Harry Potter Book Found for Pennies Sells for Thousands

Written by Camilla Jessen

Feb.27 - 2024 9:40 AM CET

Photo: TTL Deez / Shutterstock.com
Photo: TTL Deez / Shutterstock.com
A Harry Potter first edition, originally purchased for just 13p, has magically transformed into an £11,000 treasure at auction.

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Nearly three decades ago, someone bought a first-edition Harry Potter book for just 13p. That same book was recently auctioned off for a whopping £11,000 (approximately $13,640).

This special copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone was picked up in 1997 from a second-hand shop. The buyer, who was 26 and living in Crystal Palace, UK, at the time, got it along with two other books for only 40p.

Jim Spencer, an auctioneer and expert on Harry Potter books, expressed his excitement about the sale: "This book so deserved to do well. This is where the Harry Potter phenomenon began. This is the very first appearance in print of the first Potter novel."

The book's previous owner shared how she found it: "I didn't have much money but I always liked to treat myself to a browse round second-hand bookshops on Saturday mornings... The Harry Potter book was among the piles - maybe even by accident - as all the rest were Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers, Ngaio Marsh etc, as far as I remember. I bought it as a throw-in with a couple of other titles - 40p for all three. I don't think I even looked at it properly to tell the truth."

Record-Breaking Harry Potter Sales

The auction world has seen a few Harry Potter books fetch staggering sums:

  • Tales of Beedle the Bard was purchased by Amazon in 2007 for £1.9 million ($2.35 million). This unique piece, handwritten and illustrated by J.K. Rowling, is one of only seven copies in existence.

  • A pristine first edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone was bought by a collector in Texas for £356,629 ($442,220), setting a record for a work of fiction published in the 20th century.

  • Another copy of the same book, annotated by J.K. Rowling with personal drawings and notes about Quidditch, sold for £173,905 ($215,642) in 2013.

This specific auctioned book had a misprint, listing the author as "JA Rowling" on the title page and "Joanne Rowling" on the reverse, adding to its uniqueness.

The seller stumbled upon her fortune by chance: "I was scrolling the internet one night and found a news story about the prices some Harry Potter books were selling for...finding it when I did was just a massive piece of well-timed luck for which I will always be grateful and more than a tad surprised."

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