The Royal Mint has released a special series of coins to celebrate 25 years of the Harry Potter series, with the first novel released in 1997.
First instalment Harry Potter and the Philospher’s Stone was released on June 26, with the wizarding novels going on to become a cultural phenomenon.
The first two coins in the collection will feature the portrait of the late Queen Elizabeth II, and the final two coins in the series will feature the official portrait of King Charles III.
Written by JK (Joanne Kathleen) Rowling, the series was conceived by the author on a train from Manchester to London, which was the inspiration for the fictional Platform 9¾ the characters depart from to attend the wizard school, Hogwarts.
The novels concern the titular orphan boy, who discovers he possesses magical powers and is the only person who can defeat the evil Lord Voldemort, who killed his parents in cold blood.
Set in an unplottable castle in Scotland, the seven books tell the story of Harry, along with best friends Ron & Hermoine, as they progress through their adolesence with all the growing pains that entails.
Philosopher’s Stone was written largely in Edinburgh, much of it in Nicolson’s Cafe on College street.
Rowling said: “They were pretty tolerant of me partly because one of the owners is my brother-in-law. And I used to say to them ‘Well you know when it gets published I’ll try and get you loads of publicity’ and it was all just a big Joke.
“No-one ever dreamt for a moment that was going to happen.”
The Elephant House cafe on George IV Bridge has dubbed itself ‘the birthplace of Harry Potter’ though Rowling herself made clear that the writing began in a flat in London.
However, she confirmed that she did indeed write parts of the series in the cafe.
After being rejected by multiple publishers the manuscript for Philosopher’s Stone was picked up by Bloomsbury, and an £8,000 grant from the Scottish Arts Council allowed Rowling to plan the sequels.
The Harry Potter series would go on to become one of the most valuable multimedia franchises in the world.
Though the first book had an initial print run of just 500 copies it soon gained traction by word of mouth, with an early review in the Herald stating “I have yet to find a child who can put it down”.
By March of 1999, less than two years after its release, it had sold more than 300,000 copies.
Its follow-up, Chamber of Secrets went straight to number one on the UK bestseller list.
In the same year third book Prisoner of Azkaban was released Rowling sold the film rights to the first four instalments to Warner Bros. for around £1m – just as Pottermania was about to take off.
Fourth instalment Goblet of Fire was released with an initial print run of close to four million, with its author travelling the country on a special train designed to look like the Hogwarts Express to sign copies for excited fans.
Things were ramped up even further for Order of the Phoenix which saw hundreds of fans queue up outside bookstores at midnight to secure their copies.
It broke pre-order records and sold five million copies in its first 24 hours, with the final two books in the series selling nine and 11 million in their first day of release respectively.
Altogether the novels have sold more than 500 million copies around the world, and the franchise as a whole is one of the most successful in history.
A film series based on Rowling’s books took $7.7bn at the global box office, making household names of Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson.
A number of video games based on Harry Potter have also achieved commercial success and a new game based on the series, Hogwarts Legacy, will be released in February next year.
Rowling has produced a number of other works set in the Harry Potter universe including stage play The Cursed Child, which has run in London’s West End since 2016.
A spin-off film series Fantastic Beasts & Where To Find Them, based on a magi-zoological textbook in the novels has had three entries so far to mixed reviews.
Pottermania has even extended to the worlds of academia and sports.
In 2010 Durham University offered a course focused on the world of the novels, while Quidditch – the sport of the wizarding world played on broomsticks – has several official leagues around the world.