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A Harry Potter book handwritten by JK Rowling is being auctioned in London

Ellie Walker-Arnott

Get counting those galleons. A rare Harry Potter book, handwritten by author JK Rowling herself, is going up for auction in London next month - and it's set to sell for an impressive price. 

The book, a copy of spin-off 'The Tales of Beedle the Bard', is not only handwritten and illustrated by Rowling, it's also leather bound and studded with semi-precious stones. 

It was originally gifted to Barry Cunningham who helped launch Rowling's literary career and published the first Potter novel 'Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone' in 1997. A handwritten inscription reads: 'To Barry, the man who thought an overlong novel about a boy wizard in glasses might just sell… THANK YOU.' 

The manuscript is one of only seven unique copies. Six were personally produced by Rowling for close friends while a seventh was made for auction, and sold for £1.95m in 2007. Cunningham's copy is estimated to reach £300,000-500,000. 

He is selling his personalised edition with Rowling's blessing and plans to donate some of the profits to her charity Lumos. 


'The personal resonance of this book makes this both an exceptional and highly desirable object to come to auction. It is particularly special as it is only one of six made for those closest to the author throughout the journey of creating the Harry Potter series, gifted to the man who recognised the brilliance of J.K Rowling’s writing and her potential impact on children’s literature,' said Dr Philip W Errington, Director of Sotheby’s Books and Manuscripts Department. 

'The Tales of Beedle the Bard' is a spin-off book, like 'Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them'. It is a volume of five wizarding fairy-tales left to Hermione Granger by Albus Dumbledore in the seventh and final book. 

The auction will take place at Sotheby's in London on December 13. 

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