Lot 311A
  • 311A

Rowling, J.K.

bidding is closed


  • Autograph manuscript of The Tales of Beedle the Bard translated from the original runes by J.K. Rowling
individually handwritten and extensively illustrated by the author, c.160 pages containing c.5500 words, 8vo, written in an Italian hand-made notebook with acid-free deckle-edged cream-coloured leaves (167 by 111mm.), bound in brown morocco (175 by 114mm.) embellished on upper cover by Edinburgh silversmiths Hamilton and Inches, with five individually hand-chased hallmarked sterling silver ornaments and mounted moonstones, spine in compartments with raised bands, folding clasp, green endpapers, green head and foot bands together with green marker ribbon.

Please refer to separate catalogue for Conditions of Business for this lot.  There is no buyer's premium on the sale of this lot.
Not sold with copyright. The buyer may not publish or reproduce this work or any extract from it.


Condition is described in the main body of the cataloguing, where appropriate. Please refer to separate catalogue for Conditions of Business for this lot. There is no buyer's premium on the sale of this lot. Not sold with copyright. The buyer may not publish or reproduce this work or any extract from it.
"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.

Catalogue Note

the most extensive harry potter-related autograph manuscript ever to have been offered at auction. The Tales of Beedle the Bard is a collection of Wizarding fairy-tales of special significance within Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. In chapter seven of the final Harry Potter book we learn that in his will, Albus Dumbledore leaves his copy of The Tales of Beedle the Bard to Hermione Granger "in the hope that she will find it entertaining and instructive". The stories comprise 'The Wizard and the Hopping Pot', 'The Fountain of Fair Fortune', 'The Warlock's Hairy Heart', 'Babbity Rabbitty and her Cackling Stump' and 'The Tale of the Three Brothers'. The final tale is published within Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows; the others have been hitherto entirely unknown.

One of seven specially-made copies. All other copies are to be given by the author to those most intimately involved with the phenomenally successful series. A limitation note explains "Six of these books have been given to those most closely connected to the Harry Potter books during the past 17 years. This seventh copy will be auctioned, the proceeds to help institutionalised children who are in desperate need of a voice. So, to whoever now owns this book, THANK YOU - and fair fortune be yours! J.K. Rowling"

Each of the seven copies to be uniquely bound with hand-chased silver ornaments and mounted semi-precious stones by Hamilton and Inches. The company was founded in 1866, by James Hamilton and Robert Inches who were uncle and nephew respectively. The firm holds a royal warrant by appointment to Her Majesty the Queen as Silversmiths and Clock Specialists. The binding and embellishments were inspired by an ancient Italian prayer book. The sterling silver cornerpiece ornaments each bear a single motif from one of the stories, comprising a leaf, heart, fountain and a human foot. The central sterling silver panel includes a skull motif. Moonstones are also mounted. Within magical mythology moonstones promote selflessness and unconditional love. These qualities foster nurturing and mothering qualities. Each sterling silver ornament is hand-chased and hallmarked.


"When I conceived the idea of writing The Tales of Beedle the Bard in full, I was intrigued to discover how wizarding fairy-tales would differ from those told to muggle children. In the latter, witches and wizards are relegated to walk-on, if pivotal, roles; within The Tales of Beedle the Bard, they themselves are the heroes and heroines.

You might think that magic would solve any fairy-tale dilemma, but it transpires that there is always somebody who can cast a more powerful curse, or a creature who will not yield to one's best enchantments. Then, the intractable and eternal human predicaments of love, death and the pursuit of happiness are not necessarily resolved any more easily by the possessors of wands.

So these wizarding fairy-tales have much in common with their muggle counterparts: they exist to express human hopes and fears, and to teach a lesson or two. There are, however, a few important differences: witches tend to save themselves, rather than waiting around for a man to do it, and young wizards are warned, not against the dangers and temptations of the outside world, but of their own magical powers.

The Tales of Beedle the Bard is really a distillation of the themes found in the Harry Potter books, and writing it has been the most wonderful way to say goodbye to a world I loved and lived in for seventeen years."

J.K. Rowling