Beedle the Bard Earns £368,750 at Auction
If you enjoy reading Electric Literature, join our mailing list! We’ll send you the best of EL each week, and you’ll be the first to know about upcoming submissions periods and virtual events.
JK Rowling’s gift to her publisher ignites the bidding at Sotheby’s
A handwritten and illustrated copy of JK Rowling’s The Tales of Beedle the Bard has been sold at auction for a whopping £368,750. The book was originally a gift from Rowling to her publisher Barry Cunningham. In 2007 Rowling wrote out the stories that make up The Tales of Beedle the Bard — a collection of wizzarding legends that plays a large role in the fictional world of Harry Potter. (In the final installment, Dumbledore bequeaths the book Hermione.) Originally, only seven copies of the fictional-book-made-real were crafted. Six were given as gifts to those who, according The Guardian, Rowling considered “most closely connected to the Harry Potter books.” The seventh was auctioned by her charity, Lumous, selling for £1.95 million. In 2008, the stories received a mass release, earning enormous sales figures.
The leather bound volume that Cunningham received is also covered in semi-precious stones that, according to Rowling, are “traditionally associated with love, balance and joy in daily life.” There is also a note on the inside cover from the author that reads: “To Barry, the man who thought an overlong novel about a boy wizard in glasses might just sell … THANK YOU.”
Beedle the Bard was the big winner on the day. Part of Sotheby’s English Literature, History, Children’s Books and Illustrations auction, Rowling’s volume beat out letters from Darwin and Jane Austen for the high hammer price. So, take that, legends of English intellectual history. You got Potter’d.