Harry Potter piece sells for $1.6m

Original illustration for the cover of “Happy Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone”. Credit: Sotheby’s

In a record-breaking auction at Sotheby’s New York, the original artwork for Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone has fetched an astonishing $1.6 million.

Created in 1997 when Thomas Taylor was just 23 and out of art school, this piece exceeded all expectations, originally estimated to sell for $400,000-$600,000.

Unexpected auction frenzy

A bidding war arose between two phone bidders and two online bidders, propelling the final price to seven figures. This sale marks the highest price ever paid for a Harry Potter item at auction, making the artwork’s status a desired piece of literary and artistic history.

Taylor’s pencil and watercolour creation, measuring 401 x 282 mm, carries his signature and the date ‘1997’. The artwork features Harry Potter in his iconic glasses and scarf, a visual introduction that captivated readers worldwide upon the book’s release.

Continued Magic: the ongoing appeal of Harry Potter illustrations

The illustrations of Harry Potter have long been adored by fans, adding depth and magic to J.K. Rowling’s beloved series. From Taylor’s original cover to Jim Kay’s lavish editions, these artworks enrich the reading experience, making the world of Hogwarts come alive.

The magic of Harry Potter continues to inspire and attract audiences worldwide, ensuring that these illustrations remain timeless treasures that generations will love for years to come.

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Written by

Talyta Franca

Talyta Franca, Class 2026, Northwestern University in Qatar.