(Purloined?) Harry Sold at Auction

Purchased, donated --or--stolen from the library?

March 19 Bloomberg News reports that Christie's International raised 36,560 pounds ($73,000), with fees, at a London sale of 20 lots of J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter books, including a rare first edition of "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.''

The Potter action at Christie's South Kensington salesroom surpassed a low presale estimate of 20,000 pounds without fees.

It also raised questions about Christie's controls after the London-based auction house confirmed that it didn't check whether the first edition, which sold for 4,000 pounds including fees, might have been stolen from the Northamptonshire Libraries & Information Service, whose label appears on the volume.

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