Rare Harry Potter first edition in Lichfield auction is withdrawn library book bought for 30p
AN ultra-rare Harry Potter book is set to make a magical price at auction in Staffordshire.
Bought for 30p after being withdrawn from Wolverhampton Library, the hardback copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – the first in the original series of books by JK Rowling – is now worth thousands of pounds.
Published by Bloomsbury in 1997, the first edition, first impression with laminated boards is one of only 500 produced and, of those, one of only 300 sent to libraries.
It goes under the hammer as Lot 299 in Richard Winterton Auctioneers’ Antiques & Home Sale at The Lichfield Auction Centre, Fradley Park, on Monday, July 10, starting at 9.30am.
The book is estimated at £3,000 to £5,000 although auctioneers believe it could far exceed that on the day.
A team from Richard Winterton Auctioneers discovered it after a painstaking search of hundreds of boxes, the personal possessions of a young, local man.
“What an amazing find! Withdrawn and discarded from the library, bought for 30p and now worth thousands of pounds,” said auctioneer Richard Winterton.
“The book still bears its library identification, spine sticker with the letter J, subsequent withdrawal stamp and 30p selling price.
“It has clearly been well-read, which is most befitting of one of the initial run of books which helped fuel the early popularity of Potter – which, of course, rapidly evolved into a global phenomenon.
“We have placed an estimate of £3,000 to £5,000 on the book because of its much-loved condition but other examples have fetched much more than this at auction.
“It will certainly be a magical moment when it goes under the hammer at Lichfield on July 10.”
The book was part of the personal collection of a Staffordshire man who had a lifelong passion for books and ephemera.
He lived in Brereton, Rugeley, for a number of years before latterly moving to Chase Terrace, Burntwood, and passed away unexpectedly at the beginning of the year aged 55.
The man’s sister, who asked not to be named, said: “He started dealing in books and memorabilia when he was still at school.
“He would go to jumble sales and church fairs and would come back with a pile of annuals or comics.
“He would then take them to a second-hand shop in Hednesford to sell or take them in to school to swap with friends.
“That was his passion from an early age onwards.”
The family knew that he had acquired a valuable Harry Potter book but feared it had gone astray.
“When he moved house four years ago he literally put everything into hundreds of boxes, many of which went into containers,” his sister added.
“We knew that he had got the book but if you asked him to pinpoint it he couldn’t.
“So for the last four years this book has been ‘lost’ and I think we had come to the conclusion that it had disappeared into the ether somewhere.
“Now it’s come to light again we, as a family, are quite excited.”
The catalogue is live online now and can be viewed via our Auction Dates page. Viewing in person takes place on Friday, July 7, from 10am-4pm.
Richard Winterton Auctioneers offers free valuations of all types of antiques and collectables at the Fradley Park saleroom by appointment every Thursday.
There are also other pop-up valuation sessions across the area including at Burntwood Library from 2-4.30pm on the last Tuesday in the month and at Burton Market Hall on Wednesdays from 10am-1pm (jewellery on Mondays 10am-1pm).
Do I have a first edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone?
First, check that the publisher is Bloomsbury and the latest date listed in the copyright information is 1997.
The print line on the copyright page must read “10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1”.
The rarest of the first printings is the hardback issue, with a cover of laminated boards. Only 500 copies were bound this way, 300 of which were sent to libraries.
Examine the back cover – there should be an ‘o’ missing from the word Philosopher’s.
In the first edition, page 53 features a list of school supplies Harry receives from Hogwarts. The item ‘1 wand’ appears twice, once at the beginning and once at the end. This mistake was corrected in the second printing – although curiously it did reappear in some later printings.