Rare “Harry Potter” Books

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Have you ever wondered how to tell if your Harry Potter book is rare and worth a lot of money? Well, this section on MuggleNet will explain all the intricacies associated with the rare Harry Potter books, from the first editions to the misprints and covers associated with each. We will also tell you what to look for when reviewing a signed Harry Potter book from the author, J.K. Rowling. Books that are signed by the stars of the film franchise really add no to very little value to the book.

 

Which Harry Potter book is the “Holy Grail” of them all?

If you guessed a first-edition Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone that was published by Bloomsbury on June 30, 1997, then you are correct. That particular book is exceptionally valuable to the tune of somewhere between $30,000 and $55,000 as there were just 500 original printings. Journalist Nick Reynolds of the Daily Telegraph newspaper interviewed a new children’s author by the name of Joanne Rowling about a children’s book shortly after Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was released in the UK. Immediately after interviewing the new author, Mr. Reynolds went back to his office, skimmed through the new book, and tossed it into the trash. Imagine how he feels today!

Use the below-listed tabs on the books and find out if your book is rare or valuable.

Source of information: Abe Books, First Edition Books, eBay

The Basics

The book's PRINT NUMBER is the most valuable key for identifying a collectible book. Everyone who is thinking about collecting books should know how to interpret this number. It is found at the bottom of the publisher's page, which located just before the title page in most books. The first set of numbers in the line indicate 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 (First Edition/First Printing) 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.

 

 


The US Trade Editions

One of the easiest sets to collect are the US trade editions. By "trade edition," we mean those books which were meant for mass distribution in the US. This also refers to the books which include the "First Edition" denotation on the publisher's page (the page with all the printing information and numbers).

First, let's discuss the hardback books. The first thing you should know about the US books is that as of this point in time they ALL say "First Edition" on the publisher's (or copyright) page facing the title page. Additionally, the US printed more books in each run than did the UK. Therefore, just about the only editions with any financial value are first printings and signed editions. [The exception to this is Sorcerer's Stone, which had a small initial print run of 30,000. First printings are worth from $500 to $2,500, and early printings of this book do have some value (starting at about $50).]

The really nice thing about the US editions is that you can collect a fine set of books which includes an early print of Sorcerer's Stone and 1/1 copies of all the other books for about $350, if you shop carefully. Although their value should increase, they will probably never be tremendously valuable. There were simply too many printed. However, they are affordable and make a wonderful gift for yourself or a special Harry Potter fan. You can own or give a piece of literary history without making a huge investment.

Please take a moment to note that any US hardback Harry Potter book which has only blackboards and NO diamond imprint ("boards" are composed of the front and back hardcovers and spine) is a BOOK CLUB COPY – and nowhere near as valuable as those books with the appropriate two-color, diamond pattern boards. Similarly, any US dustjacket which does NOT have raised foil covering the "Harry Potter" section of the book title belongs to a BOOK CLUB book.

Sorcerer's Stone and Chamber of Secrets were the only US editions to have multiple states in the first printing. Sorcerer's Stone has TWO states of the 1/1. The very first books printed had a review from a British publication, The Guardian, on the back of the dust jacket. Although there are other differences, this quote alone will distinguish the first state. The second state has a review from an American publication, Publisher's Weekly. The book behind either of these dust jackets would NOT have the number 1 on its spine. If it does have the number 1 present, someone has put a newer book inside and older dust jacket. The first state is considerably more valuable than the second state. The first state in fine condition routinely costs well over $1,500. The second state in similar condition costs $500 and up. The US Chamber of Secrets had THREE states of the 1/1. The first state has NO number 2 on the spine NOR the dust jacket. The second state introduces the number 2 on the dust jacket and spine, and the third state shows a price increase from $17.95 to $19.95 on the jacket. Always check both book and dust jacket! You may find that someone has placed the dust jacket from a valuable book around one which is not worth as much. The first state of this book is far more collectible than either of the other states.

According to the back of the Advanced Reader's Copy of Sorcerer's Stone, there were a total of only 30,000 1/1 copies printed. We have no information on how many were in each state, but the first state is more desirable and seems to be much rarer. There were a total of 250,000 1/1 copies of Chamber of Secrets printed. We have no information on how many were in each state, but once again the first state is far more desirable. There were 500,000 1/1 copies of Prisoner of Azkaban, 1,000,000 1/1 copies of Goblet of Fire, and over 6,000,000 1/1 copies of Order of the Phoenix.

Now, a few quick comments on the US softcover books. There are now several editions of the softcover books out. The first edition has Mary GrandPré's artwork on the cover and is oversized, for children. They do not currently have any extraordinary value other than providing the pleasure of owning a set of 1/1 Harry Potter books. You can usually obtain a full set of 1/1 paperback editions for less than $150, if you shop carefully.

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The UK Trade Editions

If your thirst for collecting is not quenched by the US editions, there are many countries which publish their own editions of the Harry Potter books (Canada, Australia, Spain, Japan, Russia, Wales, etc.). However, unsurprisingly, the crown jewels reside in the UK. These books are more expensive than their US counterparts. Not only are they from "the country of origin," but they are also far more rare than their US cousins. Consequently, the early UK editions are very expensive. 1/1 copies of the first three books may cost anywhere from $800 to well over $15,000 (in the case of the ultra-rare Philosopher's Stone). However, Goblet of Fire and Order of the Phoenix may be found for $50 and $35, respectively. There are also "Children" and "Adult" copies of these books. The covers are the only difference, and the Children's copies are generally more collectible. For that reason, we will discuss them below.

The UK version of a "book club edition" is the "Ted Smart Edition." Although these books do have some value, they are not nearly as valuable as the true trade editions. They are identified on the publisher's page thus, "Printed for The Book People." Also, the dust jacket of a "Ted Smart Edition" may have ordering information on the back cover. Likewise, the "Large Print Editions" were printed for libraries and are not nearly as valuable as the trade editions. Many sellers sell Ted Smart and Large Print Editions without clearly identifying them as the less valuable volumes, so make certain you get clarification from them if you have any questions whatsoever. They are easily spotted, as the words "Large Print Edition" appear in the black band located on the bottom of the cover. Exercise caution when purchasing and make certain you are getting the edition you want.

Unlike the US trade editions, there is currently only one UK trade edition which has multiple states. Prisoner of Azkaban 1/1 has THREE states. The first state listed the copyright to Joanne Rowling, rather than J.K. Rowling. There is also dropped text in this state, but the copyright alone will indicate it is a first state. The second state corrects the copyright to J.K. Rowling, lists Clays St. Ives as the printer, and has no ads in the rear. The third state does not mention a printer and has ads at the rear of the book. There is a VAST difference in the value between these states. In fine condition, the first state routinely costs over $1,500. The second and third state in similar condition bring $150 to $500.

The 1/1 Goblet of Fire is often advertised as a first state and errors within the pages are quoted. (For example, "James exits Harry's wand first, followed by Lily.") Actually, these errors existed throughout the entire first printing and there is only one state of this book.

Philosopher's Stone 1/1 is VERY rare. There were 200 softcover and 300 hardback books printed at the same time. They are very expensive ($4,000 and up depending on condition). They were issued without a dust jacket. Early printings may be obtained for $400 and up depending on condition and print number. The third printing was historically significant as the first printing which included a dust jacket. To the best of our knowledge, there were 10,150 1/1 copies of Chamber of Secrets, 10,000 1/1 copies of Prisoner of Azkaban (500 of those were first state), and 1,000,000 1/1 copies of Goblet of Fire. About 1/3 of the UK Goblet of Fire books were printed at Omnia Books in Scotland. The remainder were printed by Clays of London which is the printer of for all other UK editions. The Omnia copies may be a bit more valuable since there are fewer of them. We have not confirmed information on the number of copies in the two 1/1 versions of the UK trade Order of the Phoenix, but can safely say it was over 1,000,000 copies. The same is true if the number of copies in the two 1/1 versions of the UK trade Half-Blood Prince.

Collecting 1/1 copies of the UK paperbacks makes a nice alternative to their very expensive hardback cousins. There are now several editions of the softcover books out. The first editions were printed in 1997 through 2003 and are the most collectible. They cost between $20 and $200 each, with the early books being the most expensive. The 1/1 softcover Philosopher's Stone is beyond reach for most of us. It was released concurrently with the hardback edition and only 200 copies were in the first printing. However, with careful shopping, a good early edition may be purchased for $500-$3,000, depending on condition.

Another great option for the collector who wants to own first-edition UK books is purchasing ex-library copies. These are books that once resided in libraries or school libraries in the UK. After leaving service, they are sold in library sales or removed while libraries are being updated. They are usually a bit beat up, but they are quite affordable and appear on eBay occasionally. A MuggleNet staff member was able to purchase two UK paperbacks, an early Philosopher’s Stone and a first-printing Chamber of Secrets with JKR’s signature, from a gentleman who helped clean out a school library for $200. They came with stickers on them that certify them to be “Signed by the Author.” Many early UK Potter books went to libraries. It is part of the history of Harry Potter. So if you are looking for affordable, collectible books, take a look at ex-library books and see if they are for you. Make sure you also look for the stamp that says the book was properly withdrawn from circulation.

Celebratory Editions (which have been released with each movie) have foil stars on their covers. They are less valuable, but do make a nice set. You should be able to find them for about $10.00 each. The second editions were all published in 2004 and feature new cover designs. You should be able to pick up the complete set of 1/1 books for $50 to $80. The first-edition trade softcovers do hold more value than their US counterparts, as there were far fewer printed. The celebratory and second editions do not currently have any extraordinary value other than providing the pleasure of owning a set of 1/1's.

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Collector's and Deluxe Editions

There are collector's editions of all the Harry Potter books available in both the US and the UK.

The UK Deluxe Editions are quite lovely and make wonderful, reasonably priced gifts for fans. They are bound in cloth boards with the cover from the UK book in the center of the front cover. They also feature J.K. Rowling's signature in gold, gild-edged pages, and a sewn-in silk bookmark. The 1/1 copies of these books are quite rare and are priced from $65 to $1,500. Prisoner of Azkaban is especially rare and is usually priced between $1,500 and $2,000. There were only 7,000 copies printed. There were 12,000 copies of the 1/1 Philosopher's Stone and 17,000 of the 1/1 Chamber of Secrets printed. As with the trade editions, there were significantly more 1/1 copies of Goblet of Fire (30,000 to 35,000) and Order of the Phoenix printed, making them significantly less valuable. The term "First Edition" is used on the publisher's page of both Goblet of Fire and Order of the Phoenix to indicate a true first edition. Misinformation on these print numbers was widely disseminated among booksellers. It incorrectly identified these books as more rare than they actually are. Please make sure you are aware that the higher numbers listed here come from the publisher, Bloomsbury Books, and should be accurate.

Later impressions generally reach £10.

 

Deluxe Edition

 

The US collector's editions are of slightly lower quality than their UK versions. Sorcerer's Stone and Chamber of Secrets are made of pressed leather. Sorcerer's Stone does have a great drawing of Harry by J.K. Rowling in the front of the book. There were 100,000 copies of each printed, with no second printing. Although there were rumors that Scholastic planned on printing Prisoner of Azkaban and Goblet of Fire in successive Novembers, there has been no indication that they are following through on that plan. Additionally, the US Deluxe Edition of Order of the Phoenix does not look like the collector's editions. It is not leather-bound but has a special dust jacket with more GrandPré artwork on it (depicting Grimmauld Place) and comes housed in a nice slipcase.

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Proofs and Advanced Reading Copies (ARCs)

Proofs were released to editors and reviewers in the UK prior to publication of the first three Harry Potter books. They contain numerous errors which were remedied before the first printing and feature release information on the rear cover. These proofs were very limited in number (approximately 50 to 200 copies), and many were damaged or thrown away. Therefore, they are quite rare and quite valuable. A Proof Copy of Philosopher's Stone in good condition will generally cost over $6,000. Chamber of Secrets will cost over $3,000, as will Prisoner of Azkaban. These books have soft covers, but only Chamber of Secrets featured a proof dust jacket wrapped around it.

 

Proof Copy

 

The US equivalent of proofs are ARCs. They were also printed prior to the first three books. There were between 3,000 and 5,000 of each printed, making them far more rare than any US trade edition. They generally cost between $200 and $1,000 each, depending on title and condition.

 

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone ARC

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Harry Potter and the Philosopher‘s Stone - The Holy Grail

Background

Philosopher's Stone Front Cover - First Edition

 

Hardcover first edition first printings of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone have become the "Holy Grail" for Potter collectors. Only 500 were published, 300 of which were issued to libraries. Though they were issued simultaneously and have few differences between them, the hardcover edition is more rare and desirable than its paperback counterpart.

These days, a true first edition of the book will sell for £1,500 even if in poor condition, and can rise close to £10,000 if signed and pristine. Second editions can reach over £150, and third editions can still achieve in excess of £50. A small number of advance proof copies exist, priced from $7,500 to $13,500. Prices for Australian first editions vary from $200 to $2000. The first editions of the deluxe edition from 1999 are also desirable with prices from $450 to $2,500. Paperback first editions of Philosopher's Stone are also quite scarce and can attract four-figure price-tags – sometimes close to five figures if in excellent condition.

Want to know if your copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone is valuable? Check out The Potter Collector's tips for identifying first edition copies in "Do Judge a Book by its Cover" by Peter Kenneth.

 

Look-Alikes

The “Holy Grail” first edition is, at first glance, similar to the first Australian edition, also published by Bloomsbury. However, the Australian edition lacks the Wendy Cooling quote on the front cover, and unlike its counterpart was issued with a dust jacket.

The first Canadian edition, published by Raincoast Books in Vancouver, also looks similar to the UK edition. There are several small differences that set the two apart, including a different quote on the cover and the name of the publisher on the spine.

The Large Print Edition published by Bloomsbury in 2001 is also easily mistaken for the true first, but the text "Large Print Edition" appears in place of the Cooling quote, and the copyright page clearly states: "This edition first published in Great Britain in 2001."

The 1998 Ted Smart edition can also be mistaken for the true first edition, but it lacks the quote on the cover, is clearly labeled with "Ted Smart" on the spine, and the copyright page includes this statement: "This edition produced for The Book People Ltd 1998 ". A first edition of this book can value up to £300, and a second edition up to £30. Still a good amount, but a far cry from what the true firsts can achieve..

 

Ted Smart Edition

 

The trickiest book to distinguish from a first edition of Philosopher’s Stone is the Celebratory edition, (seen left, below, as compared to the true first edition). While this book is often mistakenly described as a first edition, the truth is that is likely only a first edition of this specific type, printed a whole three years after the original. Even in good condition, such a copy is worth a maximum of £20.

 

 

Be aware that the title page may appear the same for all four versions of first editions - the Celebratory, the Ted Smart, and the True first - and be careful when buying anything that claims to be a "first edition".

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer‘s Stone

 

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone Book Cover

 

Published in 1998, the US version of Philosopher's Stone was retitled. Prices for first-edition first printings go up to around $6,500 with a fair selection between $4,000 and $5,000 – many signed by the author – although cheaper copies can be found. US first editions will have the number line of "1 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2 8 9/9 0/0 01 02," on the copyright page along with "Printed in the U.S.A.23" and "First American edition, October 1998". Prices for later editions in good condition are in three figures.

Boards are purple with an embossed diamond pattern, and a red cloth spine. The dust jacket has a $16.95 price on the upper corner of the front flap. The dust jacket back has a cream/light yellow bar code field with two bar codes in it, and the smaller bar code says "51695". The dust jacket back also has a single quote from the Guardian saying "Harry Potter could assume the near-legendary status of Ronald Dahl's Charlie, of chocolate factory fame." Later issue dust jackets have a substitute quote from Publishers Weekly. The top spine of both the book and the dust jacket lists "J.K. ROWLING" and lacks the "YEAR 1" badge, and the gold lettering is raised on the spine of the dust jacket.

Note: There are book club editions that have the same full number line as the true first US edition. But they lack the embossed diamond pattern on the book boards. A book club edition is far less valuable than the true first US edition.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

 

 

The copyright page has the full number line "10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 9/9 0/0 1 2 3 4". Below the number line is "Printed in the U.S.A. 37", and below that is "First American edition, June 1999." Boards are blue with an embossed diamond pattern, and a green cloth spine. The dust jacket has $17.95 price on the upper corner of the front flap. The dust jacket back has a diagonal bar code field on the left side, and the small bar code within has the number "51795". The spine on both the book and dust jacket lack the YEAR 2 badge that was introduced later, and silver lettering is raised on the spine of the dust jacket.

With the early printings there are two states of the binding that have been found on the first through the sixth printings. The first state binding lacks the YEAR 2 badge on the spine, while the second state binding has the YEAR 2 badge. There are also three states of the dust jacket that can be found on the same early printing books. The first state lacks the YEAR 2 badge and has a price of $17.95. The second state has the YEAR 2 badge with the $17.95 price. The third state has the YEAR 2 badge and a price of $19.95. The presence of these states suggests that earlier bindings and jackets were used with the pages from later printings during the production process. The most desirable book is the first printing with the first state binding in the first state dust jacket.

Note: There are book club editions that have the same full number line as the true first US edition. But they lack the embossed diamond pattern on the book boards. A book club edition is far less valuable than the true first US edition.

Published in 1998, prices for hardcover first-edition first printings go up to $9,000. In 1998, J.K. Rowling was still a jobbing author rather than a worldwide superstar richer than the Queen, so there are a reasonable number of signed first editions available from her book tour signings. Deluxe editions can be priced in four figures if signed. Scholastic's American first editions are generally priced in three figures but look out for signed copies. First Australian editions are available from $300 to $600 but Canadian firsts are cheaply priced.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban


UK Edition

 

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban Book Cover - UK

 

"First published in Great Britain in 1999" is stated on the copyright page with full number line "10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1" and the printer stated as "Clays Ltd, St Ives plc". The true first edition has "Joanne Rowling" on the copyright page and dropped text on page 7 (see photo). The boards are illustrated to match the dust jacket. The dust jacket has a price of £10.99 on the bottom corner of the front flap. There is a second state of the first edition that corrects the dropped text on page 7, and states "J.K. Rowling" on the copyright page. There is also a third state of the first edition that has the same changes as the second state, but the printer statement is removed on the copyright page and there are two pages of black and white advertisements in the rear of the book for the previous two books in the Harry Potter series.

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US Edition

 

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban Book Cover - US

 

The initial hardcover print run was stopped mid-printing after it was discovered that "Joanne Rowling" rather than "J.K. Rowling" had been printed on the copyright page. Joanne versions are available for prices starting at around $1,500 and go up to $12,000 for signed pristine copies. First-edition first printings will have the number line 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 and a block of misaligned text on page seven (See image below).

Opinions about the number of copies printed before the errors were spotted vary greatly – however, it seems that only a small number came off the press which greatly enhances its value. The deluxe editions, with green cloth, of 1999 are also collectible if they are a first edition (prices go up to $5,000). However second printings can be picked up for three figures.

Boards are aquamarine with an embossed diamond pattern, and a purple cloth spine. The dust jacket has a $19.95 price on the upper corner of the front flap. The dust jacket back has a red bar code field on the bottom right side, and a blurb on the top that says "Sequel to the #1 New York Times Bestseller HARRY POTTER AND THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS". The first printing has a YEAR 3 badge on the upper spine of both the book and the dust jacket. This is the first novel in the Harry Potter series to carry the badge when first issued.

Look out for Canadian first editions, published by Raincoast, for between $100 and $300. First American editions vary from $150 to $700 for a signed copy.

 

Prisoner of Azkaban Page 7 text

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Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire


UK Edition

 

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire Book Cover - UK

 

"First published in Great Britain in 2000" is stated on the copyright page toward the top, and "First Edition" is stated near the bottom. The boards are illustrated to match the dust jacket. A portion of the first edition was printed by Omnia, and the rest was printed by Clays. There is no priority of printers, however there seems to be less Omnia editions in the market.

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US Edition

 

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire Book Cover - US

 

The copyright page has the full number line "10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0/0 01 02 03 04". Below the number line is "Printed in the U.S.A." with one of several possible printing plant codes including "37","23", "12", and probably others. Below that is "First American edition, July 2000." Boards are rust red with an embossed diamond pattern, and a black cloth spine with gold lettering. The dust jacket has $25.95 price on the upper corner of the front flap. The dust jacket back has a red bar code field on the bottom right side, and a blurb on the top that says "Sequel to the #1 New York Time Bestseller HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN". The first printing has a YEAR 4 badge on the upper spine of both the book and the dust jacket. This is the second novel in the Harry Potter series to carry the badge when first issued.

More about the number to the right of "Printed in U.S.A": This is the printing plant number, and it signifies the printing press where the American editions were produced. The first three books in the series seem to have come out of a single printing plant. But Goblet of Fire and the subsequent books in the series had such large first printings that the job was split up between several plants throughout the US and even in Mexico. Also, printing in multiple plants all over the country allows the publisher to distribute the books faster. So far one number doesn't seem more valuable than another for these later series books. One school of thought is that the press runs were so large for Goblet of Fire, Order of the Phoenix, Half-Blood Prince, and Deathly Hallows that they will never be scarce - so nobody is paying much attention to where it was printed. Another thought is the possibility that one printing press may have produced very few books, and that fact could make one printing plant number more collectible and more valuable than another. But so far we see no evidence that this happened.

JK's signature (by book 4, she was signing fewer copies) turns any first edition of Goblet of Fire into a book with a four-figure price-tag but there are a handful of copies over $10,000. Look out for the limited editions with original watercolor illustrations by Giles Greenfield (Bloomsbury's UK edition) and Mary GrandPré (Scholastic's super rare US edition of only 25 copies). If either illustrator has signed a copy, then prices are again in four-figures. Many buyers are also looking for books accompanied by items such as entrance wristbands or golden tickets from events where J.K. Rowling has conducted a signing. After Goblet of Fire, these signing events have become increasingly scarce.

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Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix


UK Edition

 

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix Book Cover - UK

 

The first edition of this book was published by Bloomsbury in 2003. It was 766 pages long, and the original retail price was £16.99. The first edition identification criteria are as follows: "First published in Great Britain in 2003" is stated on the copyright page toward the top, and "First edition" is stated near the bottom. The boards are illustrated to match the dust jacket.

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US Edition

 

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix Book Cover - US

 

The copyright page has the full number line "10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 03 04 05 06 07". Below the number line is "Printed in the U.S.A." with one of several possible printing plant codes - "55","56", "57", or "58". There are also first printings that say "Printed in Mexico. 59". The first printing was so large that it was likely printed simultaneously in multiple printing plants. Below that is "First American edition, July 2003."

Boards are blue with an embossed diamond pattern, and a gray cloth spine with metallic blue lettering. The dust jacket has $29.99 price on the upper corner of the front flap. The dust jacket back has a reddish bar code field on the left side, and the small bar code within has the number "52999". The spine on both the book and dust jacket have the YEAR 5 badge.

More about the number to the right of "Printed in U.S.A": This is the printing plant number, and it signifies the printing press where the American editions were produced. The first three books in the series seem to have come out of a single printing plant. But Goblet of Fire and the subsequent books in the series had such large first printings that the job was split up between several plants throughout the US and even in Mexico. Also, printing in multiple plants all over the country allows the publisher to distribute the books faster. So far one number doesn't seem more valuable than another for these later series books. One school of thought is that the press runs were so large for Goblet of Fire, Order of the Phoenix, Half-Blood Prince, and Deathly Hallows that they will never be scarce - so nobody is paying much attention to where it was printed. Another thought is the possibility that one printing press may have produced very few books, and that fact could make one printing plant number more collectible and more valuable than another. But so far we see no evidence that this happened.

Look out for first-edition copies signed by J.K. Rowling at the midnight launch event in Edinburgh on 2003 that are going to be priced in four figures. Jason Cockroft illustrated the UK edition while Mary GrandPré illustrated the US version – their signatures enhance a book's value but such copies can be found for as little as $200.

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Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince


UK Edition

 

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince Book Cover - UK

 

The first edition of this widely read book was published by Bloomsbury in 2005. It was 607 pages long, and the original retail price was £16.99. The first edition identification criteria are as follows: "First published in Great Britain in 2005" is stated on the copyright page toward the top, and "First Edition" is stated near the bottom. The boards are illustrated to match the dust jacket.

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US Edition

 

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince Book Cover - US

 

The copyright page has the full number line "10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 05 06 07 08 09". Below the number line is "Printed in the U.S.A." with one of several possible printing plant codes including "58","23", "12", and probably others. Below that is "First American edition, July 2005." Boards are purple with an embossed diamond pattern, and a black cloth spine with metallic purple lettering. The dust jacket has $29.99 price on the upper corner of the front flap. The dust jacket back has an orange bar code field on the right side, and the small bar code within has the number "52999". The spine on both the book and dust jacket have the YEAR 6 badge.

More about the number to the right of "Printed in U.S.A": This is the printing plant number, and it signifies the printing press where the American editions were produced. The first three books in the series seem to have come out of a single printing plant. But Goblet of Fire and the subsequent books in the series had such large first printings that the job was split up between several plants throughout the US and even in Mexico. Also, printing in multiple plants all over the country allows the publisher to distribute the books faster. So far one number doesn't seem more valuable than another for these later series books. One school of thought is that the press runs were so large for Goblet of Fire, Order of the Phoenix, Half-Blood Prince, and Deathly Hallows that they will never be scarce - so nobody is paying much attention to where it was printed. Another thought is the possibility that one printing press may have produced very few books, and that fact could make one printing plant number more collectible and more valuable than another. But so far we see no evidence that this happened.

Published in July 2005 to widespread Pottermania, JK's days of book tours were long gone so very few signed copies are on the market. A handful are available for prices up to $5,000. Copies signed by illustrator Mary GrandPré can be found for $250 or less. Deluxe first-edition first printings can be picked up cheaply.

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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows


UK Edition

 

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Book Cover - UK

 

The first edition of this recent J.K. Rowling book was published by Bloomsbury in 2007. It was 607 pages long, and the original retail price was £17.99. The first edition can be identified by the following criteria: "First published in Great Britain in 2007 by Bloomsbury Publishing Plc" is stated on the copyright page toward the top, and "First Edition" is stated near the bottom. The boards are illustrated to match the dust jacket.

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US Edition

 

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Book Cover - US

 

The copyright page has the full number line "10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 07 08 09 10 11". Below the number line is "Printed in the U.S.A." with one of several possible printing plant codes including "55","12", and probably others. Below that is "First edition, July 2007." Below that, some first printings have a statement saying that the paper used in the book is from mixed sources. Boards are green with an embossed diamond pattern, and a yellow cloth spine with metallic red lettering. The dust jacket has $34.99 price on the upper corner of the front flap. The dust jacket back has an orange bar code field on the left side, and the small bar code within has the number "53499". The spine on both the book and dust jacket have the YEAR 7 badge.

More about the number to the right of "Printed in U.S.A": This is the printing plant number, and it signifies the printing press where the American editions were produced. The first three books in the series seem to have come out of a single printing plant. But Goblet of Fire and the subsequent books in the series had such large first printings that the job was split up between several plants throughout the US and even in Mexico. Also, printing in multiple plants all over the country allows the publisher to distribute the books faster. So far one number doesn't seem more valuable than another for these later series books. One school of thought is that the press runs were so large for Goblet of Fire, Order of the Phoenix, Half-Blood Prince, and Deathly Hallows that they will never be scarce - so nobody is paying much attention to where it was printed. Another thought is the possibility that one printing press may have produced very few books, and that fact could make one printing plant number more collectible and more valuable than another. But so far we see no evidence that this happened.

Published on July 21, 2007, with over 11 million copies sold in the first 24 hours alone, the market was absolutely flooded with the finale of the series making most of them lacking in value. However, J.K. Rowling did perform a large release party and signed many books from that event. The books were specially market for authenticity and these do have higher value. A handful are available for prices up to $5,000. Copies signed by illustrator Mary GrandPré can be found for $250 or less. Deluxe first-edition first printings can be picked up cheaply.

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The Hogwarts Library

Comic Relief "Textbooks"

J.K. Rowling wrote two small "textbooks" for Comic Relief. They are Quidditch Through the Ages and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. They are available in US and UK editions, and even in a "book bag" edition. The 1/1 editions are available for about $10-$15 each. They are not terribly collectible but are lots of fun to read.

Tales of Beedle the Bard

Please note there were very few copies of Tales of Beetle the Bard signed in Edinburgh in early December 2008. Of these, almost all the signed books had holographic stickers applied to them. To protect your collection and investment, you should look for a sticker when purchasing a signed copy of The Tales of Beedle the Bard.

Signed Books

You should be very careful when you set out to purchase signed books. If you have limited experience, seek help so that you can purchase a real treasure you will be happy with for years to come.

Since the 7/21/2007 launch of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, EVERY book signed by J.K. Rowling at special and signing events have included a holographic sticker to authenticate the signature. The sticker is VITAL to proving the authenticity of your signed book, so please make sure any books supposedly signed since then include a holographic sticker. Each sticker has been a little different.

As for any signed books that are signed by the cast members of the film franchise, it really adds no monetary value to the book itself. The only value is in sentimental value. The cast has been signing books at Premiere's and other events over the years, so these are not rare autographs in nature. When purchasing a book that has been signed by the cast, be sure to authenticate the signature to ensure it is not a fake. As stated with any J.K. Rowling signature, be sure to do your research before purchasing so that you can have a real treasure.

Infographic Guide to Rare Books

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Harry Potter Graphic Guide