The book is one of only six special copies of Beedle the Bard produced, given to "those most closely connected to the Harry Potter books". It is inscribed with a personal dedication from Rowling, which says: “To Barry, the man who thought an overlong novel about a boy wizard in glasses might just sell… THANK YOU”.
The auction was held at Sotheby’s, which gave the book a guide price of £300,000-£500,000. The buyer was not revealed by the auction house.
In a catalogue note, Sotheby’s said Cunningham’s Beedle the Bard, a collection of fairy tales first mentioned in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, contains “minor textual differences” from the published version of the book.
Arthur A Levine, publisher of the Harry Potter series in America, was also given a copy of the book, although the other four recipients are unknown. A seventh version, written to be sold at auction to raise money for the Lumos charity, sold for £1.95m at Sotheby’s in 2007.