Harry Potter: Battered book bought from library for 30p turns out to be ultra-rare first edition worth £5,000
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A well-thumbed Harry Potter book bought from a library for just 30p is tipped to fetch a staggering £5,000 after it turned out to be an “extremely rare” first edition. The battered copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was snapped up after Wolverhampton Library withdrew the book from use.
Experts have now confirmed it was one of only 500 published by Bloomsbury in 1997 and one of just 300 sent to libraries around the UK. The savvy buyer recognised its value after the library decided it was too damaged to lend out so sold it for pennies.
The collector, who has not been named, kept the book in a box at home but believed he lost it when his collection got too big. Sadly, the man died earlier this year aged just 55 and the book was rediscovered by his family as they sorted through his belongings.
It is valued at between £3,000 and £5,000 but is likely to spark a bidding war at Richard Winterton Auctioneers’ Antiques on July 10. Auctioneer Richard Winterton, said: “What an amazing find. Withdrawn and discarded from the library, bought for 30p and now worth thousands of pounds.
“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.” The book was part of the personal collection of a man from Staffordshire who had a lifelong passion for books and artefacts.
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 was lost. His sister added: “When he moved house four years ago he literally put everything into hundreds of boxes, many of which went into containers.
“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 book will go under the hammer at The Lichfield Auction Centre, Staffordshire, on July 10.