Signed first edition of “Prisoner of Azkaban” sells for $6,749 – How much are YOUR books worth?

Every fan of the Harry Potter series knows that all of the books have sentimental value: Their pages have been read and reread for many years, and a cover might be missing here or there. Some Harry Potter books, however, also have serious monetary value as collector’s items. Our affiliate AbeBooks recently put out an article detailing their most expensive rare book sales for the month of September. Coming in fourth on that list was a first edition copy of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban that had been signed by none other than J.K. Rowling herself. The final selling price for the book was $6,479 – even more than a 1532 folio of the works of Plato! With a price tag like that, you might be wondering just how much YOUR Harry Potter books are worth, right?

As a look at the “Rare Books” section of the site will tell you, the most important thing to consider in determining the value of your books is going to be the print number. It’s found at the bottom of the publisher’s page, which is generally located right before the title page. Here’s a quick guide to deciphering the print number:

The first set of numbers in the line indicate[s] the print number for that particular book, which is indicated by the lowest number in the set. The second set of numbers indicates what year the book was published, once again indicated by the lowest number in the set. Therefore, the number line

10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0/0 01 02 03

indicates a FIRST PRINTING printed in 2000. (This would be found in a 1/1 [[f]first [e]dition/[f]irst [p]rinting[]] US Goblet of Fire, for example.) The UK editions of Goblet of Fire and Order of the Phoenix use the term “FIRST EDITION” on the publisher’s page to denote 1/1 copies.

There is also a condition known as a state, whereby something about the book or dust jacket was changed during a print run. In order to be a TRUE FIRST EDITION, a book must be FIRST EDITION/FIRST PRINTING and (if applicable) FIRST STATE.

From there, you can check out the additional information for each specific book in the series in determining if your book might be, indeed, of value as a first edition.

As the “Rare Books” page notes, buyers should be extremely careful in purchasing signed books. Since the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in 2007, EVERY book signed by J.K. Rowling at special signing events has included a holographic sticker of authenticity; that’s the only way to ensure that the signature you’re getting is genuine!

If you have a book signed by cast or crew members of the Harry Potter film franchise, the only value added to the book is sentimental value. Because the cast has often signed books at premieres, these autographs are not considered “rare,” but you should still do your research to ensure the authenticity of the signature before making a purchase.

If you’re curious as to the value of your Harry Potter books, you can read the full guide on MuggleNet’s “Rare Books” page here. For the full list of the most expensive rare book sales on AbeBooks, you can click here.

Do you collect rare editions of the Harry Potter books? Are you surprised by the worth of any of the books in your possession? Would you sell your Harry Potter books if you found out that they were worth thousands? Be sure to tell us in the comments!

Mary W.

I am a Slytherin, a lifelong fan of Harry Potter, and a member of MuggleNet staff since 2014. In my Muggle life, I am passionate about human rights, and I love to travel around the world and meet new people.