Another “Philosopher’s Stone” first edition up for auction

Oct 01, 2020

Posted by: Amanda Kirk

Books, Harry Potter and the Philosophers / Sorcerers Stone

Leaky has reported on the eye-watering prices that first editions and signed or otherwise rare books and memorabilia in the Harry Potter series have fetched at auction. Often, these books turn up at library sales or in skips without the owners having been aware that they are valuable. Getting tens of thousands of pounds for a book that had been gathering dust on your bookshelf for over 20 years is quite an amazing stroke of luck, and certain to induce envy. Alas, this seller says he is going to use the auction proceeds to pay off his daughter’s student loans.

The book was sent to the auctioneers wrapped in a tea towel.

On 13 October, Hansons Auctioneers in Staffordshire will again offer a hardback first edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone to the highest bidder. This copy belongs to a British expat living in Luxembourg. He originally purchased the book to help his children learn his native language. His wife was Luxembouorgish and his children attended school there, so he had to make some effort to teach them English himself.

The owner’s children pasted some stills from the film into the book.

He told the BBC that he recently pulled out the book to re-read the series and noticed that it was a first edition. The initial print run of Philosopher’s Stone was only 500, 300 of which went to libraries. The remaining 200 were purchased by individuals and have turned up at auction over the years in circumstances similar to this one, when the owner stumbled upon the realisation that they were holding a valuable first edition. Wondering if you have a first edition? Here is a brief guide to how to identify a Harry Potter first edition. Note that only the first three books are valuable as first editions beginning with Goblet of Fire were printed in too large quantities to be rare.

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.