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Rare Harry Potter First Edition Book Could Make Astonishing Amount At Auction

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Rare Harry Potter First Edition Book Could Make Astonishing Amount At Auction

A rare first edition copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone could fetch an astonishing amount at auction, after an unsuspecting charity shopper picked it up for just 50p. 

Printed in 1997, the book – which is the first novel in JK Rowling’s hugely popular fantasy series – is one of just 500 hardback copies from the first run. 

It is filled with childlike drawings presumably by the former owner, with scribbles of several characters from the franchise, including the titular wizard and what looks to be a sketch of half-giant, half-human Hogwarts gamekeeper Hagrid. 

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First edition Harry Potter book (SWNS)
First edition Harry Potter book (SWNS)

A businessman picked it up in a charity shop in South Manchester and kept it in a protective cover for 25 years before deciding to sell, having had no idea when making the bargain purchase that it could be worth so much. 

A near pristine copy sold for more than £350,000 back in December, and now this one is due to be auctioned at Hansons Auctioneers in Staffordshire, with a guide price of £2,000-£3,000. 

The Manchester-based seller, who wishes to remain anonymous, said: 'I didn’t realise it was a first edition when I bought it. 

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Drawings inside the Harry Potter book (SWNS)
Drawings inside the Harry Potter book (SWNS)

'I just spotted the back cover with the image of the wizard and thought it looked interesting. 

'It was only 50p. I found it in one of those traditional charity shops packed with boxes. 

'Around Christmas time, I decided to contact Hansons Auctioneers to check whether it was a first edition. 

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'They confirmed that it was – a nice surprise to say the least.'

The ‘doodled’ book will be sold alongside a pristine copy of the same novel, which carries an estimated guide price of £40,000-£50,000. 

Two first editions of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (SWNS)
Two first editions of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (SWNS)
Credit: SWNS
Credit: SWNS
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Jim Spencer, books expert at Hansons, said: “In essence, we have two first issue hardbacks – one carefully preserved and unread, the other thoroughly enjoyed and read to death. 

'When it comes to condition, we're looking at two very different books. One is like new, as good as it gets. 

'The other has been read until it broke, enjoyed countless times, even joyfully illustrated by its young fan. 

'The question is, which one was loved the most? Or enjoyed the most? Arguably, the damaged one tells its own important story. 

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'I always like to imagine historians of the future gazing at something like this, the doodles and naïve fan art, the evidence it was read over and over again – it would surely give them a true sense of Harry Potter fever. 

Jim Spencer of Hansons Auctioneers. (SWNS)
Jim Spencer of Hansons Auctioneers. (SWNS)

'Ordinarily, condition is everything to book collectors, but people who grew up with Pottermania don't necessarily see bumped corners or peeling laminate – they see history. 

'That said, 300 of the 500 first issues were sent to schools and libraries, and it was ultimately a children's book, so a premium is certainly going to be paid for anything in reasonable condition. 

'The near-perfect example is a remarkable survivor and could well sail close to £100,000. 

'The doodled version has a humble starting price of £2,000 to £3,000. 

'I suppose it’s a lesson in what not to do with a Harry Potter first edition – don’t scribble all over it then give it away. 

'But the people who originally owned it would have had no idea of its potential value today. It was bought for a child to enjoy and love. 

'As for the seller, his first edition may not be worth tens of thousands of pounds but it could still make him a sizeable return on a 50p investment.'

If you have a story you want to tell, send it to UNILAD via [email protected]  

Featured Image Credit: SWNS

Topics: News, Harry Potter

Jess Hardiman
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