Original Watercolor Illustration for “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” Set for Auction

An original watercolor illustration of the first edition cover of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone will be auctioned off by Sotheby’s on June 26. The illustration is expected to fetch anywhere between $400,000 and $600,000. This would make it the most expensive item related to a popular book series.

Artist Thomas Taylor made the illustration at the age of 23 and it was his first-ever commissioned artwork. It was used for the first edition of the book in the United Kingdom and sporadically for books translated into other languages. In the United States, the artwork created by Mary GrandPré was used as a cover alongside a different title of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.

In 2001, following the release of the movie based on Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Taylor auctioned off the illustration through Sotheby’s. At the time, the piece was purchased by a private collector for $106,000.

“At the time this seemed like an optimum moment to sell: with the new film just out, I thought the books would all be given movie tie-in covers, and my artwork quickly forgotten. That didn’t happen of course, but there was no way I would have kept the artwork till today — I would certainly have sold it long ago,” Taylor shared in an Instagram post.

Taylor’s illustration for the Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone cover hasn’t been exhibited since being purchased, but that is set to change in the days leading up to the auction. The fans of the series will be able to see it at Sotheby’s exhibit gallery in New York City from June 21 to 25. It will then head to auction alongside the first edition of the book, which is expected to sell for $100,000.