As a child, Beatrix Potter (1866–1943) was fascinated by nature, using her considerable artistic talent to paint animal and plants. In 1893 she sent a sequence of illustrated letters about a naughty rabbit to the children of her former governess, and their delight led her to submit the story for publication. Although it was turned down, she had 250 copies published privately in December 1901 for distribution to friends. Simply titled Peter Rabbit and illustrated with line drawings, the book’s popularity was such that another printing of 200 copies was required by February 1902, and in the same year Frederick Warne & Co. agreed to publish it with new colour illustrations. Eight thousand copies of this first trade edition were printed in October 1902.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was published in the UK in 1997, and was responsible for the rapid rise of author J. K. Rowling from struggling single mother to multi-millionaire. The print run of the true first edition was very small – only about two thousand copies, of which 500 were hardcover and the rest paperback. Most were sent to libraries where they received a great deal of wear and tear, meaning that copies in collectible condition are scarce and highly collectible. Inscribed copies such as this one are decisively uncommon.
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