An early copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone has sold at auction for a magical £3,250.
Auctioneers Vectis, based in Stockton-on- Tees, had valued the book between £300 and £500, but what made it attractive to Harry Potter fans were star-studded signatures inside the cover.
It was autographed by the stars of the movie version, including Harry Potter himself, Daniel Radcliffe. At the time Daniel was only 11-years-old.
The back story to the book is spell-binding. It was a treasured possession of Verity Collins, who became an extra in the movie of the JK Rowling’s novel. Parts of it were filmed in Goathland, a village in North Yorkshire, which became the location for the ‘wizarding village’ of Hogsmeade.
‘It’s my first autograph’ said Harry Potter
One day on the set, Verity came across young Daniel sitting alone. She remembers feeling “quite sorry” him, so she approached him hoping for a chat.
“He was so friendly and delightful so I asked if he would sign my copy of the book,” she said.
Daniel responded by telling her that she was the first person to ask for his autograph, and he duly scribbled her name, plus his best wishes, next to own.
Over the next few days of filming, other members of the cast weighed-in with their autographs too. Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley), Emma Watson (Hermione Grainger), Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy) and even Robbie Coltrane (Hagrid), all put their monikers to the book.
Robbie Coltrane told Verity that he didn’t usually give out autographs, but because of ‘the special circumstances’, he agreed.
Later Verity was invited to Leavesden to visit the Harry Potter studio sets such as Diagon Alley and the Great Hall in Hogswarts and as the book was sold Verity’s invitation to the studios was with it.
Truth and divine provenance
Those ‘special circumstances’ I mentioned related to Verity. At the time, she was having chemotherapy for leukaemia. Happily, she made a full recovery and now, aged 33, lives in Somerset. She recently asked for her mum Valerie to oversee sale of the book.
For all serious collectologists, whether their love is for war medals or classic works of art, or perhaps first editions of books or unusual antiques, provenance is the key to understanding the object’s value. The buyer of Verity’s treasured book has not been revealed but with her name, which rings of truth, the lucky purchaser can be certain he or she has the real deal with a unique copy of a children’s classic novel.
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