Signed Harry Potter book purchased for 1p sells for thousands of pounds

Dec 20, 2019

Posted by: Amanda Kirk

Bloomsbury, Books, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, News

Spend a penny, get £2,300?!?  A hardback copy of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets purchased online for 1p plus postage was discovered by its purchaser to be a signed first edition.  He offered it for auction in Staffordshire last week, where an international collector paid £2,300 for it.  Not a bad return on investment, and just in time for holiday spending.


The seller, Mark Cavoto, has made a business of buying and re-selling Harry Potter books since he realised that there is money to be made doing it.  He owns about 1,500 Harry Potter books, and has previously got lucky when a second edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone that he had also purchased for 1p sold for £4,600 to an Australian dealer.  Cavoto reckons that over 3,000 Harry Potter books have passed through his hands, bought and re-sold at a higher price.

The market for first editions, signed books, and other rare and/or autographed Potter memorabilia  has not abated and, in fact, seems to be growing.  Leaky recently reported that the index card bearing 93 words about Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix sold for £10,000 at Sotheby’s last week despite the book having been published in 2003.  In October, a first edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, of which the print run was only 500, sold for an astonishing £57,040 at auction in Derbyshire.  That was an exception to a decrease in prices in recent years:  Another first edition of Philosopher’s Stone had sold for £28,500 in August of 2019, whereas one sold a year prior had fetched $81,250, a record for an unsigned work of fiction, and that same year, a first edition signed by Rowling fetched an eye-watering £106,250.

If you’ve owned your copies of the first three books in the series (after Goblet of Fire, the series was already so popular that initial print runs were so huge as to negate most of their re-sale value) since they were first published, have a look at the edition.  Like Harry, you could find out that you’ve had a vault of wizarding gold all these years.


The Leaky Cauldron is not associated with J.K. Rowling, Warner Bros., or any of the individuals or companies associated with producing and publishing Harry Potter books and films.