Published On: Wed, Jan 26th, 2022

Harry Potter: Extremely rare original book worth £30,000 | Books | Entertainment


JK Rowling’s first book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is heading to auction this week, with a value of £30,000. This very special edition is one of just 500 hardbacks printed in 1997. The novel is one of the rarest in the world and an absolute gem for collectors and diehard Potterheads. Today, the series is one of the most successful of all time, selling over 500 million copies worldwide across more than 60 different languages. For the few that haven’t read them, they have likely seen the films, with eight made between 2001 and 2011, defining a young generation in the process. In total, the franchise grossed a staggering $7.7 billion combined, cementing itself as one of the biggest of all time.

The original copy is owned by a private collector who bought the book back in 1997. Chiswick Auctions will be overseeing the sale on Thursday, January 27. The whereabouts of most hardback editions are in the hands of schools and libraries, with 300 of the 500 editions being sent out to them across the UK. Now, there are only 200 in private collections.

According to the online marketplace AbeBooks, which specialises in rare volumes, the hardcover first edition of Philosopher’s Stone is credited to “Joanne Rowling” instead of JK. They are also characterised by the print line that reads 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1.

Not only is this rare edition being sold, but the auction house is selling a collection of children’s novels. These include signed copies of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and Newt Scamander: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Both are estimated at selling for £700. The first is the fourth book in the original series and the second is the inspiration for the Fantastic Beasts prequel films starring Eddie Redmayne.

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It isn’t just children’s books that are part of the auction, as US author Paul Gallico’s bibliography is also part of the haul. He is best known for his novels The Snow Goose and The Poseidon Adventure. The writer has been acknowledged as having inspired Rowling’s fictional creatures Boggarts.

His 1968 book, Manxmouse, featured creatures named Clutterbumps that turn into whatever the viewer feared the most. This is strikingly similar to Boggarts, which also have that ability.

Gallico isn’t just accepted as having inspired Rowling, as the author was also close friends with Ian Fleming, the author of the James Bond books. So, it could be argued that Gallico helped galvanise what would go to be an internationally successful franchise thanks to their friendship.

Head of rare books at Chiswick Auctions, Clive Moss, said: “The collection is a tangible reminder of a writer whose presence and works continue to [entertain and inspire] us so many years after his death. This is a fabulous opportunity to be part of the continuing story that was and is, Paul Gallico – a supreme writer and talent with an enduring quality that never fails to entice and capture our attention.”

For readers that know they have their own Harry Potter books at home, there are a few things to look out for in the search for a rare volume. First editions are highly valued, especially for the first two releases, Philosopher’s Stone and Chamber of Secrets.
These are of particular interest to collectors because the first run of novels are no longer in print. Since Harry Potter remains as popular as ever, the books are still being produced and sold in the millions, so original editions offer something different.

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Speaking to Mirror Money, Matthew Haley, head of books at auction house Bonhams, explained: “Bonhams sold a set of first editions of the Harry Potter books in 2005 for £14,400, and on two occasions in 2007 sold copies of The Philosopher’s Stone for £9,000. That first book in the series is worth hugely more than the subsequent volumes, and condition is everything. More recently first editions of the first book in fair condition have sold for around £4,000. Obviously genuine signatures or even better inscriptions by JK Rowling can add tremendously to the value.”

As the book series goes on, the less the first editions are valued – novels after Chamber of Secrets range from around £1000 down to less than a tenner – in that order. This is simply because of the sheer volume that was produced due to the ever-increasing popularity of the series as it went on.

The first two books are of particular interest, so readers should look out for the “Joanne Rowling” credit in Philosopher’s Stone alongside the print line “10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1.” As for Chamber, it was published in 1998 and the first copies can sell for over £1000. Early versions of the deluxe editions also make thousands, while standard early print versions sell for a similar price.



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