UPDATED: A £1 “Harry Potter” Purchase Is Now Set to Fetch up to £30,000
UPDATE (August 4):
The rare first-edition copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone sold for £28,500, just under the maximum expected value of £30,000. Hansons Auctioneers saw bids come in from across the world, with the winning bid being placed over the phone by an anonymous buyer. Check out the video below to see the moment the book sold to the highest bidder.
One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, and one Harry Potter buyer has proved it, spending just £1 on a book that is now set to fetch £30,000.
First edition hard copies of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone had a print run of just 500, most of which found their way to schools and libraries, making them a rare find among the millions of later editions that have since been sold. Around 20 years ago at a Staffordshire Library book sale, one lucky buyer spent just £1 on the book, reading it and then putting it away in a cupboard, not unlike the story’s star character.
The owner, a 54-year-old office worker who wished to remain anonymous, decided to invite Jim Spencer, books expert at Hansons Auctioneers, to provide an estimated value for the book.
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.
Spencer, who gave the rare book an estimated value of £20,000–£30,000, said that he often receives calls from hopeful owners who believe they are in possession of a first-edition Harry Potter book. The book, which Spencer calls “a landmark in children’s literature,” was first published by Bloomsbury on June 30, 1997, and its first editions can be identified by two typographical errors that were corrected in later print runs: The back page contains a misspelling of “philosopher’s,” and on page 53, “1 wand” is listed twice. J.K. Rowling’s name also appears as Joanne Rowling.
Ahead of the auction, Spencer commented on what a wonderful experience it has been to find the rare book.
I think Harry Potter must have waved his wand over us. It’s a magical find.
Coincidentally, the rare copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone will go to auction on Harry and author J.K. Rowling’s shared birthday: July 31. The auction will take place at Hansons’ Library Auction, Bishton Hall, Wolseley Bridge, Staffordshire, ST17 0XN.