Tuesday 16 July 2019

You’re a wizard, Harry! A first-edition Harry Potter book could sell for over €33,000 at auction

First editions of JK Rowling’s first Harry Potter novel are much sought-after by collectors (Yui Mok/PA)
First editions of JK Rowling’s first Harry Potter novel are much sought-after by collectors (Yui Mok/PA)
Signed first editions of JK Rowling’s Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone pictured in Christie’s auction house (Cathal McNaughton/PA)

Gabija Gataveckaite

A first-edition Harry Potter book could snag over €33,000 at auction later this month.

Bought for just £1 at a table top sale, the first-edition copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, published in 1997, is a lucky discovery for an avid reader in the UK.

Having bought it among many other titles for a read on holiday 20 years ago, it was only when the owner decided to get some books valued that they realised they were in the possession of something magic.

“I bought the book along with three or four others to read on holiday about 20 years ago. I thought nothing of it at the time,” said the office worker (54), who did not wish to be named.

“I decided to get some books valued and invited Jim Spencer over to take a look. It’s so exciting to think that a holiday read could be worth so much now. It might raise more than enough money to buy a nice new bathroom,” the owner added.

Jim Spencer, a book expert at Hansons auctioneers, was able to identify the first edition copy through a series of typographical errors that distinguish the book from its following editions.

“I was called to a client’s house in Staffordshire to value three boxes of books and there it was – the holy grail of Harry Potter books. I was so excited. Every book valuer dreams of finding one of these,” he said.

There were only 500 copies of the first edition published. One copy signed by JK Rowling has previously sold for over €75,000.

“I was slightly caught in disbelief when I first saw it. I receive a few calls every week from people saying they have a first edition Harry Potter, and it can invariably be ruled out in seconds.”

The first editions can be distinguished by two typographical errors- the back page misspells philosophers to ‘philospher’s’ and on page 53, a list of equipment mentions ‘1 wand’ twice. Author JK Rowling’s name also appears as Joanne Rowling.

“It was incredible checking off all those issue points and seeing them for myself, one by one,” said Mr Spencer.

“I’m absolutely delighted for our vendor and I hope the book exceeds all expectations,” he added.

The book will go up for action July 31 at Hansons’ Library Auction in Staffordshire, England.

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