‘Seriously scarce’ first edition of Harry Potter set to fetch £50,000

A father was left stunned after discovering a Harry Potter book he bought to help his children learn English is a rare first edition worth £50,000.

Hansons’ books expert Jim Spencer with the hardback first edition.
Hansons’ books expert Jim Spencer with the hardback first edition.

The hardback copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone had been sitting on a bookshelf for 21 years when its owner randomly decided to get it valued.

It was a “seriously scarce” first edition, of which only 500 were printed, and deemed a “holy grail” for collectors.

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The book will now go under the hammer at Hansons Auctioneers on 13 October with an estimate of £20,000 to £30,000 - but could fetch £50,000 due to its good condition.

The seller, who will put the money towards paying off his daughter’s student loan,said he never thought in his “wildest dreams” the book would be worth that much. The retired British expat bought the book more than 20 years ago to help teach his children English after moving to Luxembourg.

He said: “It’s just been sitting on a shelf ever since with the rest of the Harry Potter books, with no special care. It’s actually been read only once with the date recorded in the back of the book. One of the children stuck Harry Potter pictures in the book when the first film came out. A couple of months ago when JK Rowling bounced into the main news I decided to re-read the Potter series.”

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