Harry Potter acceptance letter to be auctioned in London

14 June 2023
The invitation is in its unopened original envelope, with an intact Hogwarts seal

A Hogwarts acceptance letter and envelope used in a much-loved scene in the first of the Harry Potter movies is expected to sell for more than £10,000 at the 22nd June auction conducted by Chiswick Auctions. The rare movie prop has been consigned by an individual who bought it at a school charity auction in 2002. 

As all JK Rowling fans know, it was on Harry Potter’s 11th birthday that he began to receive letters inviting him to enroll at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The letters arrive by owl, fly down the chimney, and shoot through the mailbox. Each is addressed in green ink to “Mr H. Potter, the Cupboard under the Stairs, 4, Privet Drive, Little Whinging, Surrey.”

Multiple examples of the prop were used in the production of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (2001), but the one to be auctioned is a little special. Unlike the many entirely printed versions that were also used in the scene, its envelope features a real and unbroken red-wax Hogwarts seal, which keeps the contents (a letter of introduction and a list of requirements from Professor McGonagall) safely secured inside.

This little piece of movie history was donated by Mark Radcliffe, a producer and partner of 1492 Pictures (which produced the first three Harry Potter films), to a school charity auction. The lot is accompanied by a letter of provenance on Harry Potter Productions letterhead confirming that this is one of only a limited number of props given out by the studios for charitable purposes, plus a color photocopy of the letter inside the never-opened envelope.

The covering letter is addressed to the Vice Chairperson of the PTA of Newdigate Infant School in Dorking, Surrey. It reads: “Thank you for your interest in Harry Potter. Please find enclosed for your charity, a Hogwarts acceptance letter and envelope, as seen in Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone. As the envelope is sealed, I have also included a copy of its contents. I have enclosed for your reference, a copy of the cover of a magazine featuring Daniel Radcliffe and one of the letters in action! There are only a limited number of these props available from the studio, thus we hope it raises a substantial amount for your good cause.”

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Acquired by the current owner at the charity sale, it now comes to auction with an estimate of £10,000-£12,000.

Chiswick Auctions specialist Valentina Borghi expects plenty of interest from Potter collectors. “Harry Potter ephemera his good doesn’t come on the market very often. As a general rule, the props used in the eight films have tended to stay with the studios.”

For additional details, to view the catalog description and images, or to sign up to bid live via the Internet, visit Chiswick Auctions at www.chiswickauctions.co.uk