Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

"For Jenny, who does believe in magic (I do too, really) (but tell anybody)": J.K. Rowling's Rare First Book Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone; uniquely inscribed by her and with an original drawing by Illustrator Thomas Taylor

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.



Item Number: 133799

London: Bloomsbury, 1997.

First edition, fourth printing of the rarest book in the Harry Potter series, a cornerstone of young adult literature, and one of the best-selling books of all time. Octavo, original illustrated wrappers. Presentation copy, “For Jenny, who does believe in magic (I do too, really) (but don’t tell anyone) J.K. Rowling.” Also, with an original drawing of Harry Potter by jacket illustrator Thomas Taylor. The recipient, was the vendor’s daughter Jenny, who was seven years old at the time, at the Edinburgh Literary Festival in August 1997. Jenny’s mother wrote in her journal for that month “We all went to hear Joanne Rowling reading from her first children’s book “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” and were so impressed we bought a copy and Ms. Rowling signed it for Jenny. Jenny read “Harry Potter” first, then me and now she is reading it again so Peter has’nt had a chance yet! It really is a very good read”. Rowling appeared in the Tepee Tent, the smallest venue at the festival, reading extracts of the book to an audience of less than fifty people. Jenny’s mother recalls that “Jenny was aged 7 and very into wizards, magic, fairies and the like so when she took the book to be signed, she had a whispered question for Joanne Rowling – hence the inscription in the book.” At the time of the book’s publication in 1996, illustrator Thomas Taylor had just graduated from art school and was working at Heffers Children’s Bookshop in Cambridge. At Heffers, Taylor educated himself on the children’s book market and its major publishers and decided to submit a portfolio of his illustrations to the offices of Bloomsbury Publishing, including several drawings of dragons and wizards. Taylor heard back from Bloomsbury’s editor, Barry Cunningham (who had recently decided to take a chance on publishing Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone after it had been rejected by twelve other publishers) almost immediately. Cunningham phoned him at Heffers and asked if he could create a design for the cover of a relatively unknown author’s first book about a schoolboy wizard. He sent Taylor an incomplete manuscript of the book and, after two days, Taylor had a final product: a watercolor painting of a young Harry Potter with his lightning-bolt scar standing next to the Hogwarts Express on Platform Nine and Three-Quarters. In very good condition. A unique inscription and drawing.

The first novel in the Harry Potter series and Rowling's debut novel, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone follows Harry Potter, a young wizard who discovers his magical heritage on his eleventh birthday when he receives a letter of acceptance to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The book was first published in the United Kingdom on June 26, 1997 by Bloomsbury and in the United States the following year by Scholastic Corporation under the title Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. The book reached the top of the New York Times list of best-selling fiction in August 1999 and stayed near the top of that list for much of 1999 and 2000. It has sold in excess of 120 million copies, making it one of the best-selling books of all time. The majority of reviews of the popular book were favorable, revering Rowling's imagination, humor, simple, direct style and clever plot construction. Rowling's style has been compared to that of Jane Austen (her favorite author), Roald Dahl (whose works dominated children's stories before the appearance of Harry Potter), and even the Ancient Greek story-teller Homer. The first book in the series was followed by six sequels published on an annual basis between 1997 and 2000. The series has sold more that 500 million copies worldwide and has been ​translated into 80 languages, ​making it the best-selling book series in history and among history's most translated literary works.​ The last four books in the series consecutively set records as the fastest-selling books of all time, where the final installment, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, sold roughly fifteen million copies worldwide within twenty-four hours of its release. With twelve million books printed in the first U.S. run, it also holds the record for the highest initial print run for any book in history. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone was adapted into the 2001 fantasy film of the same name directed by Chris Columbus, distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, and starring Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter, Rupert Grint as Ron Weasley, and Emma Watson as Hermione Granger. Warner Bros. bought the film rights to the book in 1999 for a reported £1 million ($1.65 million) and the film was released in November 2001 in the United Kingdom, Ireland, the United States, Canada and Taiwan. It was a critical and commercial success, grossing $974 million at the box office worldwide during its initial run, and over $1 billion with subsequent re-releases. It became the highest-grossing film of 2001 and remains one of the highest-grossing films of all time. It was followed by seven sequels beginning with Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets in 2002 and ending with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 in 2011, nearly ten years after the first film's release.

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