UPDATED: Super Rare “Harry Potter” Book Is Going Up for Auction

What would a true Potterhead be willing to pay for one of the rarest Harry Potter books in existence? Well, we’re about to find out at the Hansons auction taking place on December 16, when a super rare copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone will find a new home.

The book, which is a special 15th-anniversary edition bound in leather and signed by the author, is set to have a guide price of £5,000–£10,000. There are only 15 of these copies in existence, and the one going under the hammer this December belongs to Chloe Esslemont, who won it at the age of 16 when Bloomsbury ran a Harry Potter competition to celebrate the book’s 15th anniversary. The competition required participants to submit a letter that described why they love the Potter series. Esslemont’s entry focused on the Easter eggs hidden within the story (of which there are many), and she blew the judges away.


Chloe's colorful entry

Source: Hansons


Jim Spencer, a book expert who works at Hansons, says that he’s never seen a book quite like this one.

Technically, this is the rarest Harry Potter book I have ever handled – and I have assessed hundreds. […] The value is completely unknown. I haven’t found another one for sale, or having sold, anywhere. I don’t even think there’s even a picture of one online!

Rare indeed.

Esslemont revealed that she decided to part with the book because it’s been gathering dust in her attic, not to mention that she can do with the money. We don’t think we’d ever be able to part willingly with such a rare copy, but we’re excited to see how much it sells for in the end.


Chloe with her book and drawing

Source: Hansons


If you’re curious about what else will be up for auction or have enough Galleons stashed away to bid on some items yourself, you can check out the online catalog.

Press Release

‘Rarest Harry Potter book ever seen’ - found in loft - could deliver magical result at auction

A Harry Potter-mad teenager won the rarest Potter book ever seen by a books expert - and it could deliver a magical result at auction in December.

In 2012, when Chloe Esslemont was a 16-year-old school girl [sic] at [t]he Nelson Thomlinson School in Wigton, Cumbria, she entered a Harry Potter competition ran [sic] by publishers [sic] Bloomsbury’s [sic].

She had to write a letter explaining in no more than 50 words why she loved Harry Potter. Entrants were encouraged to draw doodle [sic] and make their letters as elaborate as possible - and she pulled out all the stops!

Chloe, now 26, from Kirkbride, near Carlisle, said: “I can’t remember how long it took me to create my entry. My mum worked at a library at the time and told me about the competition. I wrote about how I loved the minutiae of detail in the Potter books [that] became important in later novels.”

Her striking entry states, ‘...insignificant things proving very significant later ... These details colour and enrich Harry's world, making it the series that defines chidhood [sic]’.

Her words and colourful art wooed the judges, and she was chosen as one of 14 runners-up. She won a leather-bound special 15th[-]anniversary edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone - published exclusively for the competition and signed by author J K Rowling.

Now the prize - the rarest Potter book ever seen by Hansons Auctioneers - is set to go under the hammer on December 16 with a guide price of £5,000-£10,000.

Hansons’ [sic] books expert Jim Spencer, who has won global recognition for rare Potter finds, says he has never seen an example like it. And that means it could produce a result worthy of wizardry.

Jim said: “Technically, this is the rarest Harry Potter book I have ever handled - and I have assessed hundreds. The rarest and most valuable Potter book to own is generally regarded as being one of the original 500 hardback copies of Philosopher’s Stone from the first-ever print run in 1997. I have found 18 of those so far, and the highest hammer price achieved to date is £69,000. I've also had lots of paperback first issues, and recent ones have fetched £7,500-8,000.

“But this new find is particularly scarce, as it’s one of only 15 books specially published to mark the 15th anniversary of the Potter phenomenon. I travelled from the Midlands to Cumbria, right on the border of Scotland, to collect it. As soon as the enquiry came through, I was warming the engine to go and see it!

“The value is completely unknown. I haven't found another one for sale, or having sold, anywhere. I don't even think there's even a picture of one online! I'm guiding broadly at £5,000-10,000, but who knows what will happen if two or more people are determined to own it.

“This beautiful book was never released for general sale. It’s dedicated to Chloe and is being sold with her original competition entry, which is stunning. Her exquisitely designed and decorated letter comes in the form of a folding document inspired by the magical Marauder's Map.

“Fans could only enter by submitting their letters through specially-designed [sic] postboxes at participating bookshops and libraries. The overall winner received one of these exclusive books and a family holiday to [t]he Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando Resort. The 14 runners-up received a copy of the book. Chloe’s has been treasured and kept safe and is therefore in fine, unread condition.”

Chloe, a childcare practitioner, said: “I’ve kept the book wrapped up in the attic for years. I got into Harry Potter when I was five. That’s [when I] went to see my first film. I loved it and started reading all the books.

“Everyone was Potter mad when I was at school. I dressed up as Hermione for World Book Day, and my nan knitted me a Gryffindor scarf. I still like the Potter books, but I won this prize 10 years ago; it’s been gathering dust, and the money would be useful now. I am very excited about the auction. I’ll be watching online.”

Jim said: “This book could be the perfect Christmas present for a Potter fan or a book collector looking to invest. It will be fascinating to see how well it does.”

The Harry Potter book will be offered in Hansons’ Library Auction on December 16 at Bishton Hall, Staffordshire.

UPDATE (December 22):

The ultra-rare edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone has been sold for £8,000.


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Marica Laing

Growing up, I was a massive fan of Harry Potter and my love for the stories grew as I got older. It’s no surprise then that I love writing about all things Potter related. When I’m not writing about all the magic, you’ll find me reading (probably something Harry Potter related), listening to music, or writing some songs.