First edition of ‘Philosopher’s Stone’ sold for 50p for £15,000 at auction

That’s quite a return on your investment! Of course, someone buying a bargain book about a witch boy probably isn’t thinking about its monetary investment value. My investment in buying and reading the Harry Potter books paid invaluable dividends, but I didn’t even receive a penny from the experience. But a few lucky ones who stumbled across the first editions not knowing their value would increase dramatically were able to have their treacle pie and eat it too.

The happy seller of this first edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone had bought it for 50p at a charity shop in Manchester. Only 500 copies of the first book were printed in its initial print run, as it was not yet clear how famous the green-eyed boy with the lightning bolt scar on his forehead would become. The seller’s child seems to have enjoyed the book as it has doodles inside the hardcovers and throughout.

Is that a Butterbeer mug in the upper right corner?

Due to its condition, the book was expected to fetch around £3,000. The seller would therefore have been surprised and delighted to find that it had sold for £15,000 to a collector from the United States. after an outbid. In contrast, another mint condition original edition, sold around the same time, fetched £69,000. The seller of the copy was smart enough: After buying the book for his daughter, he started to hear the buzz that preceded the book’s stratospheric rise to popularity. He forbade his daughter to touch this copy and bought her another to read. He then carefully kept the book blank for 25 years.

Blank copy carefully preserved for 25 years.

Leaky reported on a few Harry Potter first edition auctions, some of which set records. I now wonder if the first 500 editions of Philosophical Stone have been counted. Does anyone keep a list? Have they all been sold off by their original buyers, or are there still some hidden away in shelves and boxes, with owners unaware of their potential bargain?

Do you have a first edition Harry Potter book? Would you keep it or sell it if you did?

Grover Z. Barnes