It's a muggle's game: Harry Potter book sells for £28k

Kate Dunkerton tells us about how J.K Rowling's novel sold for £28,000 at auction.

Kate Dunkerton
5th February 2020
Holy cricket, someone’s hit the Harry-pot! Almost twenty-three years after JK Rowling’s magical debut in 1997, capturing millions of imaginations all over the world, she proves once again her spell has stood the test of time. Last summer saw Rowling’s first book in her Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, sell for £28,000 at auction on BBC’s Bargain Hunt.

Bought at a jumble sale for merely 25p by a private collector and office worker, this rare first edition of Philosopher’s Stone was proven to be the real deal

Bought at a jumble sale for merely 25p by a private collector and office worker, this rare first edition of Philosopher’s Stone was proven to be the real deal when auctioneer Charles Hanson spotted the Staffordshire libraries sticker on the hardback cover. The auction was held at Bishton Hall, Staffordshire where global bids were set ablaze over the phone for a chance to buy the now highly valuable book, which had been sat on a shelf for over twenty years at the unnamed seller’s home.

One of just 500 hardback copies published by Bloomsbury publishing house, this first edition of Philosopher’s Stone can be found with typography errors as well as Rowling being penned under ‘Joanne Rowling’ on the inside page

One of just 500 hardback copies published by Bloomsbury publishing house, this first edition of Philosopher’s Stone can be found with typography errors as well as Rowling being penned under ‘Joanne Rowling’ on the inside page. The typography errors include the misspelling of philosopher on the back page. Harry Potter owners at home are advised to look through their editions to spot other errors, such as ‘1 wand’ being included on Harry’s Hogwarts school equipment list twice on page 53.  

Little did JK Rowling know back in 1990 on a delayed train journey from Manchester to London, where she thought of the idea, that she would become one of the most influential authors in history. Written in a café in Edinburgh in 1995, Rowling was finally given a chance by Bloomsbury editor Barry Cunningham after her manuscript was rejected by twelve publishing houses. The story of an orphan boy who is, unknowingly, one of the most famous wizards in the wizarding world after his defeat of the evil Lord Voldemort has been credited as inspiring more children to read after an initial decline in children’s reading in favour of television. The escapism of Rowling’s wizarding school and the endearing friendship between ‘The Golden Trio’ captured the hearts of, not only the nation, but globally, becoming a landmark in British culture. Rowling was rightfully awarded the OBE for her services to children’s literature in 2001. Spanning beyond the books into a successful film franchise and the inspiration for theme parks and studio tours, Rowling’s Harry Potter will seemingly never end as new generations of readers become engrossed with Harry’s fantastical adventures as they begin to wonder, “when will my Hogwarts letter will arrive?”.  If you have copies of Harry Potter collecting dust at home, check and keep them safe, you never know if yours may be a valuable and rare edition worth something someday.

Image credit: @gryffindorgem

Cover photo image credit: Instagram @gjnnypotter

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