In 2012, Carina Haouchine, then a 15-year-old student, won one of only 15 rare editions of “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.” This particular edition was published to mark the 15th anniversary of the Harry Potter series and is considered the rarest version of “Philosopher’s Stone.” Now, this unique edition is set to go under the hammer.
This particular book, signed and dedicated by JK Rowling, stands out not only for its rarity but also because it survived a devastating fire in Carina’s Glasgow flat at the beginning of the year. While the book was almost lost to the flames, it miraculously remained untouched, and it is now expected to fetch between £8,000 to £12,000 at auction.
The auction will take place at Hansons Auctioneers, Bishton Hall, Staffs, on September 5. Carina, now 26 and a documentary filmmaker, shares that the book had been safely stored in her childhood bedroom and later in her Glasgow flat’s storage cupboard.
Reflecting on the harrowing experience, Carina said, “The tenement actually experienced a tragic fire at the beginning of the year. Thankfully nobody was injured but it is now uninhabitable. I’m very grateful the book survived!”
She obtained this special copy thanks to a competition organized by Bloomsbury in 2012 to find the UK’s biggest Harry Potter fan. The competition required youngsters to pen a letter expressing their love for the wizarding world. Carina’s winning entry was a creative one, featuring a watercolor portrait of Harry, Hermione, and Ron, a hand-carved wand, and a heartfelt letter.
Though Carina was a runner-up in the competition, missing out on the grand prize holiday, she remained appreciative of her extraordinary win. Speaking about her connection with Harry Potter, Carina said, “I grew up with my mum reading me the Harry Potter books, and the release of the film series sparked my passion for film. I’ve no doubt that the Harry Potter world played a part in that.”
Her decision to sell comes at a time when she’s recently engaged, and the proceeds from the sale will go towards funding her wedding and future.
Jim Spencer, head of Hansons’ Library Auction, remarked on the book’s extreme rarity, saying, “Only 15 copies were produced and they were never offered for sale. It’s not recorded in the invaluable J K Rowling bibliography by Philip W Errington, which proves how scarce it is.”
Indeed, the book’s existence was largely unknown to the public until last year, and even the competition itself is scarcely documented.
This sale not only marks an opportunity for collectors to own a piece of Harry Potter history but also stands as a testament to the enduring magic of a story that continues to captivate fans of all ages. The connection between a young fan and her passion for Harry Potter has turned a close brush with destruction into a celebration of both the tangible and intangible elements that make the wizarding world so special.