Girl Makes Startling “Harry Potter” Discovery at Wimbledon Library
First-edition copies of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone seem to be selling like hotcakes these days. Another copy went up for auction in October and sold for a whopping £57,040, which is about $74,388. It’s no wonder that people are starting to look more closely at their copies of the book. In fact, by looking more closely, an 11-year-old girl made a startling discovery at Wimbledon Library in London, England.
It turns out that 11 isn’t just the age you could potentially receive your Hogwarts letter; it’s also the age at which you could make awesome Harry Potter-related discoveries. Emily Saiban, in true Potter fan fashion, has been watching the YouTube channel SuperCarlinBrothers, which focuses on everything Harry Potter related as well as Star Wars, Marvel, and Pixar. As it turns out, the channel provides some detailed descriptions of what you’ll find in a true first edition of Philosopher’s Stone. Only 500 first editions were ever published, so finding one at random is practically impossible, but miracles still happen.
Saiban unknowingly borrowed a first-edition copy that had been in the Wimbledon Library for 21 years. Surprisingly, the book is still in a stunning condition – it doesn’t have much creasing and only has a scribble from a colored pencil here and there on the blank pages. It’s almost like the people who had it before had a feeling that they were holding thousands of dollars in their hands.
When she took a closer look at the book, Saiban suspected that it might be a first edition and excitedly checked for the telltale signs that would confirm it. She slowly ticked them all off the list.
The first thing I noticed was a younger Dumbledore on the back cover. Then, I looked on page 53 to see if [‘]wand[‘] was listed twice on Harry’s school equipment list. I saw that the numbers on the copyright read ‘10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1’ and the author[‘]s name was indicated as ‘Joanne Rowling’ instead of [‘]JK Rowling[‘].
Saiban also noticed that this edition referred to Hogwarts as the school of “Wizardly and Witchcraft” in the blurb, and the spelling of “Philosophers” was “Philosphers.” We can’t help but feel super proud of the fact that the Potter fandom is so incredibly attentive.
After confirming that the book had to be a first edition, Saiban went back to the library to show the librarian what she had found. The librarian didn’t immediately believe it, but after seeing Saiban pointing out all the evidence, head librarian Paul McDermott realized that she might be right. The library took the book off its shelves to do a forensic analysis, which later confirmed that the copy is indeed a rare first edition.
It’s not yet clear what the library is going to do with the book, but Saiban has received a lot of gratitude for her discovery. Should the library decide to sell the book, it could help increase its funds, which will lead to more books on the shelves. Harry Potter really is the gift that keeps on giving. The book was truly a magical discovery that will hopefully lead to more joy for those who love to visit the library.
What would you have done if you found a first-edition copy by accident? Let us know in the comments.