Harry Potter: galley sheets for a novel are sold by the tens of thousands

The only known galley sheet set for JK Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone has sold for £37,500 after causing ‘quite a stir’ at auction.

Unpublished uncorrected sheets are a version of the book that was sent before final proofreading and consists of 224 numbered pages on 109 sheets.

The sheet set sold for almost double its presale low estimate of £20,000, after a frantic bidding war was won by a private collector bidding by telephone from abroad.

Cooking proofs for JK Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Chiswick Auctions/PA)

At the time, a copy of the book was sent by Rosamund Walker, marketing manager for Bloomsbury Children’s Books, to Fiona Waters, the children’s book reviewer, in February 1997.

In an accompanying letter, Walker wrote, “Dear Fiona, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by Joanne Rowling.

“I have attached a manuscript for your interest as promised…I would really appreciate your feedback for pre-publication citations.”

A month later, Waters replied, “I just loved this book. There’s something about Harry Potter that reminds me of Charlie Bucket in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

LetterLetter from Fiona Waters (Chiswick Auctions/PA)

Waters’ quote was used as a review on the back of the first edition of the book that was printed.

Clive Moss, Head of Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper at Chiswick Auctions, said: “We are delighted with the outcome of this only set of galley sheets still known today, which was on the market for the first time and has caused a sensation.

“We expected fierce competition for them, as they offered a unique insight into what would become an iconic work in the history of literature.”

Irene B. Bowles