Like many collectable items, it’s the early editions and small mistakes that tend to make them wanted and more valuable. Think back to the new fiver we talked about earlier this year. The ones that came first off the press were in demand and exchanged for hundreds of pounds on eBay.
And if you’ve got an early Harry Potter book, that could be worth a fortune. The series of Harry Potter books is the best-selling of all time, shifting a mammoth 450 million copies. So though owning a valuable copy is as scarce as a lottery win, we’ll take you through what to look out for.
What to look for
It’s hard to know which of the books are worth a mint but there are certain things you can pick up on. The first book in the series, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, is what sparked the recent bidding war. But it’s not just any copy of that book – there’s huge demand for hardback copies of the first book because only 500 were printed of that first edition. If you have are lucky enough to have a copy of this one with a rare printing mistake on the back cover with one ‘o’ missing from the word Philosopher’s, you could be on to a winner.
Another detail to look out for is how the author’s name is spelt. The £43,000 copy credited her as ‘Joanne Rowling’, rather than the recognisable ‘J.K. Rowling’.
Even if yours isn’t worth thousands, some of the first edition Potter books can still go for hundreds. And if you have the whole series, they too can fetch lots. It’s also important that any books are in good condition, as any scuffs, creases or rips can affect the value.
Here’s a list of the Harry Potter series and their original publication dates – dig them out and check to see if you have a rare first-edition.
• Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (1997).
• Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (1998).
• Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (1999).
• Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2000).
• Quidditch through the Ages (2001).
• Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2001).
• Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2003).
• Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2005).
• Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (2007).
• The Tales of Beedle the Bard (2008).
First editions of the 1999 deluxe editions and early versions of the Australian and US printed versions titled Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone can fetch as much as £1,800. If you’re still not sure, check out this eBay page – it will help you recognise if your copy is worth anything, or if it’s just a standard copy.
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