The artwork is now the most valuable Harry Potter item ever sold

An original watercolor illustration has become the most valuable Harry Potter item ever sold: it sold for $1.9 million at auction in the United States.

The artwork for the first edition of JK Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone has sold for more than three times the expected price.

It was first auctioned in 2001, before the book series was completed, for £85,750 (about $108,000 at current exchange rates).

“This is really the first viewing of Harry and the Wizarding World,” said Kalika Sands of auction house Sotheby’s.

The artwork was expected to sell for between $400,000 and $600,000, which Sotheby’s said was the highest pre-sale estimate for a Harry Potter-related work.

The bidding between four participants took almost 10 minutes to finish on Wednesday. The identity of the buyer was not revealed.

The artist behind the illustration, Thomas Taylor, was just 23 years old in 1997 when he created the iconic image of Harry Potter standing in front of the Hogwarts Express, the train that would take the bespectacled young wizard to the wizarding world.

He did it using concentrated watercolors with black pencil outlines and it took him two days to finish.

Taylor, who grew up in Wales, was one of the first people to read the manuscript of the original Harry Potter book, which sold millions of copies and spawned a lucrative franchise that included films and theme parks.

Sands said the difference in auction price between 2001, when only four of the seven books in the series were published, and now reflected how popular author Rowling’s creation had become.

“In the intervening decades, it’s been extraordinary to see just the conclusion of Harry’s story, but also how the Harry Potter franchise has taken off, and in that time, new generations have also come to appreciate Harry and his journey.”

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