Original ‘Harry Potter’ Illustration Could Fetch US$600,000, the Priciest Item Ever Sold From the Hit Series - Kanebridge News
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Original ‘Harry Potter’ Illustration Could Fetch US$600,000, the Priciest Item Ever Sold From the Hit Series

Fri, May 3, 2024 2:22pmGrey Clock 3 min

An original watercolour illustration for the cover of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, 1997  the first book in J.K. Rowling’s hit series—could sell for US$600,000 at a Sotheby’s auction this summer.

The illustration is headlining a June 26 sale in New York that will also feature big-ticket items from the collection of the late Dr. Rodney P. Swantko, a surgeon and collector from Indiana, including manuscripts by poet Edgar Allan Poe and Arthur Conan Doyle, author of the Sherlock Holmes books

The Harry Potter illustration, which introduced the young wizard character to the world, is expected to sell for between US$400,000 to US$600,000, which would make it the highest-priced item ever sold related to the Harry Potter world. This is the second time the illustration has been sold, however—it was on the auction block at Sotheby’s in London in 2001, where it achieved £85,750 (US$107,316).

The artist of the illustration, Thomas Taylor, was 23 years old at the time and a graduate student working at a children’s bookshop. According to Sotheby’s, Taylor took a “professional commission from an unknown author to visualise a unique wizarding world,” Sotheby’s said in a news release. He depicted Harry Potter boarding the train to Hogwarts on platform9 ¾ platform, and the illustration became the “universal image” of the Harry Potter series, Sotheby’s said.

“It is exciting to see the painting that marks the very start of my career, decades later and as bright as ever! It takes me back to the experience of reading Harry Potter for the first time—one of the first people in the world to do so—and the process of creating what is now an iconic image,” Taylor said in the release.

Meanwhile, to commemorate the 175th anniversary of Edgar Allan Poe’s For Annie , 1849, Sotheby’s recently reunited the autographed manuscript of the poem with the author’s home, Poe Cottage, in the Bronx.

The cottage is where the author lived with his wife, Virginia, and mother-in-law, Maria Clemm, from 1846 until he died in 1849. The manuscript, also from the Swantko collection, will remain at the home until it is offered at auction at Sotheby’s on June 26 with an estimate between US$400,000 and US$600,000.

The autographed manuscript will remain at Poe Cottage until it is offered at auction at Sotheby’s on June 26.
Matthew Borowick for Sotheby’s

Poe Cottage, preserved and overseen by the Bronx County Historical Society, is home to many of the author’s famous works, including Eureka , 1948, and Annabel Lee , 1927.

“To reunite the For Annie manuscript with the Poe Cottage nearly two centuries after it was first composed brought to life literary history for a truly special and unique occasion,” Richard Austin , Sotheby’s Global Head of Books & Manuscripts, said in a news release.

For Annie was one of Poe’s most important compositions, and was addressed to Nancy “Annie” L. Richmond, one of the several women Poe pursued after his wife Viriginia’s death from tuberculosis in 1847.

In a letter to Richmond herself, Poe proclaimed For Annie was his best work: “I think the lines For Annie much the best I have ever written.”

The poem was composed in 1849, only months before Poe’s death, Sotheby’s said in the piece, Poe highlights the romantic comfort he feels from a woman named Annie while simultaneously grappling with the darkness of death, with lines like “And the fever called ‘living’ is conquered at last.”

Poe Cottage, preserved and overseen by the Bronx County Historical Society, is home to many of the author’s famous works, including Eureka, 1948, and Annabel Lee,, 1927.
Matthew Borowick for Sotheby’s

In the margins of the manuscript are the original handwritten instructions by Nathaniel P. Willis, co-editor of the New York Home Journal, where Poe published other poems such as The Raven and submitted For Annie on April 20, 1849.

Willis added Poe’s name in the top right and instructions about printing and presenting the poem on the side. The poem was also published in the Boston Weekly that same month.

Another piece of literary history included in the Swantko sale could surpass US$1 million. Conan Doyle’s autographed manuscript of the Sherlock Holmes tale The Sign of Four , 1889, is estimated to achieve between US$800,000 and US$1.2 million.


What a quarter-million dollars gets you in the western capital.

Alexandre de Betak and his wife are focusing on their most personal project yet.

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These stocks are getting hit for a reason. Instead, focus on stocks that show ‘relative strength.’ Here’s how.

Wed, Jun 12, 2024 4 min

A lot of investors get stock-picking wrong before they even get started: Instead of targeting the top-performing stocks in the market, they focus on the laggards—widely known companies that look as if they are on sale after a period of stock-price weakness.

But these weak performers usually are going down for good reasons, such as for deteriorating sales and earnings, market-share losses or mutual-fund managers who are unwinding positions.

Decades of Investor’s Business Daily research shows these aren’t the stocks that tend to become stock-market leaders. The stocks that reward investors with handsome gains for months or years are more often  already  the strongest price performers, usually because of outstanding earnings and sales growth and increasing fund ownership.

Of course, many investors already chase performance and pour money into winning stocks. So how can a discerning investor find the winning stocks that have more room to run?

Enter “relative strength”—the notion that strength begets more strength. Relative strength measures stocks’ recent performance relative to the overall market. Investing in stocks with high relative strength means going with the winners, rather than picking stocks in hopes of a rebound. Why bet on a last-place team when you can wager on the leader?

One of the easiest ways to identify the strongest price performers is with IBD’s Relative Strength Rating. Ranked on a scale of 1-99, a stock with an RS rating of 99 has outperformed 99% of all stocks based on 12-month price performance.

How to use the metric

To capitalise on relative strength, an investor’s search should be focused on stocks with RS ratings of at least 80.

But beware: While the goal is to buy stocks that are performing better than the overall market, stocks with the highest RS ratings aren’t  always  the best to buy. No doubt, some stocks extend rallies for years. But others will be too far into their price run-up and ready to start a longer-term price decline.

Thus, there is a limit to chasing performance. To avoid this pitfall, investors should focus on stocks that have strong relative strength but have seen a moderate price decline and are just coming out of weeks or months of trading within a limited range. This range will vary by stock, but IBD research shows that most good trading patterns can show declines of up to one-third.

Here, a relative strength line on a chart may be helpful for confirming an RS rating’s buy signal. Offered on some stock-charting tools, including IBD’s, the line is a way to visualise relative strength by comparing a stock’s price performance relative to the movement of the S&P 500 or other benchmark.

When the line is sloping upward, it means the stock is outperforming the benchmark. When it is sloping downward, the stock is lagging behind the benchmark. One reason the RS line is helpful is that the line can rise even when a stock price is falling, meaning its value is falling at a slower pace than the benchmark.

A case study

The value of relative strength could be seen in Google parent Alphabet in January 2020, when its RS rating was 89 before it started a 10-month run when the stock rose 64%. Meta Platforms ’ RS rating was 96 before the Facebook parent hit new highs in March 2023 and ran up 65% in four months. Abercrombie & Fitch , one of 2023’s best-performing stocks, had a 94 rating before it soared 342% in nine months starting in June 2023.

Those stocks weren’t flukes. In a study of the biggest stock-market winners from the early 1950s through 2008, the average RS rating of the best performers before they began their major price runs was 87.

To see relative strength in action, consider Nvidia . The chip stock was an established leader, having shot up 365% from its October 2022 low to its high of $504.48 in late August 2023.

But then it spent the next four months rangebound—giving up some ground, then gaining some back. Through this period, shares held between $392.30 and the August peak, declining no more than 22% from top to bottom.

On Jan. 8, Nvidia broke out of its trading range to new highs. The previous session, Nvidia’s RS rating was 97. And that week, the stock’s relative strength line hit new highs. The catalyst: Investors cheered the company’s update on its latest advancements in artificial intelligence.

Nvidia then rose 16% on Feb. 22 after the company said earnings for the January-ended quarter soared 486% year over year to $5.16 a share. Revenue more than tripled to $22.1 billion. It also significantly raised its earnings and revenue guidance for the quarter that was to end in April. In all, Nvidia climbed 89% from Jan. 5 to its March 7 close.

And the stock has continued to run up, surging past $1,000 a share in late May after the company exceeded that guidance for the April-ended quarter and delivered record revenue of $26 billion and record net profit of $14.88 billion.

Ken Shreve  is a senior markets writer at Investor’s Business Daily. Follow him on X  @IBD_KShreve  for more stock-market analysis and insights, or contact him at  ken.shreve@investors.com .