UPDATED: Father Learns Copy of “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” Is Actually Rare First Edition

Imagine leaving a copy of a book on a bookshelf for 21 years, only to discover that it is potentially worth £50,000 (over 64,646 USD). According to Birmingham Live, that’s exactly what happened to one father, a British expatriate, who purchased the book years ago to teach his children English after moving to Luxembourg. The book in question? It’s a first-edition hardback of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, and it’s going up for auction.

The anonymous seller of the book was quoted in the article, and he noted that the book itself has been read only once.

It’s just been sitting on a shelf ever since with the rest of the Harry Potter books, with no special care. It’s actually been read only once, with the date recorded in the back of the book.

Hansons Auctioneers will auction it off on October 13, “with an [estimated value] of £20,000 to £30,000 – but [the book] could fetch £50,000 due to its good condition.” The seller added that, as a Harry Potter fan, he paid tribute to two of the characters in the series when sending it to the auction house.

I sent it to Hansons in a tea towel as a little nod to the Hogwarts house-elves, especially Winky and Dobby.

As mentioned by Birmingham Live, there are multiple ways to tell if your copy is a rare Harry Potter book. If you’re interested in the upcoming auction, you can find out more about it from Hansons Auctioneers.

UPDATE (October 15):

According to BBC News, the winning bid was £60,000. Including the buyer’s premium, it was £75,000. Auctioneer Jim Spencer commented on the price:

I’m absolutely thrilled the book achieved such an outstanding price for our vendor. I hoped it would make £50,000 but to see it sail past that to reach £60,000 was astonishing.

The auction house reported that the winning bid came from “a private international buyer who was bidding by phone,” per the BBC.

Do you own a rare Harry Potter book? Would you sell a valuable book? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!


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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.