Harry Potter fans out there take note – you could be sitting on an absolute goldmine.
Online book marketplace AbeBooks have published a guide to which books are most prized by collectors.
So, it might be time to start searching through your shelves for some of the editions listed below…
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
Look out for: Print line that reads 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 and the crediting of ‘Joanne Rowling’.
You can find these numbers by turning over the front cover of the book and looking at the copyright page.
Hardcover first editions of the 1997 book are the ‘Holy Grail’ for Potter collectors.
Only 500 were published and 300 went to libraries, making them hard to come by.
On AbeBooks these have fetched from £28,850 to £39,700.
Paperback first editions of The Philosopher’s Stone are also quite scarce and attract four-figure price-tags – sometimes five figures if in excellent condition.
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Look out for: J.K. Rowling’s signature.
Prices for the 1998 hardcover first edition first printings reach £6,500.
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.
If you unearth a signed copy, it can be worth up to four figures.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Look out for: Joanne instead of J.K. Rowling, number line 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 and a block of misaligned text on page seven.
There were a number of errors when the third Harry Potter novel was manufactured that caused production to be halted half-way through.
Those fortunate enough to have an edition that has ‘Joanna Rowling’ mistakenly emblazoned on the front cover can hope to sell their editions for up to £8,650.
It’s unknown how many copies with the error were actually created, which makes them very valuable.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Look out for: J.K. Rowling’s signature.
By the time the fourth book was released, J.K. Rowling was signing far fewer copies meaning those with the author’s signature can be worth over £7,200.
Look out for the limited editions with original watercolour illustrations by Giles Greenfield (Bloomsbury’s UK edition) and Mary GrandPre (Scholastic’s super rare US edition of only 25 copies).
If either illustrator has signed a copy, then prices are again in four-figures.
A lot of collectors also look for books accompanied by things like entrance wristbands or golden tickets from events where J.K. Rowling has conducted a signing and these can add an add an extra zero onto purchase prices.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Look out for: JK Rowling’s signature.
People who were at J.K. Rowling’s midnight launch event in Edinburgh in 2003 will be glad they made the journey as signed copies of The Order of the Phoenix are worth four figures.
There are a number of these novels on the AbeBooks website that are listed at prices between £1,010 and £2,300.
Illustrator Jason Cockroft also signed books which are now worth around £144.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Look out for: Signed copies.
The Half-Blood Prince was published at the height of ‘Pottermania’ where J.K.’s book tours were less common. There are hardly any signed copies of the book but those available go for up to £3,600.
Copies signed by illustrator Mary GrandPre are also worth around £180.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Look out for: Signed copies from a book launch at London’s Natural History Musuem.
Millions of copies of the final Harry Potter novel were released in bulk and so it is difficult to find a novel that’s of considerable value.
In 2007, the author held a book launch at London’s Natural History Museum, where she signed around 1,700 copies for competition winners who got exclusive tickets to the event.
These rare items have sold from around £720-£4,000.
So there you have it. Is anyone sitting on a gold mine?
Emily Murray is a journalist at UNILAD. She graduated from the University of Leeds with a BA in English Literature and History before studying for a Masters in Journalism at the University of Salford. Emily has previously worked for the BBC, ITV and Trinity Mirror. When Emily isn’t writing about topics including mental health and entertainment, you can find her at the cinema which is her second home.