auctioned

April 15, 2022

Rare galley proof of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone to be auctioned
Rare galley proof of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone to be auctioned

A rare galley proof of the first book by J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, will be auctioned by Chiswick Auctions in London next Thursday April 28th. The estimate by the auction house is between £20,000 and £30,000 (US$25,000 – US$39000).

These early galley sheet, one of a small number of copies produced for review purposes (aprox 12), consist of 224 numbered pages on 109 sheets, date & time stamped ‘Harry Potter pages ‘B’ 2/25/97 11:59 (- 12.16)’ printed landscape on A4 sheets, signed by Fiona Waters to the first page, preserved in cloth archival box (Fiona is a children’s book reviewer).

It was sent by Rosamund Walker (Children’s Marketing Manager at Bloomsbury Children’s Books at the time) to Fiona Waters on 26th February 1997: ‘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’.

Fiona Waters replied to Rosamund Walker on 28th March 1997: ‘Dear Roz […] I just loved this book […] There is something about Harry Potter that reminds me of Charlie Buckett in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory…’ These are the lines that are printed as the review on the rear cover of the first edition. Rosamund Walker then replied to Fiona Waters ‘Dear Fiona […] I can’t tell you how nice it is to hear such praise for Harry Potter, and I am sure the author will be most flattered with the allusion to Charlie Buckett’.

From the only photo that the auction house has shared, it seems this galley proof already has the final design in which the book was going to be printed, so we can suspect there are no differences with the published text (if any). It also allows us to know that in February 1997 Bloomsbury had already decided the final layout (and final text to be used in the novel).

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