The ultimate prize for a Harry Potter fan with money to spend: a copy of The Tales of Beedle the Bard handwritten and hand-drawn by J.K. Rowling is going to auction. It is believed that the book will fetch £500,000 pounds (or about $625,000) at auction.
As fans recall, The Tales of Beedle the Bard is a book that exists within the Harry Potter universe and is first mentioned in the final book of the series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, which was released in 2007.
That same year, J.K. Rowling hand-wrote and illustrated six copies of Beedle and gifted them to "those most closely connected to the Harry Potter books." An additional seventh copy, which she created to raise funds for her charity, was auctioned for £1.95m.
The handwritten, hand-illustrated manuscript that is being auctioned this time around is the copy that was originally gifted to Barry Cunningham, who acquired Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone for Bloomsbury in the UK. The Guardian reports that Cunningham received the book in the mail on Dec. 12, 2007 in a white Jiffy envelope. The leather notebook was covered in stones and decorated with a silver-skull, and a note from Rowling accompanied it: "To Barry, the man who thought an overlong novel about a boy wizard in glasses might just sell... THANK YOU."
Arthur A. Levine, an editor for Scholastic, the American editor of Harry Potter, also owns one of the handwritten copies. The other four recipients are not publicly known.
The Tales of Beedle and Bard plays a crucial role in the events of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Headmaster Albus Dumbledore bequeaths a copy of the book to Hermione Granger upon his death, and The Golden Trio learns of the Deathly Hallows and the Peverell brothers through its pages.
This could be one of your only chances to own an iconic, rare piece of Harry Potter history – so if you have a few hundred thousand dollars to spare, make your move! The book will be auctioned by Sotheby's next month, and the rest of us will have to content ourselves with a copy of the hardcover.