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Harry Potter: Philosopher’s Stone never-before-seen early copy sold at auction for £37,000

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The first reviewers of JK Rowling’s first Harry Potter book likened the boy wizard to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’s Charlie Bucket.

The connection was revealed as the only known surviving manuscript for Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone sold at auction for £37,000 after causing a “quite a stir”.

The never-seen before, uncorrected pages, are a version of the popular children’s book that was sent before proof reading and contain comments by the series’ first reviewer.

Consisting of 109 sheets, the text sold for almost double the estimate of £20,000, after a frenzied bidding war was won by a private collector bidding on the telephone from overseas.

Known in the industry as galley sheets, they also contain comments made by children’s book reviewer Fiona Waters, who was sent the book by publisher Bloomsbury’s Rosamund Walker in 1997.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was published in 1997 and is the first of seven Harry Potter books by author JK Rowling.

In a letter, Walker wrote: “Dear Fiona, Harry Potter and The Philosophers Stone by Joanne Rowling.

“I have enclosed a manuscript for your interest as promised… I would really appreciate if you would let me know your comments for pre-publication quotes.”

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

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

Clive Moss, head of Chiswick Auctions books, manuscript and works on paper, said: “We are thrilled with the result of this only known surviving set of galley sheets today, which were on the market for the first time and caused quite a stir.”

He added: “We expected stiff competition for them, as they offered a unique insight into what was to become an iconic work in the history of literature”.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone sees Harry, an orphan, brought up by his aunt and uncle because his parents were killed when he was a baby.

Unloved by the pair, he is invited to join Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

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